Already one of the largest flower market in the world, Pak Khlong Talat, the Bangkok Flower Market remains the biggest flower market in Thailand. This wholesale market runs on a 24/7 basis.
Getting your floral needs is quite easy in Bangkok since you have access to one of the largest floral market in the world. The market provides a variety to its customers. Finding imported species such as iris, tulips, delphinium, snapdragons, lisianthus, and others as well as the local variety like gerbera, roses, jasmine, orchids, chrysanthemum, and lilies is stress-free. There are lots of other items on sale within the market including accessories and props. These include decorative leaves, floral foam, twigs, flower pots, ribbons, vases, and more.
You can also book a flower arranging service from most of the Pak Khlong Talat vendors. If you are having a special occasion like a wedding, it is also possible to get floral accessories, flower garlands, and bouquets which are all pre-made.
History of the market
The Thai phrase Pak Khlong Talat translates to “market at the mouth of the canal” in English. During the early 18th century, under the reign of King Rama I, the area became a floating market. It had further developed into a large fish market during the 19th century. The smell of fish coming from the market soon became a concern to local authorities. To address the issue, produce and flower vendors became the new occupants of the market in the 1950s.
There are 3 different markets which make up the area. These are the Pak Khlong market which is government property, the ICP market and Yodpiman Flower Market which is privately owned. A large number of the vendors in the past sold on the sides of the road. This changed after the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration in 2016. As a result of the campaign, a lot of the traders selling by the roadside were evicted.
Most of these traders were relocated to the Yodpiman River Walk, which was recently opened, while others were given spaces in the existing market locations. Other vendors chose to relocate to the market which was opened by Wat Tripet. The main problem with this development involved complaints from various vendors regarding the high prices of rent and the low traffic.
While the outdoor market may be gone, the indoor market remains as lively as ever. You can still find most of the vendors who had a license still trading in the same location.
When to visit
Pak Klong Talad is most active past midnight considering the market is open 24 hours a day. Visiting the market before dawn or between 3:00 – 4:00 will give you the opportunity to experience the market at its best. With a collection of flowers from various parts of the country on display, the market is filled with excellent blooming and bright colors. Freshly cut flowers are brought in trucks by wholesalers as the retailers and traders come over to make their bulk purchase. The market can be very crowded which makes it difficult to find a vendor with the patience to deal with every customer. Visiting the market at this time is usually to enjoy the environment and observe the scenes.
Shopping as a visitor is best during the day. The market is usually calm during this period. Except there is a festival like Graduation season, Mother's Day, or Valentine's, the prices of flowers are usually very low. The prices can go for as high as four times the original price if there is a festivity. This doesn't mean you should avoid the market during these periods as other shops in the city also increase their prices.
What you can find in the Bangkok Flower Market:
As a tourist in Bangkok, a visit to the Pak Khlong Talat can leave a bitter taste in your mouth. Like with most visitors, this is mainly due to the fact that while there are lots of exquisite flowers on sale, making a purchase would not be a smart choice. Regardless, as a part of Bangkok, this is a place that you need to visit before leaving the city. There are lots of beautiful colors which you get to see on the flowers as well as rich perfume scents as you walk through the narrow alleyways of the market.
There is a lot more to the market than just the purchase of flowers. As a visitor, it gives the opportunity to learn more about the influence of floral offerings and flowers in the Thai culture and life. You can also get a look into the lives of the porters, vendors and other individuals who make up the market operations. The market is also a great location for anyone living within or outside Bangkok to stop by for a fresh bunch of beautiful flowers at an excellent price.
Local Thai flowers
These include lilies, gerbera, jasmine, roses, chrysanthemum, orchids, and others. Provinces such as Nakhon Pathom which are very close to Bangkok grow these flowers. There is a need to ship other flowers which are quite rare from provinces like Loei and Chiang Rai in northern Thailand.
These include lisianthus, iris, snapdragon, delphinium, tulips, and others.
This is a Thai art from ancient times. This is the creation of a worthy offering to a god through by continuous threading of a needle through tiny buds. The market is the best place to find the Phuang Malai garlands on display as there are lots of skilled Thai artisans present in the market.
The Hindu center of the universe is Mount Meru and the Baisri shape is represents this center. It involves the addition of chrysanthemum and other buds to pandan and banana leaves which have been rolled-up. The offerings are usually in the shape of a cone.
Fresh fruits & vegetables
Although flowers are the major attraction in Pak Khlong Talat, it is also possible to find wholesale vegetables and fresh fruits.
Flower arrangement accessories: Imitation flowers, candles, incense, and others are all available.
When visiting Pak Khlong Talat, you can also make arrangements to visit various temples. These include the Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn).
What these flowers used for
The importance of flowers in Thailand covers more than just a tool for decoration. In order to attract good-fortune from religious deities and mythical animist spirits, flower garlands are given as offerings. Lots of motorists purchase the garlands and place them on their rear-view mirrors while other individuals purchase them to hang in buildings and religious shrines within the home.
Getting to the market
There are various ways to get to the market. This is one of the recommended ways of getting there.
Enter the SkyTrain to Saphan Taskin station and then transfer to Taksin Pier. Ride the Chao Phraya Express boat to Rajinee, or stop #7.
Another method is to take the Bangkok MRT to Hua Lamphong. Once you get here, you can go to a tuk-tuk driver or a taxi for a ride to Pak Khlong Talat.