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Khlong Suan Market

posted: 2010-03-02

Historic Market by the Canal

Quiet hamlet on the canal, Khlong Suan MarketQuiet hamlet on the canal

Just as in England, the canals, roads and railways of Thailand have tended to follow a similar course. About 50km (30 miles) from the center of Bangkok is Khlong Suan, a small hamlet surrounded by rice fields, but with a quite famous old market dating from the time of King Rama V. The hamlet lies on highway 3001 from Bangkok to Chachoengsao, which for many miles tracks both the Canal, Khlong Prawet Burirom, and the Eastern Railway Line - the canal came first of course and the road last.

The video below is from a longtail trip along this canal, but at the Bangkok end.


The market is semi-covered and stretches for some 400 meters along the south bank of the canal. On the opposite bank are a Mosque (Masjid Al Wawatoniya) and a Buddhist Temple, Wat Khlong Suan: in the Central Plains of Thailand, Buddhists and Muslims have lived peacably together for centuries, both faiths following, and setting up their settlements along, the course of the canals.

The bridges which connect the market to the religious compounds are simple but spectacular - like two opposing wooden step-ladders, joining at a 30 degree angle, but with a flat bit at the top connecting the two.

Ladder Bridge at Khlong Suan MarketLadder Bridge

In the Market all sorts of traditional foods and desserts are on offer, Thai Coffee Houses, the inevitable souvenir shops (Soaps, Pots, Decorative Wotnots etc.), and several simple eating houses, many of which overhang the canal.

Good place for a bowl of noodles and a quiet beer in Khlong Suan MarketGood place for a bowl of noodles and a quiet beer

Khlong Prawet Burirom (Khlong Phrakhanong)

was one of the great arterial waterways of the pre-automobile era in Thailand. It runs from The Chao Phraya River at Khlong Toei, near Bangkok's Port, Eastwards to the Bang Phakong River near Chachoengsao, a distance of some 55km. It is still used by boat services, but only from Phrakhanong Bridge on Sukhumwit Road to Srinakharin Rd. Passage further east is in any case blocked by the water gates near Prawet.

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, in the 1920's, Boat Services ran from Central Bangkok near Pratunam Market to Khlong Suan at weekends courtesy of a certain "Nai Loet" (Mr. Loet). William Warren in his book Bangkok reveals that this was Lert Seresthaputra, a Chinese entrepreneur who owned a trading company and ferry boat service and bought land around Wireless Road near the San Saep Canal. "Nai Loet" is immortalised in Central Bangkok, under a different English spelling, in Nailert Park, Soi Nailert and other well-known places around Wireless Road.

Passenger services still run along Khlong San Saep from Phan Fa (Phra Sumen Fort) in central Bangkok way out to Bang Kapi, North East of Bangkok. The passenger boats must have used one of the short canals which link Khlong San Saep with Khlong Prawet Burirom.

Getting There:

Take the Bangkok - Chonburi expressway (Highway 7) past the New Airport. Leave at Onnut-Lad Krabang intersection, 8 km after the Airport exit and head East for 16km on Onnut Lad-Krabang Rd, highway 3001.

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