With flickering fireflies under a waxing moon, the nightly floating market can sometimes be a spectacularly beautiful sight.
The Chao Phraya river basin is a major waterway on the Indo-Chinese Peninsula. In the 19th century it formed a prosperous trade route, crossing the Kingdom of Siam from north to south and linking the center of China with the Gulf of Siam at a time of booming trade with Europe. Operated mainly by members of the large Chinese community living in the kingdom, these commercial networks became firmly established and intensified over the course of the century. From the 1820s, the city of Bangkok, at the mouth of the Chao Phraya, began to benefit from this flourishing trade that supplied the city with food and other practical and cultural goods. Taking advantage of the expansion of canal networks throughout the capital and the river’s gentle current, the city markets traditionally took the form of floating markets.