Samut Prakan – Visiting Pak Nam Seafood Market (ตลาดปากน้ำ)

By Mark Wiens 51 Comments
สมุทรปราการ
Friendly fish vendor at Samut Prakan Market, Thailand

Contrary to what some movies portray, Bangkok is not directly on the sea.

But just 29 kilometers south of Bangkok (though you never leave city to get there) is Samut Prakan (สมุทรปราการ), also known as Pak Nam (ปากน้ำ) in Thai, which translates to the front of the water, or the mouth of the ocean.

My friend, Dirk from Gourmet & Travel Blog from Germany and I, decided to take a day trip to Samut Prakan to walk around the seafood market, take some photos, and then eat (everything we do revolves around food).

Samut Prakan
Just 29 km from Bangkok, but with a total different feel

Samut Prakan is both a province and town that sits adjacent to Bangkok to the south.

The province is home to Bang Nam Pheung floating market (very close to Bangkok), the triple elephant head Erawan Museum, and a number of other worthwhile attractions. Richard Barrow has a great list of other things to do.

But we came to mostly visit the seafood market known as Talad Pak Nam (ตลาดปากน้ำ).

Samut Prakan (สมุทรปราการ), though you never really leave city to get there from Bangkok, has a totally different and smaller town feel to it than Bangkok.

We arrived to the market at around 7 am, the sun was still low, yet the air was already hot and heavy with humidity.

Thai market
A friendly lady about to say something to me!

When you enter Talad Pak Nam (ตลาดปากน้ำ) you might see this friendly lady selling squid while chewing on areca nut, in Thai known as maak (หมาก).

She was the first friendly lady we met at the market, and she was extremely friendly and funny, and wanted to chat up a storm with us.

tuna
Pla oh (ปลาโอ), a type of tuna

Just like at all markets in Thailand, surrounding the market on the outskirts, there was an overflow of extra vendors sitting here and there, selling things in baskets.

Pla oh (ปลาโอ), is a meaty fish, a type of tuna, and it’s especially good for making southern Thai dishes like gaeng tai pla แกงไตปลา

Seafood in Thailand
Teeming with seafood

From outside, we stepped into the main aisle of Talad Pak Nam (ตลาดปากน้ำ) and entered a paradise of seafood – an entire sea of sprawling seafood.

Fish
Fish and more

Some of the tables were wide and long, and just covered in kilos and kilos of fish and other seafood.

ตลาดปากน้ำ
Massive amounts of seafood at Talad Pak Nam Market (ตลาดปากน้ำ)
Octopus
If you love octopus or squid, you’re in the right place.

If you love squid and octopus, there was an absolute abundance of both at Talad Pak Nam (ตลาดปากน้ำ), and it was pretty cheap too.

However, since we weren’t heading directly home afterwards, I decided it wasn’t worth it to buy any fresh seafood to take home (though I would have loved to).

Shrimp vendor
There’s also plenty of shrimp, both freshwater and saltwater varieties
Sea snails
Sea snails and stingray
Visiting Samut Prakan
So many smiles at Samut Prakan Market

Friendly vendors

Talad Pak Nam (ตลาดปากน้ำ) in Samut Prakan is one of the friendliest markets in Thailand that I’ve been to in a long time.

To me, it seems like it’s getting rarer and rarer, especially at markets in central Bangkok, to experience genuine friendly vendors.

But at this market in Samut Praka, there were many people who not only smiled and talked to us as we walked around the market, but also posed and asked for their photo to be taken.

Thai style
Posing for a photo, Thai style!

Thailand has always been known as the Land of Smiles, but honestly, at many big Bangkok markets there are few smiles these days – especially if you’re walking around taking photos.

Samut Prakan
Holding up a crab for a photo in Samut Prakan

So it was quite a great Thai market experience when vendors were so happy and actually asked me to take their photo.

water mimosa
Selling pak gachet (water mimosa)
Jackfruit vendor
A lady selling jackfruit at the ferry pier
Horseshoe crabs
Horseshoe crabs… amazing creatures

Horseshoe crabs

Horseshoe crabs have to be some of most awesome looking creatures on earth.

I’m quite certain the first army tank designs were modeled after them.

In Thai cuisine, they are normally in a salad, usually made with shreds of green mango, and the eggs of the horseshoe crab are mixed in (so you don’t actually eat the shell).

I’ve eaten horseshoe crabs a few times in the south of Thailand, but they are very rare to come across in Bangkok.

horseshoe crab
Those are the horseshoe crab eggs that you eat

There was also a lady selling small horseshoe crabs, which I believe were steamed already, and she had cut open the back of them to show their eggs, which is the edible part.

som tam boo pla ra
You might find this type of crab in your som tam boo pla ra
Samut Prakan Market
Parrotfish at Samut Prakan Market

I don’t see parrotfish too often in Bangkok, but at Talad Pak Nam (ตลาดปากน้ำ) market, a vendor had a number of them, and they looked pretty fresh.

barramundi
Making the sale on a huge pla kahpong (barramundi)
Samut Prakan
Selling squid in Samut Prakan
Snails
Gotta keep those snails watered
Carb sellers
The prestigious crab vendors

Crab has always been one of my favorite things to eat in the entire world, and at Samut Prakan seafood market there was a good selection of them, all tied up with twine the Thai way.

They were still expensive, but they looked pretty good.

Crab
Crabs, the trophy pieces
Samut Prakan market
Motorbike transport through Samut Prakan market

Although seafood is the main focus at Talad Pak Nam (ตลาดปากน้ำ) market, there was not only seafood; You’ll also find just about everything else you can imagine, from meat to vegetables to Thai curry pastes.

Exotic food
Selling the more exotic delicacies from left to right: eels, jungle pig, quails, and frogs
Vegetables in Thailand
Not only seafood, but plenty of vegetables as well
Thai curry seller
Gaeng tai pla, is a favorite southern Thai dish

This lady was just getting ready to start serving a number of different southern Thai dishes.

That huge pan of gaeng tai pla looked amazing, but I will have to wait for next time to get some of her takeaway.

Market in Bangkok
Fitting as much as they can at their shop

You’ll find a sea of seafood at this market in Samut Prakan, as well as a sea of other shops and ancient stores.

You think they could stock a few more items at their shop?

Ferry to temple
Here’s where to take the ferry to the temple

Phra Samut Chedi Temple (พระสมุทรเจดีย์)

When you’ve had enough market browsing, you can take a boat for just 4 THB, across the river to Phra Samut Chedi.

Taking the ferry
Taking the ferry for 4 THB

Just head to the back of the market, look for the sign and gate pictured above, and you can board a ferry to go across the river.

The boat ride took about 10 minutes and once we reached the other side, it was just a 5 – 10 minute walk to get to the temple (which you’ll see when you take the boat).

พระสมุทรเจดีย์
View of Phra Samut Chedi (พระสมุทรเจดีย์)

Phra Samut Chedi (พระสมุทรเจดีย์) was not the most impressive temple in Thailand that I’ve seen, but it made a nice stop on day trip to Samut Prakan.

The temple was clean and white, and I think what I enjoyed about it most was that there was no one else there except for us, which can make all the difference.

Samut Prakan Market
Back to Samut Prakan Market

After taking the ferry back to the market from our brief visit to the temple, we were hungry, and wanted seafood.

We walked around Samut Prakan town for a few minutes, but many people told us at that at that time we could only find noodle stalls and kuay jab, which didn’t sound all that great to me, considering we had just feasted our eyes on a bounty of seafood.

หอยนางรมสด ตัวละ
Giant oyster Thai style (หอยนางรมสด ตัวละ)

Sompong Seafood Restaurant (ร้านสมพงศ์)

Since there wasn’t much by way of seafood restaurants right in Samut Prakan town at 10 am, we decided to jump in a taxi and head to Sompong Seafood Restaurant (ร้านสมพงศ์), about a 5 minute ride away.

Sompong Seafood Restaurant is a big style Thai seafood restaurant that’s well known, especially for Bangkok visitors coming to Samut Prakan.

We could not resist having a giant oyster (หอยนางรมสด ตัวละ), served up Thai style.

Price – 65 THB ($1.98) a piece, and so worth it

More details here.

ปลากระพงนึ่งมะนาว
Steamed fish in lime and chili (ปลากระพงนึ่งมะนาว)

We also ordered a spread of other seafood dishes, including a delicious pla kapong neung manao (ปลากระพงนึ่งมะนาว), a baramundi steamed in lime and chili sauce.

How to get to Samut Prakan
Take a bus or taxi to get to Samut Prakan from Bangkok

How to get to Samut Prakan from Bangkok

Samut Prakan is located south of Bangkok, just straight down Sukhumvit Road. To get to there from central Bangkok, you pretty much have two choices:

  • Taxi – The easiest and most direct way is to just jump in a taxi from wherever you are.
  • BTS to Bus – Alternatively, you can take the BTS skytrain to Bearing Station, and then get a number of buses that will say Pak Nam (ปากน้ำ) like 511, which will take you directly into central Samut Prakan town. For more bus options, check out this guide.

Open hours: If you want to see the best seafood, it’s best to go to the market in the morning, from 6 am – 8 am.

If you’re looking for an off the beaten path activity near Bangkok, Samut Prakan and Talad Pak Nam (ตลาดปากน้ำ) makes a pretty good day trip.



51 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Steve

    3 years ago

    Hi Mark,

    Are the prices on the seafood pics you posted per kilo?

    Thanks

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Steve, in most of the pictures, the price is per kilo.

  • Janny

    3 years ago

    HI Mark,

    So one had said “Your videos and articles are the high point of my day’s.” It is so true. Your post is amazing and helpful. I never been in Bangkok but will plan to go next year by ourselves without joining tour.

    Thank you so much.

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hi Janny, great to hear from you, thank you very much. That’s awesome that you’ll be coming to Bangkok next year.

  • Nelson Mochilero

    3 years ago

    Wonderful photo reportage Mark !
    Horseshoe crabs are also for me one of the most intriguing creatures. Never saw one of them alive.

    What Gaeng tai pla taste like? It seems like the european “Goulash”

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Nelson, thank you very much. Gai tai pla is quite salty, and has a nice fishy taste to it. It’s also really spicy, I love it. Next time you come to Thailand, we will eat some.

  • Bo Hutchison

    3 years ago

    Hullo Mark,

    It’s time for me to thank you, profusely, for your inspirational food writing. Your humorous, detailed (you are so thoughtful!), and exuberantly passionate messages never fail to:
    1. get my mouth watering
    2. motivate me to try new foods, recipes and combinations
    3. stir-up my own foodie passions to the limit!!

    Living here in BKK I’m a regular shopper at my local wet markets… I didn’t come to Asia to eat imported Western food and I certainly don’t need the experience of shopping in supermarkets for their overpriced products; they’re overpackaged and not-so-fresh-anyway-despite-the-sell-by-dates!

    I have a question: what are the commonly farmed fish and seafood products here? (I was really hoping you would do a feature on fish and prawns!?? Mmmm.) The vast selection available here is overwhleming!

    Again, many, many thanks!

    Bo

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hi Bo, thank you very much for your kind comment, and I’m happy to hear you’re also passionate about food. Ok, sounds good for an article about seafood. I’m not an expert on the seafood system in Thailand, but I do know a lot of the fish are farmed, especially the mass produced “pla nin” and “pla tabtim.” I will try to do more research and take more photos, and put together more seafood articles. Thank you again for your support.

      • Bo Hutchison

        3 years ago

        Thanks for that info re farmed fish Mark. Cheers.

  • Hank Ryan

    3 years ago

    Mark,

    Boy, you just continue to be so inspiring. This place seems kind of like a nice slice of Bangkok without having to put up with some the more challenging parts. You just changed our plans as this seems like a relaxing place to stop over for a few nights after a long flight. Your photos are just amazing. Thanks so much.

    Hey, I don’t know if you have ever thought about offering a walking street food tour but we would sure like to know about it if you do. That seems like the best way to really soak in your knowledge although the guides you provide are as close as you can get to an in person tour.

    Good luck on the contest!

    Regards, Hank & Carina Ryan

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hello Hank & Carina, very nice to hear from you, and I really appreciate your comment.

      In the past my wife and I did some food tours in Bangkok, but more recently, due to my packed schedule and random traveling, I’ve had to hold off doing them. But perhaps in the future if we are more stable. Thanks again, and hope you have a wonderful visit.

  • Mike

    3 years ago

    Mark..love all your posts, videos, guides, blogs. Everything you guys do.
    Looking forward to seeing it all…
    Siempre. mike

  • Hetta from South Africa

    3 years ago

    Dear Mark, In the past year I wanted to reply so many time and yet never came to doing it, but this morning I’m going to reply. In the past year I planned a trip for my family and I to Thailand and subscribed to your blog. What wonderful ideas and useful information are always part of your reports.
    We went to Thailand in May/June 2014 and what an experience. Although we were there for 3 weeks we only touched the tip of the iceberg. We loved the local food, the people the vibe, etc.
    Now I’m looking at Zanzibar and Kenia and again I got such useful information from your recent letter.
    So thank you for all the ours you put in, it is very helpful to the readers.
    Kind Garden Route regards,
    Hetta Ludik
    ns. I wonder if we might see you here some day.

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hello Hetta,

      Very nice to hear from you, and I’m glad to hear you enjoyed your visit to Thailand, especially the food. Thank you for reading and subscribing and for your support. I have no plans to visit South Africa right now, but I would really love to if I have a chance!

  • Nash

    3 years ago

    I am in the Philippines, but will be heading back to Thailand and when I do this is going to be one of the many day trips I will be making for sure. Love that Parrot Fish would love to sample that in a Thai dish!

    Cheers

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Nash, thank you for reading this. Great, hope you enjoy this market when you visit.

  • Douglas Wallace

    3 years ago

    Hey Mark. I have been following your posts for some time now, and really enjoy them. This is my first comment, but most of what you post is worthy of a positive reply. I have given you many “thumbs up” on your YouTube videos. Thanks for your time and efforts in opening up so much knowledge about Thai food. I have tried some of the dishes you recommended during my two visits to Thailand. I am US citizen currently living in the Philippines…. so I really look forward to my next trip to Thailand.

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hi Douglas, thank you very much, and also for your support watching my videos, I really appreciate it. Thank you for sharing as well, I’d love to visit the Philippines again in the future.

  • Audy

    3 years ago

    Hey Mark, great information and places ( including food) ^^” looking forward for more and i’ll share this with all my friend .
    Great Job!
    Take care. <3

  • Jonny Duncan

    3 years ago

    After many times to Bangkok over the years, I have never made it to this place. It is now on my to-to list for my next visit! Was great being back there again a few weeks ago. I seriously miss the food!

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Jonny, good to hear that. Yah, every time I’m away from Thailand for more than a few weeks I really start to miss the food.

  • Michelle

    3 years ago

    Been to this market many a time in my years living in Thailand and bought many a fish. It’s an incredible place and, like you said, such friendly sellers.

    Down in Bangkok nowadays, like you also said, that’s far more rare. Too many problems in Thailand right now and too many rude and arrogant farangs so the market sellers that deal with them all of the time are more than a bit wary. Up by me though (northern Bangkok) I still get the smiles when I go to the market – but I think that also comes because I’m there twice a week and know all the sellers.

    Gorgeous photos, btw. Some of the nicest I’ve seen.

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hi Michelle, great to hear that you’ve been to this market many times. Yah, these days, especially in tourist dominated areas, vendors usually aren’t the friendliest, but go to a small village or to a place not many tourists visit, and people are often still so friendly and genuinely happy to see you. Thanks your for reading this.

  • Frank

    3 years ago

    So many different creatures of the sea … you could make a different awesome meal every day for a lifetime and not come close to making all the potential combinations!

  • Neerav Agrawal

    3 years ago

    Hey Mark,

    Me and my wife are addicts for your videos. we love watching you enjoy such variety of food and culture. your joy is very pure and it rubs onto us.
    hope to visit Bangkok some time soon and maybe bump into you.

    Neerav

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hi Neerav, thank you very much for watching my videos, I really appreciate it. Hope you can visit Bangkok. Where are you from?

      • Neerav Agrawal

        3 years ago

        We are from India working in United States, CA.
        We just visited Japan. Tokyo and Kyoto.
        Enjoyed watching your japan videos.

  • Jenni

    3 years ago

    Lovely photos, Mark – it’s great to see the smiling faces at the market! I really would like to travel to Thailand and SE Asia but I am allergic to seafood and fish. I have heard it is easy for vegetarians to travel in this area but also that they often aren’t strictly vegetarian – perhaps there is no meat in the dish but the broth or sauce is made with fish sauce or shrimp paste, an issue for someone like me with an allergy.

    Would I be able to eat in Thailand without getting ill/dying or should I just take it off the travel list entirely? Would it be tough traveling outside tourist areas?

    Thanks for any info you can offer!

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Jenni, thank you for reading my blog.

      Seafood, especially fish sauce and shrimp paste, is commonly used in Thai cooking.

      However, in Thailand (I’m not certain about other SE Asian countries) they have a term known as “jay” which translates to vegan (mostly for religious purposes), and it’s a strict vegan diet – no animal anything.

      “Jay” food is found throughout Thailand (at least in the major cities) in specific only “jay” restaurants, but in more rural areas it could be impossible to find.

      I think especially in Bangkok and Chiang Mai you would find plenty of food to eat, but in other parts of Thailand it might be hard. Probably eating off the street is off limits, as even if you order something meatless, they’ll often toss in some fish sauce.

      For reference “pae ahan talay” (แพ้อาหารทะเล) means allergic to seafood.

      Hope this helps.

      • Jenni Earll

        3 years ago

        Mark-

        You are amazing! You have given me back a whole part of the world I feared was lost. Thanks for the great info on “jay” food in Thailand. I am not sure when I will get there, but it’s nice to know I can go.

        Thanks for your thorough and thoughtful response!

        Jenni

        • Mark Wiens

          3 years ago

          Hey Jenni, no problem at all, if you do end up coming in the future and need anymore advice, please don’t hesitate to send me a message.

  • Christian Beetz

    3 years ago

    another great article..the more articles i read, the more places i find in Bangkok wich i haven’t seen…so i better plan some more time this year.. my mum is really upset to see everything..her first trip to asia..her first intercontinental flight….thanks for your blog here..it really makes it easier to plan a trip to thailand

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Thank you very much Christian. I’ve been based in Bangkok for almost 6 years, and I still have so much to learn, discover, and explore. Glad that you love Thailand and hope you can plan another visit this year.

  • Dirk

    3 years ago

    Amazing Post Mark, loved that Trip to the Market and the Restaurant.
    Next Days i will post also some Article about that…. 🙂
    See ya, Dirk

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Dirk, thank you. Looking forward to your post too.

  • Nick Paton

    3 years ago

    The seafood looks really fresh and good quality, I’ve been to a few markets here in India where I wasn’t even sure if the fish had been in the water in the last week and ice was unheard of.

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Nick, good to hear from you. Haha, yes I’ve come across some seafood like that too. This market is quite good, fresh stuff, and some good quality things as well. Also, the vendors here were so friendly.

  • Josias Lopes

    3 years ago

    Another awesome article.
    And those prices… amazing.
    Thanks Mark. Your videos and articles are the high point of my day’s. 5 minutes of relax and day dreaming in a stressing reality.

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Thank you very much Josias, I really appreciate your support. You’ve made my day with your comment!

      • Josias Lopes

        3 years ago

        You are welcome. You help us with your articles, it’s only fair we say thanks.

  • fernando

    3 years ago

    Nice post Mark! Thanks for sharing. The horseshoe crab eggs is an exotic and delicious seafood, first time I ate this I called “Alien Shell” because I did not know the name and everybody in the restaurant laughed a lot.

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Fernando, good to hear from you. Haha, yes they are quite exotic looking, definitely alien looking.