Alms Giving by Boat at a Floating Market in Bangkok

Over the years I have attended the morning alms round at least a dozen times in order to take pictures of the monks going out from their temple to collect food  from local people. One time I even acted as a “temple boy” and carried the monk’s bag. But, it is not often that I have witnessed monks doing their alms round by boat. Certainly not in Bangkok.

Kwan Riam Floating Market is one of the latest tourist attractions for Bangkok. It is on Ramkhamhaeng Road in Minburi. If you visit Wat Bamphen Tai at the weekend you will be able to witness this event. It’s a great way to start your visit to the floating market. Give alms to monks and then shop around the market for some breakfast.

The alms giving starts at 7:30 a.m. with some chanting. While this is going on, people are lining both sides of Saen Saeb Canal, sitting politely with their hands together in a prayer like position. There are actually two temples here. Wat Bamphen Nuea is on the northern side and Wat Bamphen Tai is on the southern side. It doesn’t matter which side you sit.

Once the chanting finishes, the monks get into two long boats and they are then rowed along the canal bank collecting alms from people as they go. Once they reach the far end they will switch to the other side. It usually takes about 45 minutes in total from the time that they start chanting until they have finished collecting alms.  Really worth a visit to witness this unique ceremony by boat.

I have posted a map over at Thailand Photo Map.

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