Tha Tien Market near south Rattanakosin Island is encircled by a row of beautifully restored shophouses, painted yellow and green to make it known that it is managed by the Crown Property Bureau. Walk inside Tha Tien Market but be prepared to be hit with strong aromas of dried sea goods. This is still a market hub for those seeking preserved ocean food. To some, this is extremely ordinary but for many, it gives you insight into how locals live and the market’s past.
Tha Tien Market is often overshadowed by the Grand Palace and Wat Pho next door but is actually equally significant in history. Tha Tien was the trade center as far back as the 17th century. The market on the pier was at one time where foreign junks were delivered. This very much influenced the décor of Wat Arun across the river – it is adorned with porcelain china. Read up more and you will find that it became an agricultural market once reserved for royal members. Slowly, it fell out of use and evolved to become what it is today.
On the more fantastical legend side, Tha Tien was supposedly the site of an epic battle between giants from each side of the river. The war was so destructive that it destroyed the area. Lord Shiva, angered by outcome, turned all giants into stone statues to guard the temples located there for eternity. Tha Tien’s literally translation is “wiped-out pier”.