The Floating Market, a perfect day trip in Bangkok
Thailand is famous for its floating markets, with Damnoen Saduak being one of the country’s most-visited floating markets. Located in the province of Ratchaburi, it’s possible to visit the market on a day trip from Bangkok.
You will probably see scenes of a colorful floating market on postcards, on websites, and in travel brochures; many of these images come from Damnoen Saduak.
Here’s a little of what you can expect from a visit:
If you go early in the morning you can see boats loaded with fresh fruit and vegetables making their way along the water, pausing to allow people on the edges to browse and buy. Some buyers also come in boats to the market, rowing between sellers and gathering what they need before returning home, with transactions carried out whilst each party is in their own small boat.
Do note that to see this though you need to get to the market early; by about 9 am many of the boat vendors have disappeared, making way for tourist boats. There are usually still a handful of vendors in boats though, typically cooking up snacks and meals over small gas flames in their wooden boats.
Large Waterside Floating Market
No matter what time of day you visit Damnoen Saduak you can enjoy shopping alongside the water in a large market building. It’s worth noting, however, that, as is common at major tourist attractions, the prices are often a bit higher than in other places. You will need to put your haggling head on! It’s interesting to wander through the stalls though, even if you don’t plan on buying anything. There are traditional items of clothing and t-shirts, flip flops, big and small Buddha statues in various poses, wooden carvings, books, trinkets, confectionary, and more.
A highlight for many visitors is to take a boat trip along the waterway, seeing local homes, made from wood and built on stilts, alongside the water, the local countryside, and partaking in some water-based buying. The costs of a boat trip vary, with several factors coming into play, such as how many people are in the group, whether you want to join a tour boat or take a private trip, how long you want your experience to last, and whether you want to explore in a motor boat or rowing boat. Whatever you opt for though, you’re sure to have a great time.
Scenic Views and Local Life
If you walk alongside the water, heading away from the market, you’ll notice that the surrounding areas quickly become a lot more rustic and rural, with smiling children happily waving to people passing by, and curious locals stopping to watch you walk past. See how the local residents live and enjoy the views of the water and nature.
There is no charge to walk alongside the floating market or enjoy the waterside market. A couple of hours is usually enough to make the most of the experience, though you may want to allocate more time depending on whether you take a long boat ride or not. Damnoen Saduak, although today very touristy, is a terrific place to imagine what Thailand was like in the days of old when the rivers and canals were the main centers of trade.