Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
The most frequently visited Market in Thailand
Locals, Tourists and Vendors on the Water
Love or loathe it, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market will always
be a traditional and fundamental part of Bangkok life. The market is
situated 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of the capital in Ratchaburi Province on a canal, or a Khlong as it's called in Thai.
This immensely popular floating market is a combination of
vibrant colour and absolute commotion. Some tourists love the energetic
vibe while others feel it's a bit of a tourist rip-off. It may well be a
little bit of both, depending on your point of view.
But then again this will only become
apparent should you decide to step out of your comfort zone and head on down here. I will explain all this in due course.
Firstly, let me tell you that this illustrious market is named after a canal
that was specially dug out to connect the Tacheen River with the Mae
Klong River. It then continues to run right through the center of
town and the neighbouring region.
fruits and vegetables
are grown in the exceptional soil quality found
beside the canal. Cabbages, beans, onions, oranges, grapefruit, mangoes,
bananas, papayas, coconuts and the Malacca grape are just some of the
many varieties of produce that can be both enjoyed and purchased here. For this very reason alone, the floating market should certainly not be missed.
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Vendors at the Floating Market
Damnoen Saduak - Attractions
The real attraction for tourists is a long boat ride along the canals
where you will pass orchards, traditional Thai teak houses and places
where locals do business. Enter their world and observe how the
inhabitants live, work and play here.
Tour companies cover these agendas
in their itinerary and some even include a visit to Nakorn Pathom which is the site of Thailand's tallest Chedi called Phra Patom. Apparently this is the largest pagoda of its kind anywhere in Southeast Asia.
trip to the Damnoen Saduak floating market is well worth the visit. The
market itself can only be described as a chaotic collection of canals
crammed with small flat boats steeped with freshly picked produce. Many
boats are paddled by ladies bearing a variety of goodies, including much
needed hats and fans.
Traders here scramble around to compete for the
best position to grab a sale. The market is intensely diversified,
eventful, lively, noisy, great fun and definitely entertaining.
Floating Chaos on the Canal
Damnoen Saduak - Disappointments
While the market might appear to be a picture perfect utopia
according to the brochures found in most hotels and ticket stalls, it
may also come with a few disappointments. You might only experience this
once you arrive, but you need to go anyway.
Not everyone comes away
elated. I did say that it can get extremely crowded and noisy at times, but the real irritations are the constant harassment by touts who persistently flog boat rides on the canal at exorbitant costs. Although the boat ride
is a great idea, it can become rather tedious after a while.
letdown is the huge covered shopping area alongside the main pier where
vendors sell all sorts of... Can I say it... Absolute rubbish. Well, all
sorts of mostly bland handicrafts that is. Don't waste your time
buying anything here as prices are generally three or four times what you would normally pay at other markets around the city. In other words... It certainly pays to shop around.
Don't waste your time
bargaining either. You might just get annoyed and end up angry. There is
nothing worth buying here. Rather go and purchase the fresh fruit sold
by the boat people. If you do decide to go, go for the experience and
not to shop.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the great vibe. But
then I do love most things about Thailand. I hope this greatly helps
you in your decision making.
Fruit Seller at the Floating Market
Getting to Damnoen Saduak
First and foremost, you need to get an early start should you be
commuting from Bangkok because Damnoen Saduak Floating Market closes
comparatively early at around noon or just thereafter. The trip by road
will take approximately two hours, but often takes a little longer due to
frequent delays caused by heavy traffic and the ever present constant
construction along the route.
Although you may have to get up a little earlier than you would normally, taking a Tour from Bangkok
would be more than justified as the journey along the way is both
pleasant and relaxing. All tours begin at sunrise so don't be
surprised if your tour company collects you at your hotel around
six in the morning.
You may wish to travel by car yourself. To do
this, take Highway 4 from Bangkok on the Phetchakasem Road for
approximately 80 kilometres (48 miles) then turn left along
Bangpae-Damnoen Saduak Road for a further 20 kilometres (12 miles). You
could travel the night before and sleep over at a hotel in
Fried Banana for sale at the Market
Public Transport to Damnoen Saduak
Another possible option is to use the public bus service that leaves from the new Southern Bus Terminal at Phutthamonthon Soi 1 in the Taling Chan District.
If you're unfamiliar with public transport in Bangkok, the easiest solution is to take a taxi to the terminal. Only, make sure the driver knows exactly where the new terminal is and doesn't take you to the old
one, which has since stopped functioning.
Although the new terminal is
located along the same route, it's a little further on. About 10
kilometres from the
Khao San Road
area, 15 kilometres from from Siam Square or Silom and a little bit more from Sukhumvit. Just remember it's always advisable to use metered taxis.
new terminal building has a similar appearance to that of a modern
airport and best of all, it has air-conditioning. All the departure
monitors are electronic with schedules in both English and Thai. Tickets
to the market can be purchased at a numbered counter for your
Prices are reasonable and the buses are
well-regulated and safe. If need be, you can draw cash from one of the
banks as well as grab a bite to eat at the KFC outlet before you depart.
Long Boat arriving at Damnoen Saduak
If you have any issues, questions or suggestions regarding Damnoen
Saduak on this page that you'd like to ask or inform me about,
please don't hesitate to contact me. I'll do my best to answer
any questions or queries you have.
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