Damnoen Saduak is the most popular tourist floating market in Thailand. It is located at a distance of around 100km from the capital city of Bangkok. It is a great place to get an insight into the canal way of life in the country.
To reach Damnoen Saduak, backpackers have an option of taking either, the local public bus which leaves every 40 minutes from southern bus terminal, the first bus leaves at 06:00 HRS. The journey takes roughly around two hours.
The second option is to enroll with one of the many travel agents in Bangkok. They provide a complete end to end experience with a pickup and drop to your guest house and make the entire journey pretty hassle-free.
Taking the bus is cheaper but the bus will mostly drop you in the central area which is next to the canal but still around a kilometre or more away from the actual market. This makes the final leg of the journey a real problem.
An early morning 06:00 HRS start is recommended to avoid the heat and to catch Damnoen Saduak at its liveliest. The floating market is open seven days a week from 6am to midnight. The best time to visit is from 7:00 HRS to 11:00 HRS.
Damnoen Saduak is the straightest and longest canal in Thailand. The canal was built during the rule of King Rama IV as he wanted to link the Mae Klong river with the Chinese river to support transportation and trade. It took over 2 years to dig, and was eventually finished under the reign of his successor King Rama V. The canal is 32 kilometres long and has more than 200 branches.
The Floating Market’s popularity grew to new heights in 1971 – 1973 when the river was full of farmers on their boats selling their wares. And that is the way trade is performed in this area until today.
Once at the market, backpackers have an option of choosing between a paddle boat ride or a long tail speed boat. Most end up doing both. The paddle boats are used to take travellers around the tiny canals where hawkers will try to sell you everything from food, clothing, Thailand souvenirs and even some adult toys. Brace yourself, this market has tonnes to offer. The speed boat takes you on a joy ride around the tiny villages which have been formed over the years and gives you a first-hand glimpse of what life over the canal is like.
Along the banks of the Damnoen Saduak canal entrance is a bustling street market where vendors sell a galore of things. Souvenir t-shirts, magnets, postcard, spices and you’ll even find some exotic animals on display to pay-and-pose with. It’s just a very vibrant market from all ends. Remember to bargain while buying anything in this market, even your food for that matter.
Eating options are in plenty with a number of vendor boats selling a variety of fruits and ready to eat grilled sausages, chicken, pork, coconut ice cream and a lot more. Along the canal banks are restaurants which serve traditional Thai cuisine, a must-try is the mango sticky rice for vegetarians and for the meat-eaters the options are endless. The seafood soup and Thai green curry are totally worth a try.
Most travellers who come to Thailand want to visit a floating market and most will end up at Damnoen Saduak. Don’t let that put you off though, it’s an enjoyable morning out of the city and if you avoid the tourist shops you can get a real sense of the place.
Damnoen Saduak floating market is about a couple of hours outside Bangkok, and the easiest way to get there is to join a tour. It’s totally worth waking up early in the morning to get the best experience.
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