For centuries, rivers and canals were the main transportation network system in Thailand. People, goods, information.. all traveled the country by boats.
So the floating markets were a common thing back then.
The Damnoen Saduak canal was ordered to be built in 1866 by King Rama IV to facilitate water travels between Ratchaburi and Samutsakhon Provinces.
Damnoen Saduak floating market is now a very touristic place but you can still feel the old-time vibes.
Vendors sell their products directly from their narrow wooden boats.
Many sell fresh products directly from their farm, others sell cooked food right there on the sport on their mobile hotplates and stoves. Usually, the banks are lined with stalls selling more of the same: clothing and souvenirs.
In one of our days in Bangkok, we decided to visit this floating market, so we rented a Grab Car for 8 hours. The car came very early in the morning and took us from our hotel in Bangkok. We drove 100 km till the floating market. The car had to leave us in a parking place about 1 kilometer away. From here we rented a private boat for the four (800 baht).
We had an early morning start in order to avoid heat and commercial tours.
So we hoped in a nicely decorated long-tail boat.
The roar of the engine disturbed the quiet of the morning as the boat glided down the narrow canals.
Along the banks, there are small wooden houses with larger ponds. The boat driver slowed down to let us appreciate the winding waterways and get a brief glimpse of those who lived on the river.
Vendors were selling fresh fruits, hot food cooked on the spot on their mobile hotplates, but mostly souvenirs. And this thing gave the market a commercial look. Nevertheless, we could feel the authenticity of the place. At some point, our boat exited the market area and went on some canals where people of the area lived. Then we realized that apart from the market, canals also provides local farmers with adequate water for their agricultural lands. We found out that the soil along the canals was of excellent quality and it was very fertile.
The area has a high potential for producing various kinds of fruits and vegetables.
We stopped to buy some tea and some bananas from one of the houses along the channel. We were not asking about the price because we considered quite impossible to be expensive, but we had a huge surprise. We paid about 20 euros for some bananas and some tea. So it is better to ask for the price before buying something not to have any surprises.
The journey took around 1 hour and it was a very attractive place for us to see. This was the old style and traditional way of selling and buying goods.
The floating market was like a floating town, filled with sailing merchants. The river was alive with small boats crossing back and forth among each other.
We recommend this experience!
Best time to get there
You should arrive there around 8:00 before the arrival of the tour.
You will have some quiet time to really enjoy the marketplace.
How to reach
There are few ways to reach Damnoen Saduak
- Rent a Grab car per hour.
We were four people so we decided to rent a car for 8+ hours and we paid about 2,460 baths which are about 70 euro. For us, it was the perfect way to handle this trip
- By local buses
Buses to Damnoen Saduak leaves from Sai Tai Main- Southern Bus station
There are 2 buses
– Bus no 78 (64 baht) or
– Minibus to Damnoen Saduak (80 baht) The first bus leaves at 6.00. It will take about 2 h.
Stop in the parking place.
Walk for about 1 km to the market, cross the small bridge
There you can find paddled boat tour for 100-150 baht.
- By tour
Of course, if you want to lose the risk of getting lost and the stress, you should probably buy a tour from travel agencies. The tours range between 20 USD-40 USD.
What to eat.
Here’s a truly unique experience. Mostly sold by old locals directly from their boats. Food prices range from 10 Baht to 60 Baht depending on your haggling skills and appetite
Don’t forget to try Coconut ice-cream and the famous Mango steaky rise
- Common scams
Once you reach the official touristic parking place you will be told that to visit the market the only option is to rent a boat that costs at least 2000 baht. It’s the classic scheme that’s going to take advantage of the tourists, but it’s very simple to avoid it.
Just walk for about a 1 kilometer to the road next to the parking lot, and you will get to the market and from there we can rent the boat with 100 baht.
- From Damnoen Saduak, it is very convenient to travel to Maeklong Railway train market. You should consider visiting both destinations for a day trip.