The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market stands out as being one of the better Bangkok markets. While
there are a number of popular floating markets in Thailand this one really shines because it provides a unique glimpse into Thailand's past while also highlighting the continuity of traditional Thai culture within this region.
Being located approximately 100 kilometres southwest of the centre of Bangkok, the Damnoen Saduak floating market is a good old-fashioned Thai market which comes to life in the early hours of the morning. By lunch time when the sun is really beating down, this crowded area is buzzing with human activity along several of its main water canals.
Indeed, Bangkok is well known as being a city of 'khlongs' (i.e. canals) which in days gone by provided the highways for the transportation of the city's goods including their food. Due to this feature Bangkok was often referred to as the 'Venice of the east'.
Floating markets have become quite rare now near Bangkok as canals have been filled over the years to make way for roads, so it is a great opportunity to still be able see a traditional floating market in action.
While there are said to be over 200 such canals in Damnoen Saduak which link the farms and market together, their origins date back to the reign of King Rama IV when in 1866 he ordered their construction to allow travel between the provinces of Ratchaburi and Samutsakhon. Local farmers also dug other canals to provide water splatter over their lands.
Even today agriculture plays an important role in the local economy with farmers growing a
variety of produce including mangoes, coconuts, onions, banana's,
cabbages, oranges and grapes along the banks of these fertile water canals.
When you first arrive at Damnoen Saduak market you will be overwhelmed by the array of colour that abounds within the canals. Local farmers wearing traditional large straw hats, can be seen maneuvering their long
wooden canoes filled to capacity with a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables
along these tightly packed canals.
All of the produce is for sale to the public and you can haggle a little over the price. This is a popular tourist destination so expect to pay higher prices than you would if you were at a market in Bangkok such as the Chatuchak Weekend Market. If you wish to experience what it is like maneuvering around these narrow canals then you can take a boat ride around the local area where you can see traditional Thai wooden houses and some of the the farms where the produce is grown. If you choose to remain within the market area you might even experience a local traffic jam.
Apart from vendors selling directly from their boats, the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market also incorporates a number of large open sided wooden buildings along both sides of the canal where are a variety of shops and restaurants can be found. Here you can shop for souvenirs and other items including hats and handbags, or you can just take a seat at one of the many eating places and take refuge from the hot Thailand sun while having lunch.
Damnoen Saduak is situated within Ratchaburi province being
located approximately 100 kilometres west of Bangkok. There are also plenty of accommodation options available nearby for those wishing to spend more than a day within this region.
Saduak Floating Market is open daily between the hours of around 8 AM
until noon. Buses depart from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal daily
with services commencing around 6 AM. The Journey takes about 2 hours.