Bangkok Floating Market
Bangkok is a city packed with interesting, affordable and luxury shopping experiences in the myriad of malls and street markets that flourish in the Thai capital. Step outside the city confines and you’ll encounter a whole new shopping experience on a visit to one of many floating markets in Bangkok. Traditionally these markets thrived with local custom when Thailand really was the Venice of Asia.
The Bangkok Floating Market at the village of Damnoen Saduak is one of the top daytrips from the Thai capital. Although touristy, this quintessentially, old-Thai shopping tradition is a must for all discerning tourists to Thailand and the floating market at Damnoen Saduak is the most popular and best arranged. You’ll be able to take photographs of the endless array of boats and the local ladies with their wooden sticks that they use to take the money from you and pass you your purchase.
Though the floating markets have largely been shunted out by the filling in of Bangkok’s inner canals and the building of more convenient markets and shopping malls, there is a certain charm about purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables from the side of a boat. The scene is somewhat chaotic and noisy, but that is the draw.
The canals of the region were dug to provide transport and also for irrigation purposes through the year. King Mongkut (Rama IV) had the Damnoen Saduak canal built in the mid-1800s, connecting the Tachin and Mae Klong rivers of Samut Sakorn Province, a good 30kms. The markets are towards the western, Mae Klong end of the canal though people live and grow vegetables along its length.
The market kicks off early in the day, as is the way with markets in general in Thailand to avoid the heat and where people gather foodstuffs before work. Dozens of long paddle boats throng the main canals, which stock anything from fruit & vegetables to coconuts, souvenirs, snacks, freshly cooked meals and even beer.
Tours typically go early, yet it is not necessary to be there before sun-up as some tourists like to think. The best time is between around 08:00 and 10:00, with most of the tourist crowds arriving later. The tours are via long tail boat, although a trip by road from Bangkok is in order to get to the area in Ratchaburi.
Boats zoom along the side canals where there are cute wooden houses and interesting scenery far removed from the chaotic streets of downtown Bangkok. Since getting there independently is a major hassle and negotiating suitable prices for boats is near impossible for non-Thais, it is best to do Bangkok Floating Market by tour.
In addition, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is around two hours from town and driving there is awkward. Tours can also take in the other main markets of the area, such as such Ton Khem Floating Market, plus there are other areas of interest nearby. Nakhon Pathom is within reach by tour bus, and is home to one of the largest chedi monuments in the world.
From our selection of floating markets in Bangkok there is one to suit most tastes, from traditional and rural to huge tourist attractions. We’ll leave you with a few things to remember when visiting floating markets. Bartering is good and it’s probably better to check out the local products and steer away from items mass produced for tourists.