Damnoen Saduak is one of Thailand’s last remaining floating markets; a throw back to the traditional Thai way of life. Floating markets have historically been the principle means of commerce between villages and riverside communities like those along the basin of the Chao Praya River. Canals were dug out to aid in the transport of goods from one community to another. Floating markets like Damnoen Saduak have given way to supermarkets and shopping malls, but a few floating markets have managed to endure the test of time. Watch of our video of Damnoen Saduak here.
Sixty-eight miles west of Bangkok in the Ratchaburi province is Damnoen Saduak, one of the country’s biggest and busiest floating markets. It is colorful and has a bustling, frenetic pace, much like the Chinatown markets in Bangkok.
It is definitely a must, which is why it landed itself on our list of top 15 places you must see in Thailand. Many visitors choose to make a full day trip out of it from Bangkok since it is only two hours away by car. You may have also heard of Khlong Lat Mayom, which is another popular market located in Bangkok.
Damnoen Saduak floating market has several vendors selling everything from souvenirs to stir-fry. They either sell from their own boats or from their own docks on stilts. Visitors get around on long-tailed speed boats. This particular market is known for its abundance of fresh produce, which is grown by local farmers. Coconuts, bananas, mangosteen, durian, and pomegranates are just a few types of fruits you’ll see.
Standing in line for delicious coconut pancakes
Hats of all shapes and sizes
Souvenir stall on stilts
If you plan on coming early to the Damnoen Saduak floating market, it’s a great place to have breakfast. Just keep an eye out for food vendors who are preparing piping hot bowls of noodles or frying up tasty spring rolls like the ones below. When you see something you like, tell your boat driver to dock alongside the vendor’s boat and order up! Vendors come equipped with styrofoam bowls and plastic utensils so you can buy your breakfast and keep on exploring the market.
The smell of freshly fried spring rolls is amazing!
You can either eat on the dock or take your food to go
Trying to stay dry as speed boats loaded with tourists pass by
By mid morning the boat traffic in Damnoen Saduak floating market can get pretty bad, which clogs up the canal and makes cruising by more challenging. It is best to leave Bangkok by 6 a.m. to make it to the market by 8 a.m. in time for a delicious breakfast and to avoid the midday heat. Depending on which cruise tour you choose or driver you hire, you’ll pay anywhere from $20 to $50 per person. Remember to agree on a price before you head off.
After your cruise get a view of the Damnoen Saduak floating market below from one of the bridges. We happened to pass by while this gentleman was trying to convince a group of tourists to pay to pose for pictures with his snake.
Have you ever visited one of Thailand’s floating markets? We would love to know what you thought! Drop us a comment below.