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Damnoen Saduak

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

The Floating Market at Damnoen Saduak is near Bangkok and also known as Klong Ton Kem in Thailand.

A floating spectacle - beloved by tourist, this floating market is situated on the Damnoen Saduak canal in Ratchaburi province.

The canal runs between the Mae Klong and Tacheen rivers, and stretches for approximately 30 kilometres - not all of it used by the floating market - but much of it host to some form of shop.

Damnoen Saduak market is one of the easier places to get to from Bangkok using an air-con bus, taxi, or of course your own car.

There are several floating markets within reach of Bangkok, but this is the most sought out.

Much of what you can buy in other markets in Thailand, you can buy here at the Floating Market, but with even more fun than being on dry land. Increasingly, the 'produce' is geared up to the tourists and away from the locals.

As you would expect, a floating market can be accessed by boat - though much can be seen - if not bought - from the canal banks. A boat trip - lasting around an hour - seating 6 to 8 people will cost somewhere in the region of 300 -400 baht per person! A long motor boat, maybe 500 - 600 baht.

There is no fixed price that we could find out about! A boat trip to the Damnoen Saduak floating market gives you greater access to the goods on sale, can range from fresh vegetables and fruit - mainly for the locals - right through to all manner of locally crafted tourist goodies (not for the locals.)

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market BangkokOne word to remember - Barter! You will so obviously look like a tourist, and Thai prices are generally reserved for Thai people!

As well as seeing the floating market from your boat, you have close encounters with the riverside houses and lifestyles of the local people - not quite the same as at home maybe.

The main bridge over the canal is best for general photography, but get in close down at the canal bank for those once in a lifetime album snaps. Be prepared for a degree of indifference to you from your subject.

He/she has had their picture taken many times before.

The women are normally too busy trying to sell, to give you time for a posed shot, but the traditional straw and bamboo hats atop a well-worn face are mementoes well after your holiday is over.

Smiles are usually in evidence. Remember that smiling is not a one way thing. Try it. It works wonders, here and other parts of Thailand.

Damnoen Saduak floating market starts at 6.00 am and goes on until around 12.00 noon.

A walk along the canal bank - which is also home to market traders - will be preferable for those not liking boat trips, and is slightly less stressful, or perhaps not so much 'fun' - as the boat ride. Go on. It's once in a lifetime experience. It's a floating Market - so float! It is also much cheaper, unless you are in a spending mood.

The fresh produce is normally very reasonable in price. You get it straight from the grower or producer. No middleman profit to worry about.

You can eat good Thai food as you shop, for there are boats to sell traditional noodle dishes and other Thai delicacies - all cooked on a boat while you watch. As always, the food is superb and the atmosphere at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market will make it a snack or meal to remember.

The fresh fruit at the Floating market will include Bananas, Pomela, Rose Apple, Longan, Mangos and if you wish maybe a Durian. (Not a good idea to take the latter back to your hotel though! Fresh coconut milk from a young coconut it totally different to what you get from a grizzly old coconut. You probably won't recognise it either.

Where is Damnoen Saduak Floating Market?

Floating Market Damnoen Saduak BangkokIt is approximately 80Km from Bangkok along Thonburi-Paktoh H/way No 35 to Samut Songkhram town.

There is a bus - air conditioned - that leaves from the southern bus terminal Bangkok, and the journey to the Floating Market takes about 2 hours. (First bus leaves at around 5.00am). If in doubt - ask at your hotel.

No you do not need a Taxi, but it may be preferable for some. If - like me - you decide to travel by taxi to Damnoen Saduak, then make sure that you taxi driver is aware that you want to be dropped off as near to the centre as possible.

My unsuspecting driver - and his passenger - were 'guided' into a parking lot by a local waving a flag.

From there, we was ushered to a waiting long motor boat which cost 2,000THB for a 90 min trip into the market area. Half of the trip was spent getting to the market along the network of canals which are the lifeline of the Damnoen Saduak canal dwellers - in itself full of interest - and then around half hour at the market.

Upon return to base, we then decided to walk back into Damnoen Saduak - passing many such peripheral car parks, but now with frantic 'ushers' dressed in all manner of clothes, waving flags, arms and everything else in order to attract attention to the converging taxi drivers.

Whistles of course, pierced the air, and not unusual for a 'tout' to jump in front of taxi to 'really' attract attention! All great fun - this is Thailand. Remember, the next meal depends upon getting that taxi and passengers into your own particular parking lot - and boat!