The floating market in Bangkok is actually outside Bangkok and is roughly an hour's drive depending on the traffic.
The market opens early for two reasons: firstly because the produce, especially vegetables, is fresh and secondly because of the heat. With the market being predominantly outside, no-one wants to spend the day in the blistering heat.
|Photo By: Juriah Mosin / Shutterstock.com|
There are one or two floating markets in and around Bangkok but Damnoen Saduk is the one that most people visit as it is the biggest and the best as well as being a truly active market rather than just a tourist attraction.
The Thai name for floating market is Talad Naam. "Talad" means market and "Naam" means water so it really translates to be "water market" rather than "floating market".
There is no reason why you can't go by yourself. You can grab a taxi or ask the hotel to arrange transportation but you'll then be left to your own devices so we suggest you join a tour or go someone who knows what they are doing.
There are a number of tour guides available online who would be more than happy to arrange a trip for you. Some can arrange transportation in a mini van whereas others will jump into a taxi with you.
Upon arriving, you'll most likely be approached by someone asking you whether you want to take a boat. If you do, you'll be taken to a queue where you pay for your boat. Make sure you pay for a boat and not per person unless of course the "per person" cost is around 100 Baht. It shouldn't matter whether there are 2 of you or 6 of you, so be sure not to pay over the odds.
COST: we paid 900 Baht for 6 of us so anything over 1,200 Baht is too much as this must be put into perspective of how much a Thai person doing that kind of job would earn and it's probably no more than 500 Baht a day, so to pay much over 1,000 Baht for a brief 2 hour trip is going to seem like a lottery win.
Once you've found a boat, you'll have to get in and it can be cramped with a lot of you in a single boat. Tall people will have their knees near their ears unless there is room to stretch out so if there are tall or large people in the group, it might be wiser to take a couple of boats as you'll enjoy it more.
The boat will most likely have a woman doing the paddling. Some stand at the back and punt you along whereas others like to sit at the back and paddle you along. Either way, for many of these women, life at the floating market in Bangkok can't be easy as many of them are well into their 60's.
There must be a certain route they take and given that the market area is quite compact, there's only a certain route they can take with most of the time taken up navigating past all the other boats jostling for space and a means to get by.
Generally, you'll be taken slowly past vendors selling fruit, vegetables, souvenirs and even cooked snacks. If you fancy anything, just point and you'll either be steered in that direction or the vendors will come to you.
It's quite enjoyable to have a small boat pull along side and have someone cook you fresh satay sticks with sticky rice. It makes for a delicious snack for the rest of the trip.
Once past the boat vendors, you'll go past the souvenir shops of wood carvings which align the sides of the narrow canal. The wood carvings are decent enough but similar to those found at any Bangkok or Thailand market. Being in a boat looking up and trying to haggle or bargain a price isn't going to give you the edge you might need to seal a deal so unless you simply have to have it, we suggest you wait until you get on dry land where you'll feel more comfortable to discuss prices.
With the shops out of the way, you'll probably be taken down some of the narrower canals that intersect paddy fields and palm trees. This is the relaxing part of the trip and takes you back to how it might all have been a few hundred years ago (or less).
All in all, the boat trip is about 2 hours but for some it might feel like 6 as you uncurl yourself from the boat and let the blood flow freely again.
The floating market is a good visitor trip so don't let the thought of small boats put you off. If things get really uncomfortable, ask to be taken back, or dropped off and you can walk the very short distance to where you go on. You can sit on a bench and watch from the sidelines instead.
|Opens||7.30 am to 12.30 pm daily|
|Duration||roughly 6 hours|
|Getting There||Taxi, mini van, river cruise|
There is nothing of any interest close by but most tours will take you further West to Kanchanaburi which is where The Bridge Over The River Kwai can be found as well as Death Valley Railway and the war graves.
The trip will take you to the floating market just outside of Bangkok first and then you'll push on to Kanchanaburi for early afternoon and then back around 6 or 7 pm depending on the traffic.
|Photo By: Amy Nichole Harris / Shutterstock.com|