Before you close the window and say that I’m posting a tourist trap, there is a reason why you see this post.
There are many floating markets in Thailand. But the original floating market is the famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Being the original, it definitely attracts visitors and tourists. If it is your first time to Thailand / Bangkok or have never been to any floating market, I highly recommend you to visit one!
Damnoen Sadauk Floating Market is located 110km south-west of Bangkok, in Ratchaburi province. From Bangkok, it takes about 1.5 to 2hrs to reach by car / mini bus.
You get to learn about the Thai culture and to see the traditional lifestyle on a long tail boat. See how people live at the side of the canals, swimming / bathing / relaxing, enjoying their relatively simple lifestyle as compared to the hectic lifestyle in the city.
Canals are an important method of transport and communication to those living there. Hence, you will see many people using the boats very frequently there, especially selling food to the different homes.
After seeing how the locals live, you enter the market and get to see different kinds of fresh tropical fruits, food, noodles, snacks, souvenirs, all sold on the boat. What a unique sight!
You may have seen people calling this place a tourist trap BUT it is definitely worth it to go as a first time visitor. It is about the experience and exploring the different cultures of Thais. Yes, the items sold there (i.e. shirts, souvenirs, etc) are marked up. Don’t worry as nobody is going to force you to purchase anything there.
For me, I will just get some food to eat and at the same time, enjoy the sight and sounds. I definitely won’t be doing any shopping, as I will be able to find the same item at a cheaper price in Bangkok city.
I have been to several tours where they bring us to a place for elephant ride but was told that we will have to pay to ride. Certainly, I felt cheated and it is a total waste of time, as we couldn’t do anything at that point of time. Don’t worry, I won’t recommend anything that does not make me happy! :)
So now you might be asking, how do I get here?
1) Book through a travel agency (They may offer you a full day tour which includes floating market, elephant ride, crocodile show and cultural show. Personally I will recommend just going for the floating market alone. Unless you really have lots of time to spare!)
2) Mini bus will pick you from hotel as early as 6:30am
3) You should arrive back to Bangkok by 1pm, if you just go to the floating market.