There are certain things that instantly come to mind when one thinks of Thailand: the beaches, the temples, the Grand Palace, the Floating Market. Damnoen Saduak is the Thai name for the last of these. It's technically the name for the area that surrounds the market, but as is so often the case with traveler hotspots, the names have run together over time. Whether you call it Damnoen Saduak, the Bangkok Floating Market, or even the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, however, this massively evocative working bazaar loses none of its lasting appeal. Trips to Bangkok aren’t quite complete until you’ve experienced this.
Situated to the west of the metropolitan area in Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is open every day from 7 am to around noon. As its name suggests, the main selling point of this market is the fact that all its vendors set up their stalls on traditional Thai khlong (canal) boats. Potential buyers then shout price negotiations from the side of the canal, until a deal is reached and the hawker somehow finds a way to get the desired goods or produce to their new owner. You don’t have to use too much imagination to figure what a busy and hectic experience this is, but then, that’s all part of the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market fun.
The market at Damnoen Saduak is traditionally a fruits-and-vegetables kind of place, though its makeup has changed over the years as it has increasingly become part of Thailand’s ever-voracious tourist circuit. Some consequently argue that Damnoen Saduak has lost its authenticity, and indeed many hawkers do now peddle tourist trinkets as well as produce. Still, it doesn't matters to the majority of sightseers, as they continue to head here in droves. In truth, this probably isn’t the most untouched of Bangkok sights to see, but it’s still one of the most memorable and the most enjoyable, too, particularly if you're interested in shopping while on your vacation in Thailand.
Given its situation, tourists often chose to experience Damnoen Saduak by booking one of the many Bangkok floating market tours available. These tours provide transportation from such hotel hotspots as the Khao San Road, thereby making getting to the site much easier. Many such Bangkok floating market tours also allow visitors to double up on sightseeing opportunities while in the area; having enjoyed the floating market in the early morning, they then head to the Tiger Temple, which is another of the city’s must-sees located in this part of the metropolis.
The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is far from being the only market of its kind in Bangkok—in fact, with similar marketplaces dotted around the metropolitan area, Bangkok floating market tours prove to be an interesting and innovative way of experiencing the city at large. The centrally located Taling Chan Floating Market and Bang Phli Market, which is situated close to the New Bangkok International Airport, are both great examples of traditional Thai floating markets; get to these two along as well as Damnoen Saduak, and you’ll truly be able to say you’ve traveled Bangkok.
Top image: eGuide Travel (flickr)