Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is a floating market in the Damnoen Saduak District of Ratchaburi Province, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of Bangkok, Thailand. It has mainly become a tourist attraction, attracting local and foreign tourists—the most famous floating market.
From 1866 to 1868, the 32-kilometer Damnoen-Saduak Canal was built by order of King Rama IV to connect the Mae Klong and Tha Chin rivers. Many floating markets sprang up from the canal, and the villagers dug approximately 200 additional trenches. The primary floating market was called Lad Plee Market, was attached to a Buddhist temple and remained active until 1967 when road construction replaced the need for water transportation. This pattern was observed with other ancient floating markets that disappeared in the mid-20th century due to the development of modern land infrastructure.
The floating market includes three smaller markets: Ton Khem, Hia Kui and Khun Phatak. Ton Khem is the largest market and is located in Khlong Damnoen Saduak. Paralleling Khlong Damnoen Saduak, Hia Kui has souvenir shops along the banks of the canals. Sell products to larger tour groups. Located 2 kilometers south of Hia Kui, Khun Phatak is the smallest and least crowded market.
The floating market is packed with tourists and is considered a tourist trap. Therefore, the products tend to be overpriced. Bargaining is expected, although souvenirs and groceries are usually priced at a few baht. Canoe cooks prepare and sell boat noodles. The floating market has also been noted to need more cultural authenticity, although it remains a popular destination for foreign and local tourists.
Damnoen Saduak is Thailand’s most popular floating market, ideal for photography and food, giving you a glimpse of an ancient way of life. It’s worth starting early in the morning to beat the heat and see Damnoen Saduak at his most vibrant. Most visitors coming to Thailand want to visit a floating market, and many end up here. Keep that off, though, as it’s a beautiful morning in the city, and if you avoid the touristy shops, you can get a natural feel for the place. The market is over an hour’s drive from Bangkok, and the easiest way to get there is by taking a tour.
A typical tour of Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
The bus leaves Bangkok just after 7:00 am. m. Your guide will usually overview Thailand’s history and point out places of interest as you make your way through the provinces. Salt farms and lush landscaping are quickly replacing tall buildings. The first stop is an orchid farm and a coconut producer. It’s amazing how many uses there are for coconuts, and the small workshop has turned the whole tree into a shop, boiling young shoots for palm sugar, pressing for oil, lampshades, ladders and even fuel—their fires with the grenades.
Long tail boats down the river
After this brief stop, it’s just a 10-minute drive to the pier, where you’ll board the decorated long-tail boats waiting to take you to the market. The engine’s roar disturbs the silence as the ship glides through the narrow canals; tiny wooden houses on stilts line the banks, some with ponds larger than the law.
Explore different stalls at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
As you step off the boat, you’ll find yourself among bustling stalls selling goods similar to those at Chatuchak Weekend Market: small toy elephants, tiger balm, and the obligatory “I’ve been here” -T-shirts. This is Thailand’s most famous floating market, and it can feel a bit commercialized, but as you venture further, you’ll find food vendors that look more photogenic and have some much tastier produce. Unlike most other floating markets, Damnoen Saduak’s popularity attracts many fruit vendors rowing their boats along the narrow canals, meaning great photos are guaranteed. Noodles in their rich and meaty broth.