Damnoen Saduak is the most popular floating market in Thailand, great for photo opportunities, food, and for giving you an insight into a bygone way of life. An early morning start is worth it to avoid the heat and catch Damnoen Saduak at its liveliest. Most visitors who come to Thailand want to visit a floating market and many of them will end up here.
The bus leaves Bangkok just after 07:00. Our chatty and cheerful guide gives us a potted history of Thailand and points out the interesting sites as we whizz out into the provinces. High rises are quickly replaced by salt farms and lush countryside. First stop is an Orchid Farm and coconut producer. It is impressive how many uses there are for coconuts and the small workshop has managed to turn the entire tree into a business, young shoots boiled for palm sugar, squeezed for oil, lampshades, ladders, and even fuelling their fires with the husks.
Hop onto long-tail boats
After this brief stop, it’s only a ten-minute drive to the pier to hop onto decorated long-tail boats that are waiting to take you to the market. The roar of the engine disturbs the quiet as the boat glides down the narrow canals, small wooden houses on stilts fringe the banks, some with larger ponds than lawns. The boat driver slows down to let you appreciate the winding waterways and get a brief glimpse of those who live on the river. The journey takes around 20 minutes and it’s great to enjoy the peace before the hectic pace of the market. It may feel overcrowded at first glance, but visitors and sellers bring noise and colour to the area.