Few markets couple ephemeral wares—fresh fruits, fish, foods, and colorful flower bouquets—with culture, chaos, and tradition like the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. One of the largest and last remaining floating markets in Thailand, this authentic market has entranced travelers and photographers the world over with its vividly colorful scenes of vendors offering goods from long-tailed boats on the sleepy green Damnoen Saduak canal, built by King Rama IV in the 19th century.
The famous floating market is commonly visited on half- and full-day tours from Bangkok. Popular options include a guided boat ride along the canal in a long-tailed speedboat or umbrella-shaded paddle boat and a riverside group bike excursion that explores the countryside and nearby canals (klongs) for a better appreciation of local life. Both group and private tours are available, and round-trip transportation from Bangkok is typically included. Because the market wraps up around midday, the experience is often coupled with a visit to the Sampran riverside Thai village or the stupa at Phra Pathom Chedi (Phra Pathommachedi) in Nakhon Pathom, the tallest stupa in Thailand.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is no admission fee for the market.
- Remember to wear a hat and sunblock—much of the market is shadeless.
- Some of the vendor offerings are geared toward locals, while others typically sell souvenirs to travelers.
- Pay attention to your valuables and be courteous when taking photos of vendors or their goods.
- Vendors generally accept only Thai baht as payment.
How to Get There
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is located some 62 miles (100 kilometers) southwest of downtown Bangkok city in the southern part of the Ratchaburi province, a journey of about 90 minute by road. Most visitors arrive by organized tour from Bangkok, though it is possible to take a taxi or public bus.
When to Get There
The market runs every morning from 7am to 11am. Arrive early for the best pick of the produce, to spend the most time wandering amid the vendors before boat traffic picks up around 9am, and to beat the heat, especially during the sweltering summer months of March, April, and May. Toward midday, when vendors pack up, it may be possible to negotiate for better deals.
What to Buy at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
To make the most of your market tour, you may want to interact with vendors and purchase some of their unusual, delicious, and practical goods. Taste smelly durian, order fried bananas served via fishing pole, or select a straw hat from a canalside stall. Whatever you choose, you’ll need to bring Thai baht in small bills and bartering skills. Bartering is part of the local culture and will help to get you the best price.