Floating market of Damnoen Saduak
Those who have seen the fascinating images of a busy market where the colorful fruits and vegetables are sold amid water surrounding, they would definitely like to visit the Damnoen Saduak floating market, which is a major attraction in Bangkok. Though many people know this place as the floating market of Bangkok, but it is actually placed in the Ratchaburi province, which is around hundred kilometers southwest of Bangkok. However, in Thailand, there are several floating markets, but the largest and the oldest one is Damnoen Saduak floating market.
Though it remains a major attraction for the tourists but those who have tried shopping at the Damnoen Saduak floating market, most of them said that it is the biggest tourist trap. The floating market looks pretty in the picture but the reality is that most of the merchants are selling ornaments for tourists such as carved elephants, hammocks, the straw hats that once can find the merchants wearing, Thailand T-Shirts, etc. You can find these merchants selling from the canal banks where the boat drivers are taking the customers to the shops. Although there are few shops that sell vegetables and fruits. However, the number is very less in comparison to the ornament shops.
Negotiate the price. This is a touristic place and prices are normally higher than typical Thai markets.
This floating market has a history that originated in 1866. This was the period when King Rama IV asked his men to dig a long canal up to 32 kilometers at Damnoen Saduak that would connect the Tacheen River with the Mae Klong River. The history of this market is more than hundreds years of age and there is a huge change in the environment in these long years, However, the traditional paddle boats and the Thai style buildings can also be found today.
Here, you can find several sorts of fruits such as Chinese grapefruit, Malacca grape, bananas, mangoes, coconuts, and a lot more. The soil around the canal where this market is based is very fertile to grow different varieties of vegetables and fruits.
There are several paddle boats along the canal and the number of these boats can be even thousands. The floating boats with colorful fruits and vegetables may allure you to take pictures. If you want to take a long tour of the market, then hiring a water taxi or long tail boat can be a good choice. You need to pay around 300 baht for an hour-ride, but be aware that you have to deal with a huge traffic. You can have some fruits and snacks during the trip and if you wish, you can indulge into some shopping also.
Though the most of the merchants sell the trinket items, but you will find a lot of attractive to capture on the camera. It is a lifetime experience even though there is a lot of hustle and bustle all around. The market gets filled with shoppers, merchants and tourists in the morning and maintains that lively ambiance all day long.
Shops around the floating market
There are other floating markets in Thailand and near Bangkok. Nearly 5,000 tourists go to Damnoen Saduak every day. If you want something more authentic, try Tha Kha, Bang Khu Wiang, or Tailing Chang markets. Be careful, they are not opened every day… You can buy “tours” on Khao San Road. They will transport you to the floating market in the morning and in the afternoon, you can visit a crocodile farm, a garden or other places.
More pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/50651722@N03/sets/72157629879933022/