Explore Damnoen Floating Market — The oldest floating market of Thailand

Damnernsaduak is regarded as one of the most well-known and appealing tourist destinations. Damnoenssaduak was the name of a canal built during King Rama IV’s reign by the soldiers and people of Rajburi, Samutsakorn, and Samutsongkram Province under the direction of Phayasrisuriyawong, the Minister of Defence. Without rivers and canals, transportation was practically immobile; King Rama IV, concerned about the country’s future economic prosperity, ultimately ordered the canal constructed to connect the Taachin River in Samutsakorn Province with the Maklong River in Samutsongkram Province.

Bangkok may be overrun with tourists. However, not everyone knows how to have a “genuine” Bangkok experience. Walk around Damnoen Saduak – Thailand’s oldest floating market – with Living Nomads to learn more about the distinctive culture of the locals!

Aside from bustling commercial hubs and night markets brimming with products and needs, Bangkok is also well-known for floating markets, the most remarkable of which must be noted — Damnoen Saduak Fair.

Damnoen Saduak is a floating market whose sessions take place on the braided canals of the district of the same name, 105 kilometers southwest of Bangkok in Ratchaburi Province. This is a pretty active street market with a wide variety of items. The market is not only a tourist attraction, but it is also a place where tourists may buy gifts and enjoy the beauty of Thai life on the canals.

The Damnoen Saduak floating market is set along canals that are roughly 10 meters wide and run into the River. Buyers and merchants both go by slow rowing junks, aboard boats loaded with spices, fruits, vegetables, meat, and seafood… The wrinkled-faced old guy wearing traditional antique hats made of palm leaves is the center of attention. Photo Wajahat Mahmood.

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Damnoen Saduak is one of Thailand’s oldest floating markets. Photo Butch Osborne

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The initial focus is to serve visitors; resident trading begins at 6 a.m. with agricultural products and everyday necessities. CamelKW took the photo.

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Tourists can visit catering stalls starting at 8 a.m. You may relax on the boat or wander along the river’s banks at your leisure to witness the activity of the river. Photo CamelKW.

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Those who love the nation and the Thai people recognize that food plays an essential part in Thai culture. When visiting the floating market, you will see a plethora of mobile businesses selling anything from fresh fruit baskets to classic Thai foods such as som tam, pad thai, and roast chicken, as well as other delectable dishes such as a coolly Western ice cream. Photo Grant Cameron.

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The tiny and elongated boats loaded with cargo and traveling junks high and low on the canal practically produce congestion. Someone may buy anything from onshore or from a boat using a pole set up to accept money and transfer things purchased for visitors. Photo CamelKW.

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Rowers steer the boat expertly, evading each other swiftly. Just in a few short channels, the market’s trafficking commerce is incredibly alive and bustling. Photo L F Ramos-Reyes.

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On both sides of the canal, there is also a fair, lively and packed atmosphere, plenty of color and smell, and stalls offering clothing, fruits, spices, and flavors…all at reasonable prices. Photo Kiwi Vic.

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Damnoen Saduak floating market is teeming with tourists wanting to learn and enjoy a few rounds through the river’s floating towns. Photo Kiwi Vic.

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The scenery seems serene as the boat bobs and splits tiny canals to flow into big rivers and meander through picturesque villages on river banks. Photo Carlos Nizam.

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The canal that produces the floating market was built in 1866 at the request of the King in order to assist the transfer to this location. The floating market was opened in 1967, and it is still packed with stuffy visitors from all over the world. Photo L F Ramos-Reyes.

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You may relax in the boat or walk along the river’s banks at your leisure to view the activity on the river.

Further information

Address: Damnoen Saduak, Damnoen Saduak District, Ratchaburi 70130, Thailand
Phone: +66 81 196 5887
Opening hours: 07:00 – 11:00 (every day)
Plan your visit: People typically spend 20 min to 1.5 hr here

How to get to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Damnoen Saduak is located in Ratchaburi, about 109 kilometers south of Bangkok, and takes around two hours to reach by car.

By Car: From Bangkok, take Highway No. 4 (Phetchakasem Rd.) and continue for another 25 kilometers via the Bangpae-Damnoen Saduak Rd.

By Bus: Public buses, both air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned, depart from the Southern Bus Terminal. From 06.00 hrs. onwards, Pinklao-Nakhonchaisi Rd. for Damnoen Saduak departs every 40 minutes. The fare for an air-conditioned bus (tel. 435-5031) is about Baht 49 (one trip), while the fare for a regular bus is around Baht 30. (tel. 434-5558). The best time to visit the market is between 08.00 and 10:00 a.m.

When you get in Damnoen Saduak, you may either walk down the canal on the right-hand side or take a both at the pier at the Floating Market area for Baht 10 per person. Those who want to visit all three Floating Markets, Ton Khem, Hia Kui, and Khun Phithak, can charter a boat for Baht 300 per hour. It is advised that the fare be settled prior to departure.

The visit to this market, which is particularly noted for its fresh fruits from surrounding orchards, can be combined with a tour of the great chedi in Nakhon Pathom or the Rose Garden, which are both on the same route; the show time at the Thai Village in the Rose Garden is at 15.00 hrs., and admission is Baht 190 per person. This excursion may be organized through a travel agency or tour desk in most Bangkok hotels.

Scam Warning (not applicable to all taxi drivers): Some unscrupulous taxi drivers may quote you a very cheap fare to bring you to Damnoen Saduak but will actually take a huge commission by driving you to unscrupulous boat operators which charge you an expensive longtail boat fee. The typical rate for a longtail boat could cost about 1000 Baht per boat but these operators might charge you 2000 Baht per person and put you together with other unsuspecting tourists who had arrived by taxi from Bangkok.

Another common tactic of the unscrupulous taxi drivers is to bring you to a boat operator whom they know will quote you a high price and then pretend to be on your own side by bringing you to another boat operator with a cheaper quote (but still very overpriced).

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Best time to visit Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

You should aim to come as early as 7 a.m. When the throng arrives at 9 a.m., the boat traffic congestion begins, and it is not amusing. On my most recent trip, the traffic was so bad that the boats couldn’t even move. Luckily, I was able to observe the congestion from the bridge.

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How much do boat fees cost?

Boats can vary from an inexpensive rowboat (about 200-300 baht) to a speedboat (600-800 baht, at which point you might as well simply join one of Bangkok’s many low-budget day excursions). Prices are certainly negotiable. The boat journeys are reported to last around an hour, and you’ll sail through the khlongs and visit some stilted houses on your way to the market. But, as I have stated, the market is only a block long. If you’re looking for a khlong trip, the three-hour boat ride from Taling Chan Floating Market is a better alternative.

But take a look around the market on foot first. You may decide those fees aren’t worth it.

You can easily take photos from the bridge or on the walkway lining the market.

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