Originally published: 14 October 2012
Damnoen Saduak is the name of the canal connecting Taachin River and Maklong River, but it’s mostly known as floating market. Every year it gathers hundreds of thousands of tourists.
Thus, if you want to see it, set out early in the morning to experience local atmosphere before tourists outnumber locals. Needless to say, the market gets crowded, loud and sometimes smelly, which makes it the perfect place to experience Thailand and take stunning photos.
- Budget: Less than $25 per person
- Country: Thailand
- Location: ~100km south-west from Bangkok
- Currency: Baht (US$1 = ~33 Baht)
- Time required: 1/2 – 1 day
- Minimum number of people: 1
- Entrance fee: I paid 150 baht to get on a boat, but you’ll need some haggling skills!
How to Get There
Although there’s more agencies than necessary in Bangkok which will readily offer an inexpensive trip, you can get to Damnoen Saduak on your own by public transport. To do so, head to the Southern Bus Terminal, where you’ll find the bus #78 leaving every 40 minutes, starting at 6 am. As usual, use your body language to ask for help getting off at the right place. Ticket price is 64 Baht each way.
The bus will most likely drop you off around 1km away from the market. Be careful there, most “helpful” people will offer to take you all the way to the market for only 1000 Baht (don’t do it!). Unless you find an honestly helpful person, you might have to walk (to the left of the bus station) for 10-15 minutes to save some money and then get the boat ride for 100-200 Baht (this guide is written for those who want to travel cheaply).
One of the most exciting moments at Damnoen Saduk floating market, just after not getting ripped-off when buying something, is getting on a boat. For 150 Baht (unless you have better haggling skills than us) you will get to see the market and its surrounding areas aboard a raw/motor boat.
The journey will take you through a labyrinth of canals and will last for about 30 minutes. On the way, don’t forget to capture colourful house on stilts and locals going about their daily life.
Pro tip: book the Damnoen Saduak 6-Hour Tour, if you want a stressless day to the floating market.
You should not go to the market and leave without anything new. This is the point of going to the markets. Indulge into the spirit of negotiations where hundreds of sellers want to sell millions of cheap Chinese stuff that most likely will break as soon as you forget who sold it to you, which is resembled in the price.
Start haggling at half the price or less, sometimes way less. Damnoen Saduak is the right place to stock up on souvenirs your family awaits when you get back home.
Here’s a truly unique experience. Damnoen Saduak will present to you food you have never seen or tried anywhere else. Mostly sold by old locals directly from their boats. Food prices range from 10 Baht to 60 Baht depending on your haggling skills and appetite.
Your diet may be put to a test by deliciously looking and smelling food, never-mind the great taste.
There’s an old lady selling Chinese dumpling on plates made of leafs. They taste nothing like Chinese dumplings… they are way better!
Advertisement outside the venue says it’s “the most exciting show in the world“. Somehow doubtful, but you should check it out for yourself. The price is around 400 Baht.
If you do go to the show, please let us know what you think, since we have not tried it.
Wherever you are in Thailand, assuming you travel on a budget, you should not pay more than $10 a night for a room (one or two people). Bangkok being one of the most expensive will try to get to the bottom of your pocket, but worry not.
Khao San Road is the backpackers’ area where you should look for affordable shelter. To stretch your budget further ask around for good price which starts at 200 Baht for a room where 2 people can sleep. The only drawback is lack of air condition, which you should forget about if you really want to travel cheap.
The whole trip, whether half or full day, can cost you as little as 700 Baht, which is less than 25 bucks. This includes a night in hotel, transport there and back (Bangkok-Damnoen Saduak), street food all day and a boat ride. Share the room with someone and you’ll be able to get an expensive $5 souvenir at the market.
Leave alone the costs, it’s a must-do trip in Thailand and you won’t regret this choice. Colourful photos will remind you of the beauty and charm of Damnoen Saduak floating market!
Book a Tour
Of course you could be planning this full day trip yourself, with the adventurous risk of getting lost or paying way too much for way too little. But we understand this is not for everyone. If you’re looking for a stressless day to an awesome Thai floating market experience, you could book a tour in advance. We’ve selected a few here: