Maeklong Railway Market > Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
From Maeklong Railway Market the journey to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market was yet another 40 minutes or so ride, but it was well worth it. The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is one of the famous tourist attractions in Thailand, attraction tourists from all over the world and the most prominent floating market that is featured frequently on Bangkok postcards. So it can be considered one of the must visit markets when you are in Bangkok!
When we arrived, unlike at Maeklong Railway Market where we were just alighted and told what time to come back, this time we were escorted to a mini jetty-like pier where we boarded longtail boats in groups no more than 6. The experience was all good, except for two overly excited elderies (who were not part of our van), they almost capsized the boat when they attempted to board. -_-"
|Before boarding the boat|
Anyways, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market mostly sells tacky souvenirs (e.g. t-shirts, key chains etc…) and Thai handicrafts (e.g. teak display ornaments, paintings, carvings etc…) that are overpriced just for tourists. Yes, you can bargain to get a cheaper price and the shop owners are most likely to oblige, but prices here are way off the mark and you could get the same stuff elsewhere for way cheaper. So unless you really want the item, won’t be going to Chutachuk Weekend Market (or similar), and/or are happy with the price bargaining and offering, you really should go just elsewhere to buy whatever your eye’s fancy.
The boat ride provided a glimpse into what river rustic life must have been like in the past, as the boat cruised through the murky waters filled with other boats selling food, drinks, souvenirs and carrying tourists, maneuvering between water allies of stalls on stilts selling their wares such as (imitation branded bags), clothes, carvings, paintings and the like. It was interesting seeing how food was prepared onboard a small boat and the food/fruit vendors going from boat to boat selling their wares – a sight you will never get to see in Singapore.
|Boats that sell almost anything...|
|... from vegetables....|
|to fruits (e.g. pineapple) and even mango sticky rice|
|...to food cooked and served hot/warm|
|..even straw hats and others...|
|From alleyways to waterways, there were all sorts of things on sale...|
|There was even a sheltered portion|
After cruising along the Damnoen Saduak river we alighted at the same mini pier and were informed that we could explore the shops along the banks of the canal until a given time to return to the van. The shops were mostly a repeat of what was being sold from the shops (on stilts) on the Damnoen Saduak river, with perhaps a little more variety (given the larger surface area).
|An overview of part of the floating market|
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market might seem like an expensive tourist trap (which it is), but so long you enjoy the sights and take some photos it should be fine. This is definitely a stop not to be missed, especially first timers to Bangkok.
The transport/tour service provided by Bangkok 2 Tour was a good introduction to Maeklong Railway Market and to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market for half a day (more than enough time to explore). You could check out websites like Groupon to see if there are any offers to make the tour more worthwhile. Thanks to PrincessLee for finding an offer on Groupon, we had a 35% discount off the original price of S$80 for 2 persons. ^^
On the whole, the half-day tour was basic (not guided) but good and convenient: it provided the transport to Maeklong Railway Market and to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, saving the possibility of having to jostle with the crowd (and humidity) on public transport and spend (possibly even) more time traveling (around) with the prospect of unnecessary inconveniences the language barrier might pose (i.e. miscommunications and getting lost).