One of my favorite day trips outside Bangkok is an early morning drive to Damnoen Saduak floating market. Located around an hour’s journey outside the capital, it’s everything you’d expect a floating market to be: extremely colorful, loud, and busy—think women wearing bamboo hats paddling little boats, and traffic jams in the canals!
The most famous of Thailand’s floating markets, Damnoen Saduak is definitely touristy, but still very charming. It’s also one of the best places to eat boat noodles, buy souvenirs/gifts to take home, and makes for an unforgettable adventure outside of bustling Bangkok.
How to get there
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is located around 100km outside of Bangkok in Ratchaburi. The easiest way to get there is to take a car—whether via private transportation, tours, or bus service. Tours are also very convenient and affordable, the downside only being that you’ll get there the same time as everyone else!
I highly recommend going as early as possible to beat the crowds—and the heat. Trust me, it’s worth the extra early wake up call!
How long does it take?
If you do it as a morning trip, you’ll have ample time to explore, and it leaves the rest of the afternoon free for other activities. Perfect!
Take a boat ride
A trip to a floating market would not be complete without a boat ride! Whether with a group or privately, this is a great way to immerse yourself within the action. Group rates are extremely affordable, and private rates can be as cheap as 10 USD / hour! Remember, the boat paddlers also get a commission when you buy from shops, so take that into consideration when thinking about prices.
What to buy
This is one of the best places (apart from Chatuchak Market in Bangkok) to buy souvenirs to take home! From hand carvings, candles, and clothes, you can find countless trinkets for affordable prices here. One of my favorite things to buy at Damnoen Saduak is actually artwork—original paintings done by Thai artists are a great and authentic way to support the local craft, and have a one-of-a-kind item to take home!
I’d also recommend going with a Thai friend (or knowing some Thai if possible) since they very often mark up the prices for tourists. Be sure to haggle accordingly!
What to eat
- Boat noodles – apart from my favorite boat noodle place in Bangkok, this is the perfect place to try out some great noodles. Marvel at the floating vendors as they cook the noodles right in front of you!
- Coconut marinated pork skewers with sticky rice – so, so yummy! One of the best, simple Thai breakfasts out there
- Fruits – fruits galore! Take your pick of local produce, and for adventurous eaters, try out all the strange-looking Thai fruits you’ve never seen before
- Coconut ice cream – after having taken a boat ride and walked around the area, there is nothing better than some refreshing coconut ice cream to help with the heat!
Things to bring
- Loose clothing
- Water (or you can buy it there, but they mark up the price)
What are your thoughts on the floating market? Something worth checking out, or overly commercialized? Would love to hear your opinions below!