As a photographer, I always longed for a chance to visit a floating market in Thailand. The vibrant colors and the bustling market and the canals just looked too inviting and tempting to pass up. So when I had the chance to visit Thailand early 2015, I knew my camera and I had to somehow get over to Damnoen Saduak.
How to get there
Since my friend and I were traveling southeast Asia on somewhat of a budget, we researched the options to get from Bangkok to the floating markets by public transport. But while we visited in early March, the weather was already hot and humid and we ended up opting for the fast, sure, air-conditioned and easy way to get there: we got a taxi. The markets are in Ratchaburi, about an hour and a half away from Bangkok by taxi. Even longer by crowded, open air bus. But, if you want to save money and have the time, the bus is an option.
Don’t take the motorized boats they try to drop you off at
This is where you actually start saving money, if you didn’t save money by taking the bus. When your taxi arrives at Damnoen Saduak, the driver will stop outside the floating markets and try to drop you off at the motorized boats where all the tourists are dropped off. Tell your taxi driver you don’t want to ride one of their boats, you simply want to walk around the market! Hopefully he will then drive you all the way to the markets. If not, just get out and walk. Unless you really want to pay $60 each for a motorized boat ride. There is one upside to paying for a motorized boat: they are equipped with shade canopies. But if you are a photographer like me, you will probably still prefer a more leisurely ride down the canals so that you have time to get good pictures, instead of whizzing past everything. (While I did want to save money, this was the real reason I didn’t want to ride a motorized boat.)
Do take a 100 bhat non-motorized boat ride
Once you get dropped off at the market, if you do want to take a boat ride, you will see signs advertising rides for 100 baht. Which is around $3 USD. This saves you about $114 USD for two people. Your boat driver (paddler?) will try to steer you towards every single waterside vendor if you don’t take charge of the situation and let her know that you are not interested in shopping, or that you’ve done enough shopping for the day. We bought a few trinkets and snacks here and there, but eventually had to let it be known that we were finished shopping and ready to just enjoy the ride.
Be sure to buy an inexpensive and refreshing coconut along the way!
Coconuts are so cheap and healthy for you! They are an inexpensive way to stay hydrated when in hot and humid Thailand.
Have some Pad Thai while you are there
Before you leave the markets, be sure to stop by one of the food vendors and grab some Pad Thai. It is delicious!
If you are a vegetarian you can always get your Pad Thai not meat, according to the sign below. Accuracy boiled shrimp is also an option for those who don’t want Pad Thai.
There are lots of interesting things to see and do when in Thailand. The floating markets are one of those unique experiences that you should not miss when in Thailand. You might even get to see some of these interesting creatures when you are there.
Have you been to the floating markets in Thailand? Which markets did you visit?