Saturday, 17 August 2019

In the morning, the Damnoen Saduak Canal is crowded with vendor boats whose paddlers are smiling and welcoming every tourist boat that passes by. Each vessel is filled with souvenirs and colourful tropical fruits, desserts and foods tempting the taste buds of Thais and foreigners alike. Most tourists are familiar with this photogenic scene for it is represented in many websites and brochures as a trademark for Thai tourism.

The floating market at Damnoen Saduak, located in Ratchaburi Province (about 100 km to the west of Bangkok), is the most vibrant market of its kind in Thailand. Touristy it may sound. But the market still best preserves its old style of trading. It is even more vivacious today with diversities of products sold.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market was started about the same time with the canal bearing the same name. King Rama IV of the Rattanakosin Period (1851-1868) ordered Phraya Srisuriyawong to be responsible for digging a 35-km-long canal to connect the Thachin River in Samutsakhon and the Maeklong River in Samutsongkhram.

The canal was dug in 1866 with the King’s and Phraya Srisuriyawong’s personal budgets.  At that time, there were no technology to help, so it was entirely excavated by military men, Chinese immigrants and people of Ratchaburi, Samutsakhon and Samutsongkhram. After its completion in 1868, the King named it the Damnoen Saduak Canal and different kinds of boats used this canal as a means of transport, day and night. During the Second World War the Japanese troops also used the canal to travel to Ratchaburi Province. It can be said that this canal had been an integral part of the communities until the new roads were constructed.

As Phraya Srisuriyawong gave his money to dig the canal, many high-ranking officials, who were his family and relatives acquired possession of unoccupied lands on the banks. Moreover, these landowners later had over 200 small canals dug from the Damnoen Saduak Canal to bring water to their properties.

Adequate water had provided benefits to the local farmlands, making the fertile soil along the banks suitable for agriculture. Mostly the locals grew fruit trees such as coconuts, oranges, grapes, papayas, guavas, mangos, etc. as well as various kinds of vegetables. These quality fruits and veg would then be carried by paddle boats which travelled through the canal network to sell at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market or distribute to other provinces.

Well, the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market was the busiest one among many floating markets on this canal. As time went by this market has gradually developed from the unique traditional floating market where people depended considerably on the waterway to the country’s famous tourist site, featuring authentic cultural life. In those days, the locals came to sell their agricultural products at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market on the 2nd, 7th, and 12th days of the waxing and waning moon.

In 1967, the simple way of trading on this canal began to attract Thai and foreign tourists who somehow heard of it. They went to visit this lively market themselves. When the market had more and more tourists each day, many tour agencies then started to include it in their tour programmes. Since 1971, the market has been promoted as one of the significant tourist attractions of Thailand and has remained on the list of the most favourite tourist places in this country.

The Damnoen Saduak Canal today is still a pleasant inland waterway with traditional Thai style houses and prosperous orchards straddling both sides. On the boat trip to Damnoen Saduak Market, you may notice that life of people seems so peaceful and a little sluggish. Wait till you reach the trading spot; it is totally the reverse of what you’ve just passed. You’ll know right away when you’re almost there since boat traffic on the canal will become heavier and there will be many tourist and vendor boats piling the canal, bargaining for foods and souvenirs. These activities run daily from 6 a.m. to noon.

If you wish to try buying things on the boats rather than at the stalls then you should go to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. It is good fun. But it would be more convenient if you find any tour agent to arrange everything for you. Usually the tour price includes a long-tail boat trip. A small piece of advice here is to select the boat with a roof because the hot sun can ruin your enjoyment sometimes.

Related article : Floating market

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Bangkok tour + accommodation package code P-12

Grand Palace & Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Vimanmek Mansion, a long-tail boat trip to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Coconut Sugar Farm, Royal Thai Handicraft Centre, Sampran Riverside, Death Railway

Duration : 3D2N

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Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Around Bangkok tour + accommodation package code P-18

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, River Kwai Bridge, a long-tail boat trip to resort, Dinner with Mon Dance Show, Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, Kanchanaburi War Cemetery and JEATH War Museum

Duration : 3D2N

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Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Bangkok tour + accommodation package code P-24

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Grand Palace & Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Flea Market, Dream World Amusement Park, Dinner Cruise, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Crododile Farm and Sampran Riverside

Duration : 5D4N

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Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Bangkok tour + accommodation package code P-25

Outstanding temples, Wat Traimit, Wat Pho, Marble Temple, Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Gems Factory, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Calypso Cabaret, Crocodile Farm and Elephant Theme Show

Duration : 4D3N

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Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Around Bangkok tour program code S-06

Coconut Sugar Farm, a long-tail boat trip to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Royal Thai Handicraft Centre

Duration : Half Day (a.m.)

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Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Around Bangkok tour program code S-29

Coconut Sugar Farm, a long-tail boat trip to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Royal Thai Handicraft Centre, Crocodile Farm and Sampran Riverside

Duration : Full Day

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Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Around Bangkok tour program code S-30

Coconut Sugar Farm, a long-tail boat trip to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Royal Thai Handicraft Centre and Sampran Riverside

Duration : Full Day

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Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Around Bangkok tour program code S-31

A speedboat trip to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, River Kwai Bridge (Death Railway), lunch on a floating restaurant

Duration : Full Day

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Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Around Bangkok tour program code S-32

Coconut Sugar Farm, a long-tail boat trip to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Royal Thai Handicraft Centre, elephant show and crocodile wrestling at Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo

Duration : Full Day

More Details