One of my biggest highlights while visiting Thailand, was getting to visit the floating markets just outside Bangkok. This was one of the only outings that I had booked long in advance and I couldn’t wait to see this bustling market. It is quite a long trip and you have to get up ridiculously early but don’t let that discourage you. The trip is worth every penny you pay, which might be quite a lot as visiting the floating markets are on more than a couple of bucket-lists.
The most famous of the floating markets is the 100 yeal old Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. The original canals which now make up the Floating Market were built in 1866 on demand of His Majesty the King of Thailand to help ease communication in the province.
After a 40 minute bus ride we all clamber onto longboats that take up along the canals to the market. The roar of the boat engine disturbs the quiet as the boat glides down the narrow canals with small wooden houses on stilts covering the banks. The boat driver slowed down to let us appreciate the winding waterways and get a brief glimpse of those who live on the river. The journey took around 20 minutes and it’s great to enjoy the peace before the hectic pace of the market. It feels quite overcrowded with visitors and sellers bringing noise and colour to the area.
A large part of the Floating Market is now a souvenir stand filled with hordes of tourists from all over the world. This in itself can be a fascinating insight into Thai culture, as the vast majority of tourists here are Thais. Most of these boats are mobile food stores piled high with tropical fruit and vegetables, fresh, ready-to-drink coconut juice and local food cooked from floating kitchens located right on the boat. I sampled quite a couple of the different delicacies that were on offer. Each dish with its own strange tastes and smells that enhances the whole market experience.
The fruit and vegetable are super fresh and mostly grown by the people who live densely along both sides of the canal. Unlike most of the other floating markets, the popularity of Damnoen Saduak attracts many fruit sellers rowing their boats along the narrow canals, meaning that you’re guaranteed great pictures.
If you are ever in Bangkok, make sure you visit a floating market and be sure to do it on an empty stomach!