We visited the floating marking in the Damnoen Saduak District of Ratchaburi Province on the last day of 2011. Arguably the most famous floating market in Thailand, it is located off Highway 325 about 110 kilometers southwest of Bangkok. To get there, turn off the Rama II Highway at the city of Samut Songkhram and follow Highway 325 north for 15 kilometers.

Damnoen Saduak

The floating market runs daily from morning until about 3 p.m., when most merchants close up shop. The best time to visit is in the morning when the market is most active. Its footprint covers about one square kilometer and includes several open air markets that line a network of narrow canals (khlong, in Thai).

Damnoen Saduak (2)

Damnoen Saduak (70)

Damnoen Saduak (47)

Some shops are accessible by foot via narrow walkways that follow the canals, although most vendors sell food and souvenirs from boats or shops on shore that tourists can only visit by boat. Madam Pauw’s businesses occupy the most real estate. She runs a large store, café, coffee shop, and boat tour along the main canal. A friendly lady, you can meet her at the cash register in the main store.

Damnoen Saduak (22)

Damnoen Saduak (29)

Damnoen Saduak (45)

Sources indicated that the canals in Damnoen Saduak District have been in existence since 1866, when the Thai King Rama IV commissioned a 32-kilometer long canal system fed by the nearby Mae Klong River. The market is a more recent development but has been in existence since at least the 1960s, when the canal scene in The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed there. James Bond floated down the Damnoen Saduak floating market in the 1970 film. The 2008 Nicolas Cage film Bangkok Dangerous also featured the market. Many local vendors operate shops out of their homes and live behind or above their stores. A network of trails and footbridges limited to residents gives them access to the highway. The rural area beyond the market features a mixture of houses and fields where farmers grow rice, Malacca grape, pomelos, mangoes, bananas, and coconuts that are available to purchase at the floating market.

Damnoen Saduak (63)

Damnoen Saduak (36)

Damnoen Saduak (84)

The Thai architecture and vendors in wooden boats with colorful dress and flattop Asian straw hats are major draws for throngs of tourists who want a taste of traditional Thailand. Tourists can explore the market in motorized or hand-rowed boats that cost between 300 Thai baht (US$10) for 30-40 minutes or 600 baht ($20) for an hour. There are several boat operators in the market who will likely solicit you for a ride; shop around for a better deal. We went with the first operator who approached us and found out that another one would have charged the same amount for a longer ride.

Damnoen Saduak (40)

Damnoen Saduak (26)

Damnoen Saduak (14)

Many vendors sell Thai dishes cooked right on their boat that are cheap and delicious. We ate a hearty meal of chicken satay (spicy peanut sauce) skewers, white rice, and bowls of noodle soup for 180 baht (about US$7). The Thai iced tea (sweet tea with milk) cost 30 baht (US$1). Of course, for those who are less adventurous, there are several coffee shops and a 7-11 convenience store in the market that sell packaged western food.

Damnoen Saduak (7)

Damnoen Saduak (50)

Not far from the floating market lie a couple other tourist attractions. The Rose Garden is a popular stop to smell the roses after the market. We did not visit the garden but heard that it is beautiful. Tourists can also meet Asian elephants at the market at certain times of the day and go on an elephant trek through the canals.

Damnoen Saduak (37)

Damnoen Saduak (93)

Damnoen Saduak is a great daytrip as long as you go when traffic is light. The morning and evening rush hour commutes and holiday traffic can make the trip a longer one than it needs to be. The trip is faster if you travel during off-peak times during weekdays and on weekends.

Video clip of the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market


Map picture

Books by MG EdwardsMG Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures and children’s books. A former U.S. diplomat, he served in South Korea, Paraguay, and Zambia before leaving the Foreign Service to write full time.

Edwards is author of six books. His memoir, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, was finalist for the Book of the Year Award and the Global eBook Award. He has published four children’s picture books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series: Alexander the Salamander; Ellie the Elephant; Zoe the Zebra; and a collection featuring all three stories. His book Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories is an anthology of 15 short stories.

Edwards lives in Taipei, Taiwan with his family. He has also lived in Austria, Singapore and Thailand. For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or contact him by e-mail at me@mgedwards.com or on Twitter @m_g_edwards.

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  1. Traveling in Thailand's Gravatar Traveling in Thailand
    January 22, 2012    

    I didn’t know about the James Bond filmed here. Damnoen is very nice when you like taking pictuires like me 😉
    The Tha Kha floating a market ( between Amphawa and Damnoen Saduak ) is interesting too.

  2. mgedwards's Gravatar mgedwards
    January 23, 2012    

    Thanks for stopping by! I like your web site. We arrived in Thailand not long and are hoping to visit some of the more famous floating markets. Thanks for the tip on visiting Tha Kha market!

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