It’s been ages since I have been in one of the tours while traveling. In fact, I couldn’t even remember when was the last time (was that too long?). My travel buddy and I usually travel at our own pace, no time to follow, no tour members to think about and no bus/van to catch. We thought it was more fun and relaxed. I was alone in this trip and I took part of a group tour that will go to one of the famous Floating Markets in Thailand and since it’s more than an hour drive from downtown Bangkok, I thought it was a wise decision just to be in the van and not worry about the location and the taxi fare that is usually being jacked up if you don’t know how to haggle. Trust me, I’m the King of haggling but this time, I just don’t need to stress myself and just go with a tour. It’s time to be just a tourist.
According to Wikipedia, “Damnoen Saduak, is actually the name of the canal dug in the reign of King Rama IV. He had the canal dug to connect the Taachin River in Samutsakorn Province and Maeklong River in Samutsongkram Province together.
The biggest downside of being in a tour for me was the multiple stops to different hotels and pick-up different people with different language and personalities. Some are very noisy and unruly, you just want slap them in the face! Apart from that, all was fine.
I’ve finally decided to see one of the Floating Markets in Bangkok; been planning it for so many years and I’ve been here more than a dozen of times since 2003 (my 3rd time 1n 2014) and I haven’t seen any of the floating markets.
My pick-up time was 7AM and luckily there were only 3 hotel pick-ups after that but it took half an hour, and heard the first person that was picked-up at 6AM. Oh my! He was in the van for an hour and a half before we headed to our destination. I would not want to be the first one trust me, I’ll be really pissed.
Damnoen Saduak is about 109 kilometers south of Bangkok (approximately 2 hours’ drive, assuming no traffic jam).
The road trip was not that boring and I was like a kid in a school field trip looking at the places we’ve been passing.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Once we reached the entrance of where the long-tailed motorized boats are docked, I bought a ticket that cost 150 Thai Baht (THB) which is about USD $5.
We cruised along the canals and saw some villages and a glimpse of the daily lives of Thais in a narrow, long-tailed motorized boat towards the Damnoen Saduak floating market for 10 minutes. This is before we reached the Floating market where we saw local vendors in their Thai style canoes, laden with colorful fruits, and vegetables, gently plying their way through the canals looking to sell their goods. Eight passengers excluding the boat man were allowed on a long-tailed boat.
The water was really dirty and I was very careful on not to have on my skin, it was filthy dirty.
After a long-tailed motorized boat cruise along the canal and some villages, I hopped in to a paddle boat were it allowed only four passengers. We were strictly advised not to put our hands on the side or outside of the boat, because the river traffic congestion is no kidding, many boats are banging each other to make ways through the busy canal. You don’t want to be injured while having a blast with the scenery and what’s happening around you. Trust me, that ain’t fun!
When you are in Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, one thing you must try is the food! There was a lot of food that you can have while you are on that paddle boat. There were vendors of cold drinks such as beer, coconut juice, sodas and water. There were vendors serving soup noodles, Tom Yum Soup, mango and sticky rice, chicken and pork rice at an affordable price.
I did not partake on any food that was served while on the boat (even though I was very tempted to do so), the water was filthy and who knew where they got the water they used in those food. If you happen to visit the place, just buy bottled water or canned sodas. At least it’s sealed and safe.
One thing I’ve tried though is the noodle soup that was served near the canal where there are regular tables and chairs to seat on. This is the only food I ate when I was in the Floating market.
After cruising along the Floating Market, we disembark to walk along the banks of the canals to check out the shops and to take photos of the activities in the market. The shops on land are mainly souvenir shops, I suggest not buying any souvenirs items from this market as you will be able to get a better price for most of the items at Chatuchak Weekend Market or Patpong Night Market. Just enjoy the sights and take some photos.
Here are some of the photos I took.
Check out this video below for a preview of what’s it like to cruise the canal of the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.
Few minutes after we left the Floating Market; the tour driver drove us to The Elephant Village, a place where you can ride an elephant and feed them with bananas. That place sell bananas that tourists use to feed the elephants; all in favor of the place owner huh? The price to feed the Elephants (including supply of bananas) is 100 Thai Baht. They don’t have to spend money to buy food to feed the Elephants and to top it all those bananas were marked-up.
An elephant ride is 600 THB per person, and 1,200 THB for two.
Within the Elephant Village are wood carvings shops or should I say Haven because of the awesome craftsmanship of the carvers. The craftsmanship and the designs were amazing, and after you saw the photos below you will probably leave a comment below and agree with me huh?
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Travel Date: November 18, 2014