Thailand is known for it’s amazing markets and the Bangkok floating market was top of my list! I had heard a lot of mixed reviews from friends & fellow bloggers so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. So on our second day in Bangkok, Joe and I decided to check it out for ourselves.
We booked our tour to the Damnoen Saduak floating market through an agent just off of Khao San Road for 300฿ each the night before and were picked up at our guesthouse a little after 6:30AM. We purposefully picked a tour that left a bit on the earlier side, as we had heard that the markets get more crowded as the day goes on. The market is just a little less than a two hour drive from Bangkok.
See also: A Love Letter to Bangkok
Apparently, the floating markets used to primarily sell fruits to locals living in the suburbs of Bangkok. However, the secret of these beautiful markets got out and tourist started to visit, leading to a rapid decline in the authenticity. You can see this for yourself, with many of the vendors pedaling colorful chopsticks and tacky I <3 Thailand shirts, but if you look hard enough you can still find the bits of the old market that remain.
When we arrived at the markets we were immediately ushered onto paddle boats that took us down the river to some of the farther out stalls. We saw some beautiful crafts and the amount of tasty food options was overwhelming.
My favorite part of the market was the chaos. We had to navigate these tiny canals, trying to avoid a long-tail traffic jams, while flagging down boats to order bits of fresh mango.
After our boat tour, we were given free time to explore the markets on land. You can navigate the markets on foot entirely if you want, but I thought it was exciting to get on the river and be in the middle of the action. Walking along the river did give us a better angle for pictures and allowed us to pursue some beautiful souvenirs.
We were then loaded onto a motorized long-tail and given a tour of the beautiful houses on the back canals of the market. The houses were absolutely stunning and it was nice to see how the people live and breathe the river in their daily life.
Tips for the Bangkok Floating Market-
- If booking a tour, try to get one that leaves early as the markets get more and more crowded as the day goes on. You don’t want to spend your whole time waiting for a boat.
- Barter hard. Better yet, save your money to spend on souvenirs elsewhere in Bangkok, as the prices at the floating market are triple what you’ll find at MBK or Khao San Road.
- Definitely try the food! Some of the best mango sticky rice I had in Thailand came from the nice lady in the second picture.
- You can also ride a public bus or a private taxi to the markets if you want to DIY it. Johnny at OneStep4Ward has a good guide for this.
Watch the video of our tour of the Bangkok floating market below:
Enjoy this post on Bangkok Floating Market? Pin it!