Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour
UPDATE MAY 2020. I’ve lived in Bangkok since 2010, and when my family and friends visit me here, they always want to go on the Damnoen Sadual Floating Market Tour. It’s an iconic thing to see and do, and super easy as a day-trip from Bangkok, much like all my last day trip in Ayutthaya, or with all the things to do in Kanchanaburi. There are other more traditional floating markets outside Bangkok (Amphawa for example), and around Thailand but Damnoen Saduak is the most famous by far. You can either take a tour there from Bangkok, or you can travel independently, I explain both further down.
So, what’s up with Damnoen Saduak floating market, how do you get there, how much is the ticket price etc? Let me help you guys out. Or if you’re just looking to book a tour from Bangkok to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, then use the same guys I did, and combine it with the epic ‘train market’ (more info below if you want it!).
What is Damnoen Saduak Floating Market?
It’s like any Asian market, where local families sell their wares, from fresh coconuts to street food. BUT, they sell them directly from their longtail boats, just as they did over 100 years ago.
Where is Damnoen Saduak Floating Market?
Damnoen Saduak floating market is 100km west of Bangkok. It takes about 90 minutes to drive there, or 2 hours or so if you take one of the minivans from Bangkok. You can check out exactly where it is on the map below. You have 3 options how to get there, read on to find out how to get to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market from Bangkok.
How to Get to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market from Bangkok
To get from Bangkok to Damnoen Saduak market, you have 3 options: The cheapest option, the easiest option, and in my opinion thirdly, the best option – a Damnoen Saduak Floating Market tour.
1) The cheapest option. BUS: From the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok, buses leave every 30 mins from 6.00 am. The journey takes around 2 hours and costs 50 baht (less than $2)
2) The easiest option. TAXI: They won’t go on the meter so you have to use your bartering skills to full effect. Expect to pay around 700 Baht for the return trip, they’ll pick you up from your accommodation around 7 am, drive to the market (about 90 mins) wait for 2 hours or so and drive you back at lunchtime. If you want to take a private car/taxi, book the Bangkok to Damnoen Saduak floating market online and avoid the hassle of arguing about the price.
3) The best option. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour. Get picked up in Bangkok, driven to the floating market, enjoy the longtail boat ride, and all without having to barter. It’s only $22 to organise in advance. Book that here. Or, for $90, you can take a private Damnoen Floating Market tour for up to 3 people. You can book that here.
Damnoen Floating Market Opening Hours & Days:
Strictly speaking, the opening hours are Daily 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. and the Weekend 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
But realistically, you don’t want to be arriving in Damnoen Saduak any later than 10 am, or the boats start clearing up and going home. In a nutshell, the market is busiest in the morning from 07:00 to 09:00 and is active until noon, try to get there as early as possible!
Damnoen Floating Market Tour; My Experience
I’ve been on a Damnoen Floating market tour twice myself. Once when I was broke, and did it independently, and once again when my blog was more successful and I took my mum here on an organised private tour from Bangkok (I took this one). The market itself is great, everything you’d expect it to be. Endless long boats hawking various fruit, veg and trinkets. Old ladies with a basket on the end of a long wooden stick to take your money and pass you your purchases. It’s a fun day trip with loads of awesome photo opportunities – so get yourself out of bed, dust off the Bangkok hangover and get over the floating market – you won’t regret it. Happy Travels!
Should you book a tour or travel independently to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market?
If you can afford it, book a tour – either in a group or privately. It’s faster, more efficient, you make sure you don’t miss anything, they pick you up and drop you off directly from your accommodation in Bangkok. Easy. (This is the best option for a tour, about $30 and includes the train market too).
However, I’ve been on both sides of this coin. Broke, and thankfully, not-so-broke. When I was on a shoestring budget, I did it independently and had a great time. You can take a minivan from Bangkok to the town ($5), you can skip going on an actual boat yourself and just walk around the market, soaking up the atmosphere (free!), have some street food, and head back to Bangkok. The whole day could be less than $15, so by all means, do that if you’re trying to save your travel budget. The downsides, of course, are that you need a strong constitution to ignore all the hawkers giving you the hard sell, it’s hard to know the best parts of the market to access and see etc, and of course, if you want to organise a trip to the train market too, you have to then tag than on. And in this day and age, it may just work out as cheap to book a tour, with no costs to transfer to the bus station etc.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO ON YOUR DAMNOEN FLOATING MARKET TOUR:
1) Beware of the scams at Damnoen Floating Market
They know tourists love this place, so everything is marked up in price. These guys love to make money, and then know the floating market is a must-see for all the tourists. So, if you’re travelling to the floating market independently, then when arrive in Damnoen Saduak people will try to lure you into their boat jetties, there are many of these, not just one.
One way to ‘see’ the floating market is to take a boat ride around it. If you accept a ride in one of these private boats, the trip will last about 1 hour, and then finally at the end of the ride, you reach the market for the last 10 minutes of the hour-long journey. The cost of the boat is approximately 1000 baht per person or 1500 baht per boat. The negotiation is quite hardcore, which is why I recommend organising a tour in advance to avoid stress. Check the tours out here!
2) Double the tour up with a visit to the famous ‘train market’
Just 20 minutes away is MaeKlong train market. You’ve probably seen the youtube and IG videos go viral when the market is in full-flow, then suddenly everyone pops their chairs and tables away and a train comes steaming through the middle of it all, as soon as it’s passed, the market floods back on and continues on again. Anyway, it’s really cool. So rather than take a 1/2 day trip on a Damnoen Floating Market tour, make it a full day and include the train market. It’s tough to do independently, but you can organise a tour for cheap here for about $30.
3) Should you stay overnight at the Damnoen Floating Market?
I wouldn’t bother. There’s not so much going on other than the nearby train market, and the floating market itself. Better to base yourself in Bangkok and day trip it to be honest. If you want to escape Bangkok, I’d recommend Kanchanaburi for 2 nights, and then you can also day-trip on a Damnoen Floating Market tour from there too.
4) Must eats/buys in Damnoen Floating Market?
If you’ve never tried Thai ‘Kanom Crok’ (fried coconut milk), then buy that here! It’s my favourite Thai snack and it’ll blow your mind, just be careful, they can be piping hot!
5) Damnoen Saduak entrance fee (May 2020):
There is no ticket or entrance fee to get into Damnoen Saduak floating market. There are fees to ride in the boat (up to 1000THB if you haven’t already booked a tour), but no ticket to enter the market itself. Don’t be scammed!
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