“If you are a true fan of James Bond and have seen, Man With A Golden Gun, then, you have already seen Damnoen Saduak Floating Market before,” said our guide. “In the movie, they chase here,” his hands pointing places here and there. Everyone was really fascinated by the houses on stilts as our motorized pump boats sped through the murky river. Children were waving at us, women were hanging their laundry outside for the sun to dry, old men and women were sitting on their veranda overlooking the waterway and mothers were breastfeeding their kids to the view of the tourists passing by.
Few minutes later, our guide declared that we have just arrived and we were told that we have an hour and a half to stay around. He told us to pay extra if we wanted to be on a boat tour within the floating market, passing temples, shops, houses and villages. Out of 12 people in our boat, only me and the twin sisters from Norway decided to just stroll around together. And we were glad we didn’t do it because that was a tourist trap. The “boat tour” actually was just around the market which can be explored in less than 30 minutes on foot.
As soon as we embarked on our boat, I saw this old woman sprightly paddling her sampan like she’s in a hurry to get things done.
Selling flowers is her niche. She had to row gently as two huge sampans overloaded tourists were coming her way.
Business is done through the boats. If a tourist decided to buy something, the paddler will hold the boat steady and the vendor will go closer to hand in whatever stuff you fancy to purchase.
Most sampans carry fruits, especially, bananas. These women may look old but they really master the art of paddling, navigating through the water traffic without a hitch.
This boat carries a lot of stuff: from bamboo-filled sombreros to tiny wood carvings to umbrellas to magnets and hand-made cards and other souvenirs.
We stopped this vendor to see what she was selling. It was green curry. The twin sisters decided to buy but were told to buy rice in one of the restaurants nearby.
No matter how narrow the waterway is, boat men and women can steer their sampans through traffic like it’s the easiest job in the world.
A food vendor.
More bananas. Photo taken from the bridge above them.
He’s cooking a Thai dessert.
I bought mangoes from them.
Bananas. Bananas. Bananas. Bananas.
Talking to her customers.
If you are going to take the “boat tour” within the floating market, it only takes 30 minutes. It’s just a short distance, really. It’s the traffic that makes it longer. And it’s literally for tourists–which means, costly. No locals go shopping here. Most of them go to the markets on both side of the canal where you can also find small restaurants.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is an hour or so drive from Bangkok. If you want to make the best of your trip, ask your hostel about the tour. They can arrange it for you. Some tour operators include other sightseeing activities after the floating market experience.