[BKK] Damnoen Saduak Floating Market - memorable lifetime experience!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Most people, like us, would have seen tourism promotional footages or at least heard of the existence of floating markets in Thailand but it was our very first time experiencing how it is like to be in the midst of it all!

Following our trip to Maeklong Railway Station, we left for the famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market which was about 15 minutes drive away. We were really looking forward to it and shortly after arrival, we were separated into two separate paddle boats and the tour guide was kind enough to group us according to couples and family.

Damnoen Saduak is actually the name of the canal dug in the reign of King Rama IV and in today's context, most people live close along both sides of the canal and grow different kinds of fruits and vegetables for trade. Apart from providing transportation, the Damnoen Saduak canal also provides farmers with adequate water for agricultural purposes all year round.

With countless floating markets across Thailand, the colourfully clad merchants at these lively markets paddle along congested canals in sturdy canoes laden with fresh fruit and vegetables to sell to shoppers on the banks. Expect lots of chatter, shouting and hawking and do remember to bargain because this is a tourist hot-spot so the merchants are known to rip-off unaware tourists. I managed to buy a swiss knife for just 100THB down from an initially quoted 400THB!

Most of these merchants can speak basic English or even Mandarin, but do not expect to get into a lengthy discussion because those were just about the only words to get you interested in their wares.

While the lady paddling our boat rowed us through the canal, we realised that she tends to stop us at a few particular shop fronts where the merchant would hook our boat close by and tried desperately to sell us some of their wares.

Expect all forms of trade to take place be it freshly baking crepe, pancakes to selling fresh produce!

You will inevitably come to a 'boat jam' towards the end of the journey as all paddle boats and motorised boats forced their way through and someone on our remarked that they should install canal traffic lights to facilitate traffic flow!

When we eventually alighted and came to the end of the boating experience, we walked along the banks to check out some of the food stalls which serve about anything from snacks to a fragrant plate of stir-fried pad Thai!

Coconut ice cream (30THB)

We actually had one of the best coconut ice creams from a humble merchant by the river bank. The couple humbly served us scooped in a coconut husk and we were issued a ticket to make payment inside the shop.
Strong coconut taste in each mouthful, it was not the smoothest ice cream to be honest but you could taste the quality and quantity of fresh coconut that went into the making of the ice cream with the flesh neatly scooped for convenience of consumption.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Kluay Ping - 30THB

For no more than S$1.20, expect to enjoy this simple but beautiful delicacy of pressed grilled banana served with melted palm sugar sauce. It was incredibly sinful but the plain tasting bananas went very well with the sweet sauce that had a caramelised touch. 

Talk about simple food being glamorised, this is yet another street delight that won our hearts.

Verdict: 8.0/10

It was a beautiful day, complete with great sunshine and we loved the endless activities that went on at the canal and along the river banks. Certainly an eye-opener and a rewarding experience as you witness how people from all walks of lives come together at a humble setting and also how these merchants make ends meet through hawking their wares and fresh produces.

Surely this would be one of the top 10 activities to do when you are in Bangkok next!

As mentioned in our earlier post, our tour guide had been very accommodative and even allowed us to drop us at a shopping mall close to our hotel. Overall, we had a very good experience with them, do feel free to be in touch to book your trip with them directly at Bangkok 2 Tour!

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