Damnoen-Saduak Floating Market
Damnoen-Saduak Floating Market
The most famous floating market in Thailand
How to get there & how not to get ripped off
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is the most famous floating market in Thailand. It’s touristy but it is that floating market that you see in all the photos & is the only one where you have interaction between tourists and vendors on the water. It is located 100 km south of Bangkok in Ratchaburi province which is a 90-minute journey. The Saduak Khlong is the longest in Thailand and connects the Tha Chin and Mae Khlong rivers. You can get to Damnoen Saduak from Bangkok by public minivan or on an organized coach tour.
Damnoen Saduak Opening Hours
The market opens early in the morning at 07.00 and runs till the early evening. The busiest time is from 08.00-10.00 when most of the tours arrive. This is the best time to visit as there are more vendors & makes for the best photo ops. If you want to avoid the crowds then come around midday when the tour buses have left.
Damnoen Saduak Entrance Fee
There is no entrance fee to the floating market. It is free. If you are told that there is an entrance fee it is a scam. The main entrance to the market is in the center of town next to the bridge over the Khlong. The market is on both sides of the bridge accessed by steps to a canalside walkway.
Damnoen Saduak Boat Price
If you want to tour the market by boat the correct price is 400 baht per person on a shared boat or 2000 baht per boat seating six people. This is for one hour which is more than enough time. The prices above apply to boats hired in the market itself.
Don’t fall victim to the tourist scam where you are dropped 1km from the market and are told that you must take a boat to reach the market. The scammers ask for 2000 baht per person for one hour.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
The market vendors are almost exclusively women. They dress traditionally in farmer’s shirts and wide-brimmed straw hats. The boats that they paddle around the Khlong (canals) are called sampans. The small boats are loaded with products or food that can be sold raw or cooked on the boat. Things that you will see include fresh fruits, vegetables, various snacks, BBQ seafood & meat, Ice Cream, tourist souvenirs & even cold beer. Prices are higher than on land but you are paying extra for the floating shopping experience!
On land, there is a tourist market selling the usual things that are found in the touristy markets of Thailand. There are T-shirts, elephant pants, hats, fridge magnets, key rings, dried fruits, and more. If you are hungry there are a couple of food stall areas where you can sit down and eat and drink. If you are part of a tour you will usually spend about 2-3 hours at the market. It’s all very touristy but still good fun and, an experience.
Lao Tuk Luk Floating Market
Lao Tuk Luk is the original floating market at Damnoen Saduak. It is on the opposite side of the Khlong and accessed by a bridge. There are not so many floating vendors here but it is a pleasant place to walk along the Khlong.
There is a small Chinese temple and the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Museum.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Scam
Tourist scams are rampant all over the world. One of the worst in Thailand is at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. *Beware of taking taxis from Bangkok to Damnoen-Saduak. A lot of taxi drivers are part of a scam where a low-price ride to the market and back are offered. On arrival at the market, you have to buy an overpriced boat ticket for a Khlong transfer. When you return the taxi will have vanished and you will have to find your own way home.
The taxi drivers will take you to a Pier about 1KM from the actual floating market. They will tell you that this is the entrance to the floating market. It is not. The staff at the pier (in purple t-shirts) will tell you that you can only get to the market by boat. Untrue. They will tell you that you must buy a ticket for the boat at 2000 baht per person for one hour. A Rip-off.
The real price is 400 baht. The staff is aggressive and rude. The taxi driver receives a commission if you buy a ticket. If you don?t buy a ticket some may drive away and leave you if you have already paid for the taxi. If you do buy a ticket then the boat will take you to specific boat vendors selling overpriced food, drinks, and souvenirs. The taxi drivers who take part in this scam are the ones who usually hang around outside hotels all day. Here is a photo of the pier.
All passenger vans from Bangkok or elsewhere also drop their passengers here. For some reason, none of the vans go to the floating market itself but drop you at the scam pier which is 1KM outside town. There are two large car parks next to the market but no van will take you there.
The Fake Damnoen
Another scam is to take you to another floating market nearby, not Damnoen Saduak. This is set up for scamming people. Here you will be refused entry to the market unless you take the overpriced boat tour. All of the souvenirs and food here is overpriced and low quality. There are also animals such as tigers, monkeys, etc which you will be encouraged to have your picture taken with. This is NOT the real Damnoen Saduak.
There are over 1000 1* reviews concerning the above scams on Trip Advisor. That accounts for 30% of all reviews. This scam reflects badly on Thailand & Thai people. It is about time that the Thai government and the TAT took notice of this and introduced a fair pricing scheme. Some places do display prices but shockingly there is not double but triple pricing for foreigners. Boat hire for Thai?s is 800 baht & 2000 baht for foreigners. It should be noted that these are private companies who operate around the fringes of the market intercepting tourists before they reach the market and discover the proper price.
How to Avoid the Damnoen Saduak Tourist Scam
DO NOT take taxi tours to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.?
Check the details if you book tours to Damnoen Saduak through hotels, guest houses, hostels, travel agents or tourist information booths. Make sure any boat transfer to the market is included in the tour price.?
Either do a DIY tour by public transport or book online with a reputable tour operator such as Get Your Guide. They include the boat transfer in the tour price & take you to the official market entrance where you can hire a boat at the normal price.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tours
A half-day tour from Bangkok with a reputable operator costs as little as 700 baht and includes a bus/boat transfer from your hotel to the market. Once inside the market, you can hire a boat at normal prices to tour the market. A popular option is to combine the market with a visit to the Maeklong Railway Market which is nearby for another 250 baht. Private tours start from 2800 baht per group. Check out some tours here.
How to get to Damnoen Saduak
If you prefer to do a DIY tour to Damnoen Saduak it is easily accessible by public transport. There are regular passenger van departures from Morchit, Ekkamai, Sai Tai Kao & Sai Tai Mai van stations. The journey time is 1.5-2 hours depending on traffic. The fare is 60-80 baht depending on the departure point. All of the vans stop at Mae Khlong (for the railway market) and Amphawa en route. There is a local Songtaew that runs from Mae Khlong van station to Damnoen Saduak.?
All of the vans stop at Mae Khlong (for the railway market) and Amphawa en route. There is a local Songtaew that runs from Mae Khlong van station to Damnoen Saduak. The fare is 15-20 baht. Note that all vans drop off passengers at the rip off pier 1KM from the floating market. Either ask the driver to take you to the market or get out and walk the 1KM to the market land entrance. You can also take a motorbike for 15 baht from outside CJ Express next door.
The Walk to the Market
If you choose to walk it will take you 15 minutes. Just turn left at the pier entrance and keep walking. You will pass two more piers which are more reasonably priced. They charge 500-600 baht for one person, one hour or 1000 baht for 2 hours. However, you get these tours cheaper at the market. A nice stop on the way is Banmai Damnoen Coffee which has good coffee & pizza slices at 40 baht a piece in a pleasant Thai house.?
If you need to exchange money there is a Krung Thai Bank Exchange just before the bridge over the khlong where the market is. Opposite is a police box where you can catch a motorbike back to the van stop which is outside CJ Express. There is a small shop selling coconut ice cream & coconut pancakes right on the bridge for 50/60 baht. On the other side of the bridge is a Tourist Police office in the car park.
Damnoen Saduak Land Market
Around the Khlong is a land market. Everything is cheaper there at near-normal prices. There are two food courts on either side of the bridge serving up a good selection of Thai food including Pad Thai. Prices are from 80 baht a dish.?