Chaos on the Water at Thailand’s Floating Markets

in Thailand

In Thailand farmers and craftsmen don’t take to the streets to sell their wares. They get on the water in the country’s famous floating markets.

Here sellers with boats piled high with exotic fruits and vegetables, flowers, and other fresh produce meet fellow traders and barter their wares. It’s colorful and chaotic, but also great fun, and something you’ll remember from your Thailand vacation.

The markets are a reminder of simpler times. Contemporary grocery and department stores have largely replaced these traditional bazaars, but those that remain are a highlight for the country’s visitors. In fact, the Thai government, recognizing their potential for generating tourist revenue, is attempting to revive previously abandoned floating markets.

Thailand’s most popular and largest floating market is Damnoen Saduak, which is located at Ratchaburi, about 101 kilometers west of the Bangkok. You may have already spotted it on postcards or documentaries, but this doesn’t compare to the noise and excitement of seeing it for yourself. A little closer to the capital, tourists will find The Taling Chan market every weekend, and the Wat Sai market in Bangkok’s Thonburi district. Both are significantly smaller than Damnoen Saduak, but on a positive note they don’t see the same amount of tourist traffic.

If you hope to see the floating markets you’ll need to get up early. Most start at dawn and wind up by mid-morning. If you hope to be amongst the action, you might consider hiring a long-tailed boat for the day. Alternatively, many tour companies run trips to the Damnoen Saduak markets. Most of these day trips include transfers from your accommodation in Bangkok and stopovers at other nearby attractions.

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