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Floating Markets

Floating Markets / Chao Phraya River & Canal Trips

For those who want to be amid the peaceful atmosphere and observe the traditional ways of life by the water, Bangkok has quite a lot to offer. The easiest way is taking a Chao Phraya River express boat. There are also several canal routes by long-tail boat which offer more charming scenery with stops at old temples which are scattered along all canals.

There are several floating markets on various canals in Bangkok and other nearby provinces, of which the most well-known ones are:

1. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

floating market bangkok
This large and popular floating market is about 80 km southwest of Bangkok in Ratchaburi province. Photos of this vibrant market featuring many small boats laden with colourful fruits and vegetables and paddled by Thai women wearing bamboo hats, are among the most often published in travel magazines and brochures of Thailand.

The Damnoen Saduak canal was ordered to be built in 1866 by King Rama IV of the Chakri Dynasty to facilitate waterborne travels between Ratchaburi and Samutsakhon Provinces. It was finished and opened to the public in 1868.

Nowadays, apart from providing transportation, Damnoen Saduak canal also provides local farmers with adequate water for agricultural purposes. A number of canals were dug to connect with it by local peasants to get water to splatter their land. As the excellent quality soil along the canal is very fertile, the area has a high potential for producing various kinds of fruits and vegetables.

The Floating Market is routinely crowded with hundreds of vendors and purchasers floating in their small rowing boats selling and buying agricultural products and local food, which are mostly brought from their own nearby orchards. Therefore, it is a very attractive place for tourists to see this old style and traditional way of selling and buying goods.

Around this area, boat trip services are available for sightseeing along smaller canals branching off from the Damnoen Saduak canal. Visitors can observe Thai traditional houses and the way they live as well as tasting exotic fruits, local food and refreshing drinks along the waterway.

There are bus services to Damnoen Saduak from the Southern Bus Terminal on Borommarat Chachonnani Road starting at 6 a.m. You'd better get there as early in the morning as possible to escape a crowd of visitors.

2. Taling Chan Floating Market
Taling Chan Floating Market possesses its endless attraction to Thais and foreigners alike. The life of the residents by the Chakphra Canal still retains the atmosphere and style of true nature reflecting the attachment to the river of the capital dellers. This market, which operates on Saturdays and Sundays 09.00 -17.00 only, is located in front of the Taling Chan District Office in the west of Bangkok. The market is accessible by air-con bus No. 79. After visiting the market, long-tail boat trips along the canals are available.

By taking a weekend boat tour, you can feel a shady and restful atmosphere as well as experience the natural surroundings and Thai ways of life along the canals that still remain their traditional charm. Also you can enjoy a sightseeing tour of the Preservation Orchard, an orchid garden, or a botanical garden, which includes various kinds of flowering and ornamental plants. Besides, from the market, there is also a guided boat tour of Thonburi Snake Farm which operates every Sunday. The fares are 120 baht for an adult and 60 baht for a child.

What is worth special mentioning is to visit the Preservation Orchard which distributes low-cost fruit trees to tourists. This garden differs from others in that it is the first garden established by Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to preserve the original fruits of Taling Chan district for the future generations.

Further in-depth experience can be gained by trying distinct dishes from food stalls on the rafts along the canal as well as on both sides of the way to the canal. One recommended item is the "Boat Noodles". It is one of the famous Thai dishes, not only for its excellent taste but also for the scrumptiousness of a seasoning called "chilli", which is a Thai way of life in every household.


And also don't forget to finish with selective desserts starting from Luk Chub Thongyip and Thongyod, which have been a manifestation of Thai intelligence since the prehistory. All goods sold in the market perfectly indicate the abundance of products in this area such as fruits and flowers, especially orchids in various colours and shapes.
3. Wat Sai Floating Market
This place in the southwest of Bangkok used to be famous, but now most of the boats have been replaced by shops on the banks of the canal. To get there, join one of the floating market tours that leave from the Oriental Pier or Tha Chang Pier. Normally, the tours include a visit to Wat Arun, Royal Barges Museum and Snake Farm.

Note : It is advisable to join a package tour for your convenience

Chao Phraya River Express Boat Trip (Bangkok - Nonthaburi)

Chao Phraya River

Express boat
The easiest and cheapest way to observe the way of life along the Chao Phraya River is by boarding a Chao Phraya River express boat. The route starts at Wat Ratchasingkhon Pier near Krungthep Bridge and ends at the pier of Nonthaburi (a province north of Bangkok).

Major landing piers are Sathon, Si Phraya, Chang, and Wang Lang piers. While travelling along the Chao Phraya River, you will see many splendid temples and attractive buildings, for example, the Royal Thai Navy Dockyard, the Thai Maritime Navigation Company, the Old Customs House, Wat Arun, the Grand Palace, and Wat Rakhang.

The whole trip takes about 1.30 hours. The fares for a standard express boat trip are from 5 to 16 baht, depending on the distance. The boats leave the terminals every 15 minutes from 6.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. daily. Special express boats, symbolized by yellow, red and orange flags, stop at major piers only and the fares are 15 for the yellow and 10 baht for the red and orange ones.

These special express boats operate only during rush hours -- 6.00 - 9.00 a.m. and 3.00 - 6.00 p.m.

Canal (Khlong) Trips

1. Trip along Khlong Bangkok Noi & Khlong Bang Yai

A boat service for this relaxing route departs from Tha Chang Pier many times daily. It takes about an hour to reach Bang Yai, a district in Nonthaburi. The following are some leading attractions along Bangkok Noi canal mostly comprise old temples. The Royal Barges Museum is a dockyard for royal barges used in ceremonial processions. Among the most magnificent are the Suphannahong and the Narayana Songsuban. Wat (temple) Suwannaram is an ancient temple erected in the Ayutthaya period. It is noted for its magnificent murals painted in the reign of King Rama III. Wat Sisudaram is a temple where Sunthon Phu, a famous Thai poet who was designated by UNESCO as a classic poet of the world, used to stay in his childhood. Besides the monument to the poet, the multipurpose hall built in the Ayutthaya period is still well-preserved. Wat Nairong boasts murals depicting episodes of the ten previous lives of the Lord Buddha on the walls of its ordination hall. Wat Phaowana Phirataram The highlight of the temple, erected in the reign of King Rama V, is its multipurpose hall built in the traditional Thai style.

2. Trip along Khlong Dao Khanong - Khlong Bangkok Yai - Khlong Bang Chuak Nang

Visitors who want to explore this route can rent a boat from Tha Chang Pier. Some attractions along this route are: Wat Sai Floating Market, Snake Farm, Wat Pak Nam, Wat Ko and Taling Chan Floating Market. There are tour programs to other small canals on Thon Buri side, but they are not regular routes and you need to hire a long-tail boat at one of the pier. The standard fare is 400 baht per hour. Prices can be negotiated (before travelling). The major piers for hired boats are Tha Chang, Tha Saphan Phut (Memorial Bridge Pier), Tha Si Phraya and River City.

3.Trip along the Chao Phraya River to Ayutthaya

A number of cruise companies in Bangkok operate trips to Ayutthaya along the Chao Phraya River. As most companies are affiliated with riverside hotels, the boats depart from the hotels' piers. Normally the trips include visits to the Royal Folk Arts and Handicrafts Center in Bang Sai and Bang Pa-in Palace. There are also express boats sailing to Ayutthaya from Tha Maharat and Tha Chang piers near the Grand Palace every Sunday.

For your personal safety and protection by law, please use the services of travel agencies holding a TAT license only.


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