Day Trip from Bangkok to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market6 January, 2013
Having checked out the Maeklong Train Market and Evening Amphawa Floating Market during our last trip to Bangkok, we decided to check out the famous Morning Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (ตลาดน้ำดำเนินสะดวก) – this is the floating market you see in most Bangkok postcards. Damnoen Saduak in Ratchaburi is about 109 kilometres south of Bangkok (approximately 2 hours drive – assuming no traffic jams). The best time to see Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is between 8am to 10am when the market is crowded with boats (vendors and tourists).
Similar to Amphawa Floating Market, locals from around the area of Damnoen Saduak will paddle their boats with their goods e.g. vegetable and fruits (and with the influx of tourists to the market, they have also started to bring in souvenirs and shirts) to the Floating Market. The key difference between the 2 markets is the time and date of the markets – Amphawa Floating Market is open during weekends evening whereas Damnoen Saduak is open daily in the morning. The layout of the markets are also very different i.e. Amphawa Floating Market comprises about 7-8 boats gathered at the bridgehead (so you don’t have get on a longtail boat to see it all) whereas you will have to take a longtail boat or paddle boat to see all of Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.
We left Bangkok at 7.30am on a private tour with Rat (see “Getting to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market” below for contact information and cost) to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. The best way to see Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is on a motorised longtail boat – there are cheaper options i.e. paddleboat but I don’t recommend it as the longtail boat can cover 4 times as much distance so you can check out more shops and boat vendors along the Damnoensaduak canal. The cruise along the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market took about an hour – there are toilets at the boat terminal (I recommend you use them before the cruise).
You will get to check out the villages around Damnoen Saduak as you cruise past in your longtail boat towards the market. There are some small shops just before the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market that sells all kinds of tacky souvenirs and Thai handicrafts e.g. teak and silk products – we saw a few other longtail boats which had to stop at these shops along the canals (perhaps they pay a commission to the boatman). Thanks to our guide, Rat (it also helped that we had the whole longtail boat to ourselves), we steered clear of these “shops” and went straight to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market where the action and fun is!
The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market was bustling with lots of activities – the vegetables and fruits vendors in their boats peddling their wares and of course our favorite – the food vendors! The first part of Damnoen Saduak Floating Market comprises mainly the local vegetable and fruits vendor (which you will see in postcards). The transition to the more commercialised part of the floating market is very obvious – lesser vendor boats, more tourists longtail boats and rows of “shops” setup along the banks of the canals and of course the types of things they sell e.g. LV, Chanel bags (most definitely counterfeit), souvenirs, I Love Bangkok T-shirts, keychains, magnets and all other tourist trap stuff.
Due to the latter, some feel that Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is an expensive tourist trap – I do not entirely agree as the genuine locals vegetable and fruits vendor part of the market is still there coupled with the food vendors who prepare their food right from their boat – see how they squeeze gas tanks, oil fryers, hot soups and all other ingredients onto their tiny boats! The quick peek into the lives of locals around Damnoen Saduak on the boat ride journey to the market is also very interesting.
When you are in Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, one thing you must try is the food! Thanks to the recommendations of Rat, we tried out a chicken and pork rice (40 Baht – more if you add more ingredients) and hot bowl of vermicelli fishball soap (35 Baht) – you can see the food preparation process from your boat and we were glad that the food we tried was prepared in quite sanitary conditions and were very delicious! :-). For the noodles, we were quite surprised when the vendor handled us our noodles in a porcelain bowl and then our boat was off to another part of the market – turns out that the boatman will return our bowls at a later time (charge of 5 Baht per bowl).
After cruising along the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, you can disembark to walk along the banks of the canals to check out the shops and to take photos of the activities in the market. The shops on land are mainly souvenir shops – you will be able to get a better price for most of the items at Chatuchak Weekend Market so just enjoy the sights and take some photos.
Check out this video below for a preview of what’s it like to cruise, shop and eat at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (all from the comfort of your private longtail boat):
For more of such travel videos, check out Singapore Travel Blog PassportChop.com Travel Video Youtube Channel.
Getting to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Public bus from Bangkok to Damnoen Saduak
There are Public buses leaving from Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal to Damnoen Saduak every 40 minutes from 6am. Fare is around 50 Baht one way. You will need to check at the terminal on the correct bus to take and where to alight.
Do note that the bus will drop you about 1km away from the main Damnoen Saduak Market. From here, you will need to hire a boat to get to the market – you must bargain hard to get a good price.
Taxi from Bangkok to Damnoen Saduak
You can try to hire a taxi from Bangkok for half-day day trip to Damnoen Saduak – you will need to bargain hard and be clear about the destinations you want to go and those that you don’t want e.g. Thai craft shops (where they could earn a commission if you buy anything).
Scam Warning (not applicable to all taxi drivers): Some unscrupulous taxi drivers may quote you a very cheap fare to bring you to Damnoen Saduak but will actually take a huge commission by driving you to unscrupulous boat operators which charge you an expensive longtail boat fee. The typical rate for a longtail boat could cost about 1000 Baht per boat but these operators might charge you 2000 Baht per person and put you together with other unsuspecting tourists who had arrived by taxi from Bangkok.
Another common tactic of the unscrupulous taxi drivers is to bring you to a boat operator whom they know will quote you a high price and then pretend to be on your own side by bringing you to another boat operator with a cheaper quote (but still very overpriced).
Private Tour from Bangkok to Damnoen Saduak
Not wanting to bother with the uncertainty of public buses (language barriers, miscommunications and missing my stop or worse, getting lost) and the hassle of having to bargain, we took a private tour service e.g. Rat Service – http://www.ratservice.com. Our tour was organised by Vimonrat (can call her Rat) and she is contactable at firstname.lastname@example.org (Tell her that PassportChop.com referred you). Her tour fee is charged at a per car rate so you could share the costs with 3 other friends, making it an affordable and convenient way to arrange a day trip out of Bangkok comfortably.
If you haven’t visited the Maeklong Railway Market, I strongly recommend that you check out her Maeklong Railway Market and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market half-day tour day trip from Bangkok. This tour cost
3000 Baht per car (see updated pricing in red below) – includes the following:
- Private motorised longtail boat for your group to cruise the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (you can choose to take a paddleboat and this will reduce your tour fees to 2600 Baht but not recommended as you don’t get to see as much on a paddleboat; the longtail boat can cover 4 times as much distance as a paddleboat)
- Guide fees
- Gasoline for the car
Personal expenses e.g. food and souvenirs are on your own.
Updated notice from Rat – the tour guide on tour pricing (as of 11 Jan 2015):
Now the government controls the boat price for one hour 2,000Baht, 2hour 3,000Baht but we give you one hour and half, the way still the same way or longer than the one take two hours. They almost stick on traffic on the canal. You can imagine every one do the same schedule, leave the same time after see Maeklong Train Market then ahead to Damnoen Saduak floating market. We have a trick try to take you prefect time for not stick on traffic as much as we can. The one take you two hour they drive slow and let you shop not try to escape it.
Now our rate is up price because of we have bigger car can fit 6 people (even me), minibus for 10-12people too. The cost for the one not over 6 people 3,600Baht, for minibus one boat 5,300Baht, two boats 6,500Baht include longtail boat cost and food for feed fish at Wat Prok Charoen (the end of the trip or the first place before start the trip)
You can also combine this half-day tour to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market with a tour to Kachanaburi area e.g. Tiger Temple, Bridge over River Kwai, Death Railway and the JEATH Museum. Just arrange over email with Rat. Sometimes when she is with tour groups, she might not have access to email and thus cannot reply your emails so it will be faster and easier to reach her by her mobile phone – 66(0)891082170 or 66(0)830059425 (in Bangkok)
During our last trip to Bangkok in Feb 2011, we took a half day private tour of Samut Songkram area which includes the Maeklong Railway Market, Amphawa Floating Market and 2 other beautiful temples, we paid about 2000 Baht for a driver/guide, gasoline for the car (Toyota Corolla 1.6) and expressway tolls.
Planning a trip to Bangkok? We recommend Citadines Sukhumvit 11 Bangkok Apart’Hotel and Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor Bangkok Residence as one of your accommodation options in Bangkok.
To check out the hottest bites, bars, events and celebrity scoop near the Ascott serviced residence of your choice in Bangkok, go to Ascott Living website, specifically the Ascott Living Inside Track which provides a quick travel guide to Bangkok.
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LT10 June, 2013 at 10:35 pm
This writeup is great. I wanted to go there the last time when we were in BKK but did not have time but will definitely go there the next time we visit BKK.
chris23 June, 2013 at 4:37 pm
I have been to this market when traveling Bangkok as well. However, this market is full of tourist. I like to visit floating market. Do you have any other floating market in Bangkok which you must visit when traveling in Bangkok?
Zhiqiang & Tingyi23 June, 2013 at 4:46 pm
How about Amphawa Evening Floating Market – http://www.passportchop.com/asia/thailand/amphawa-floating-market/
This one is also crowded but is full of local tourists.
Celine1 July, 2013 at 4:41 pm
How much is the normal rate for the boat ride into the floating market? How long is the bus ride? 🙂
Zhiqiang & Tingyi1 July, 2013 at 4:51 pm
Hi Celine – I am unable to reply your 2 questions as we took a private tour with Rat to the floating market. Going by car to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market from Bangkok took us about 2 hours one-way – I assume that going by bus will take much longer.
If you are going with a group of friends or even with just a friend, I recommend you take a private tour with Rat to the Floating Market – you will save some time and if you have 3 other friends going with you, an even better price then if you were to go on your own (you risk getting charged exorbitant rates if you don’t know the market rate and cannot bargain).
Nicholas12 December, 2013 at 12:05 am
Can Rat’s private car take 6 pax? Does she pick you up at the hotel?
Zhiqiang & Tingyi12 December, 2013 at 11:42 am
she can arrange for a larger vehicle for 6 pax. Yes she will pick you up at the hotel.
Interesting Thailand Destinations to Check Out | Singapore Travel Blog28 March, 2014 at 12:24 am
[…] of the largest floating markets, Damnoen Saduak is on the outskirts of Bangkok and you’ll greeted by the aromatic smells and the age old tradition […]
Zack30 August, 2014 at 9:27 pm
Hi, would like make an update with regards to the Rat service as recommended by you.
The service provided is more of a taxi service whereby they will arrange for a taxi to pick you up from your hotel to your destinations.
No tour guide is provided, at least that was what provided to us for our trip to Maeklong Railway Market and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.
However, we are rather satisfied with the trip without any tour guide.
Hope this update is useful to reader of this blog.
Zhiqiang & Tingyi31 August, 2014 at 11:47 pm
@Zack – thanks for sharing. This is useful info 🙂
Chloe2 February, 2015 at 8:01 pm
This is very useful info. However, I wouldn’t mind if they just provide safe and transparent service. Either way, to visit the floating market & railway market I don’t think you need any tour guide, we want to be there to see and feel the action!
I have just booked a private tour with Rat at 3600baht for 3 adults + 2 kids(I have 1 senior and 2 minors, I can’t afford joined tour or scammers or price bargaining). I had done lots of searches for this tour service and you wouldn’t believe the quote I got for exactly the same private tour service, some even up to as high as USD400, which I think is utterly nonsense.
chris15 September, 2014 at 4:34 pm
May i know do rat service price quote include the longtail boat ride ?
Zhiqiang & Tingyi15 September, 2014 at 9:24 pm
yes – but do check back with her on the updated price and services provided.
Chloe2 February, 2015 at 8:12 pm
Hi appreciate this useful info. It certainly helps me in planning my trip. In order to speed up the process, I actually called up Rat via the number given here. Here’s what she quoted me as per the latest:
3600baht private tour, round trip hotel pick-up transport.
Go to Floating Market 1st with private long tail boat and then off to Railway Market for the train. Lunch and drink excluded.
She told me I could pay her at the end of the trip, which to me sounds better and more trustworthy. For those online tour packages that ask for money upfront, I wouldn’t take the risk. For your info, I have spent substantial amount of time searcing for this tour and so far for private tour the lowest I got is as high as 6900baht for 3 adults. Of course the more the merrier and the cheaper.
I wish I’ll remember to come back here to update my experience with the floating market as well as Rat’s services.
Zhiqiang & Tingyi2 February, 2015 at 11:33 pm
thanks for sharing – do let us know about your experience with Rat 🙂
Leong26 February, 2016 at 4:22 pm
would appreciate if you could share more about rat service of your Damnoen Saduak Floating Market trip.
Ng Chin Poh7 May, 2015 at 10:26 am
Was here in railway market now with my tour guide OIL. She from the same company with Rat.
Leon15 June, 2015 at 6:41 pm
Tried to contact her via email and phone but unable to reach. Any suggestion?
Zhiqiang & Tingyi15 June, 2015 at 8:52 pm
Hi Leon – I just received an email from Rat that her mailbox was hacked by her ex-employee. Please ensure that when you send the email – the To field is email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org NOT email@example.com
I have also emailed Rat to ask her to get in touch with you directly.
Tongson20 June, 2015 at 11:59 am
This is a great and very useful, I have emailed her inquiring for the day trips you suggested and hopefully will be able to complete booking with her. Thanks.
3 Asian Cities You Can Visit with 40% Off All AccorHotels + Free Breakfast | Singapore Travel Blog22 June, 2015 at 12:47 am
[…] station. From Bangkok, you can explore neighbouring provinces just 2-3 hours drive away e.g. the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market or the Maeklong Train Market. You can download our Bangkok itineraries as a guide for your trip […]
anynomous16 July, 2015 at 3:11 pm
I was so disspointed with Rat Service. I was taken their service to go to floating market last 4th June and guided by her secretary, Aom. She was not professional and not even knowing historical. She was brought along her friend when we went to Grand palace to helps her to tell the story. She was taken quite a number of our pics with excuse for tour service purpose and will send back the pic to us. Till this second she is not send the pics to us and even worse she was not responded to our email and not contactable!
N10 November, 2015 at 7:30 pm
Moosoo5 August, 2016 at 5:23 pm
I booked a tour with Rat it was 3600 bhat for the two of us (she charges per car not per person) and had a great experience! My boyfriend had a motorcycling accident a couple days before and she even helped us get to the pharmacy. We didnt have enough bhats to pay her and was going to exchange at the hotel but she stopped us and took us to a place with way better rates. Would definitely recommend booking!
SLYS9 May, 2017 at 3:36 pm
Hi, tried contact Rat via email but no response. Do you have Rat latest contact / email?
Zhiqiang & Tingyi10 May, 2017 at 10:49 am
sorry thats all i have
Kath12 May, 2017 at 12:25 am
Just want to know if the floating market is open on Sundays? And around what time does the half day tour ends?
Zhiqiang & Tingyi12 May, 2017 at 12:45 am
yes. around 1pm
Ella21 September, 2017 at 3:15 pm
100% fell into the tourist trap of a cheap taxi who took me to a ridiculously expensive boat ride and refused to take me anywhere cheaper … super disappointing experience! They wanted me to pay $5000 baht for the boat ride. When I asked my taxi to take me back to my hostel he told me he could get it for me for $1000 baht. Since I was already paying $500 baht for the taxi and wasted 2 hours in the car I did. Still $1500 baht or $60 dollars for a 1 hour boat ride that was extremely rushed, is ridiculously overpriced. Do not make my mistake!!!
Tony Vi21 February, 2018 at 6:37 am
Ella, how do we ensure this doesn’t happen to us? I was planing to call a Grab Taxi to take us from BKk. Do you recommend doing so?
WhirlwindTravellers28 April, 2018 at 9:10 am
Thanks for the info! We saw the market and got there via public transit, and we think it’s the best way to do it! We missed the crowds and were able to hire a rowboat cheaply for just the two of us.
Sichu Shakya11 September, 2018 at 11:51 am
I went to a tour Agent near my hotel. We are two persons. Paid 900 bhat for Private car transfer two way. Paid 2000 bhat per person for motor Boat for 2 hours (includes stop at Coconut sugar factory, a temple, and Long Neck village). After Domnoen Floating Market, while coming back We stopped at The train market (Timing was perfect). Got to see The market and The train passing by. So in Total We paid 2450 bhat (4900 bhat for two) for this tour. Tour Date August 2018. Did We paid expensive ?