Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Floating Markets of Thailand

One of Thailand’s claims to fame is its floating markets where vendors sell food and crafts directly from their boats, on the Maklong River or Chao Phraya River. These markets are among the most-photographed destinations in the country. They depict what Thai life was long before the supermarkets, skytrains, and skyscrapers alike. Floating Markets have sellers pack their wares onto small boats and jostle with each other for the attention of buyers alongside canals. Set against a country backdrop they are very picturesque and a natural draw for visitors.
In the past, most communities of Thailand were formed at the sides of rivers. The large numbe of criss-crossing rivers and canals served as means of transportation and commerce. Such ways of life of the riverside communities, brought to the rise of a number of floating markets. Due to this busy water network, early European visitors called Bangkok Venice of the East. Thanks to the adjoining canals which suited for trading centres, the floating marrkets gained peak popularity in the Ayutthaya Period (1350-1767). In the second half of the Rattanakosin Period (1782-1868), their importance declined, beacause more road and rail networks appeared and people preferred street transportation to that by water. In this way some floating markets were forced to move onto the ground, some were renovated and some were closed down.
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Given that many floating markets bear stories of people's lives and possess matchless charisma that we Thais would be unhappy to lose, many such markets have been revived and brought into existence in order to allow people of the latest generations and overseas tourists to take in the genuine impression of the riverside shopping. Today, Bangkok’s floating markets provide vibrant and bustling marketplaces that are open each day until noon. There are many floating markets and riverside markets around Bangkok. Some of them are new and others have been revitalized.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is the most popular, most photographed destination and the largest of its kind in Thailand. It is located in Ratchaburi Province, about 100 km to the west of Bangkok. The market itself is very small; it’s a network of canals that surround a village on stilts and the central market of the area. The original canals were built in 1866 on demand of His Majesty the King of Thailand to help ease communication in the province. The actual floating market started in 1967 and today thrives with hordes of tourists from all over the world. The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is is open daily and is 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. A lot of boat trip services are available for sightseeing along smaller canals branching off from the Damnoen Saduak canal. Visitors can observe Thai traditional houses and how they live; also visitors have the possibility to try the local cuisine, taste exotic fruits and enjoy refreshing drinks along the waterway.
Another popular floating market is Tha Kha Floating Market; it is far more genuine and less noisy than Damnoen Saduak. The Tha Kha floating Market is situated between the sleepy town of Samut Songkram province, about 100 km southwest of Bangkok, and it takes place on the 2nd, 7th, 12th days of both the waxing and waning moon of the lunar calendar. A visit to this very traditional market has to be in the morning. This is the meeting place of vendor boats that carry vegetable, local food and exotic fruits for selling. Boat rental services are on offer for travelling to the villages and fruit orchards around Tha Kha floating market. Tha Kha Floating Market is a nice alternative for people who don't like the crowds at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.
The best way to fully appreciate a floating market is to hire a long-tailed boat for the day. Visitors should wake up early for a trip to see the markets, because they kick off at dawn, and most traders have already gone back home by late morning.
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