Thailand has so much to offer. Among other things, floating markets, where the Thailanders sail in and hawk their wares. We spent a day at the floating market of Damnoen Saduak – not too far from Bangkok.
There is something particularly Asian over floating markets! It is like slipping through several time warps that both awaken, entertain, and delight me.
I’m not quite sure how to describe what I was expecting when we went to Ratchaburi to visit the floating market in Ratchaburi. However, it probably had to do with getting a glimpse of a Thai tradition that had become defunct and is now encapsulated in tourist stands and other nonsense for our entertainment.
I was probably hoping for a unique experience and a realization of my nostalgic dream of how Thailand can also be.
What met me when we arrived at our hotel (Ban Sukchoke Resort) was nothing like what I had imagined. Therefore, I packed up my homespun expectations and notions and proceeded to go exploring with all my senses. This was something I had never experienced.
Life on the River
We had clearly arrived in the land of the rivers! The place where we were staying was a small group of stilt-houses over the river. The style was a strange mixture of “The Little House on the Prairie” and various Asian styles all mixed together. We highly recommend this place, if you would like a different kind of experience, while you are in Ratchaburi.
In the morning, we took a boat out to the floating market. The small flat-bottomed, but long boat we sailed in shot noisily along the rivers winding here and there through the lush landscape. Around us, stilt-houses appeared, and we caught glimpses of the daily lives of families. A woman was washing up food bowls in the river water, a boy was going for a swim, while a man was making repairs on a house with his hammer.
The work of the day was in full swing, and now more and more boats were joining us on our way toward the floating market.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
The floating market was like a floating town, filled with sailing merchants. The river was a live with small boats crossing back and forth among each other.
In their boats, each one had their wares packed tightly, ready to sell and barter. There was everything from bananas, coconuts, vegetables, and everything you might want for your kitchen and home.
Along the river was something like a station, where the shoppers went to negotiate a good deal with the merchants in the boats. Here, they could also buy food and drinks. And a lot of them were sitting around chatting and catching up on the latest news.
Yes, there were tourists! We were there, and we also saw 8-10 other tourists who – like us – were sitting in their boats, slack-jawed, in the middle of all the commotion.
What a party! What life!
Had we stepped into a nostalgic fairytale from old Thailand?
No, not at all! This was Thailand, the way Thailand is today, filled with everyday life, bustle, and lots of colored plastic, aromas, and river life.
Was I disappointed?
Not in the least!
Instead, I had an experience I had only dared dream of until that point. And I loved it!
Are you in Thailand and near Bangkok? Then give yourself the experience of visiting Damnoen Saduak Floating Market!