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Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Ratchaburi Province, Thailand ~ A Tourist's Delight
Trivia about Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
- Long ago, Damnoen Saduak was a canal developed by King Rama IV in order to promote transportation and fuel the productive capacity of the economy in Thailand, formerly known as Siam.
- Adopted as a dwelling by the Thai people.
- Enables farmers to cultivate fruits and vegetables.
- Serves as a means of transportation via several small canals.
About Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Thailand (''Land of the Free'') is famous not only for its magnificent temples, beautiful palaces, luscious orchids, therapeutic spas and exotic cuisine but also for its unique floating markets. Its floating markets are a part of the success of tourism in Thailand. Among the numerous floating markets, Damnoen Saduak stood out for its large size and uncountable number of shops dealing with a variety of objects and produce. It is also a busy place noticeable for its energetic market scene. What made it a desirable destination is the new experience of shopping from a boat which is refreshingly different from shopping on the land as well as offering many visual treats for the tourists.
Tourist Information about Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Best time to visit this place at the height of its vigorous activity: 8 am to 12 pm (Only on weekdays)
Means of transportation for reaching this place: Cars or buses (It depends on your choice and convenience)
Boat-trip rates for each person: 800 Baht (The boat-trip in Damnoen Saduak Floating Market lasts for nearly 3 hours) Children rates are relevant for children aged 2 to 11 years of age.
The best months to visit this place are January and February when there are no rains.
Plans about visiting Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
In the last week of January 2013, I and my parents visited Bangkok, the fascinating capital of Thailand, famed for its enchanting places of interest. We had visited a dozen places including the glorious Grand Palace, a sprawling mall named Siam Paragon and above all, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. We have heard of or seen floating markets either in books or on television. In the beginning of our vacation, I suggested to my parents that we should visit one floating market. My parents agreed to my plan. The hotel in which we were staying kindly arranged for our trip to Ratchaburi Province which is about 100 kilometres away from Bangkok. On one fine day, we set out for what turned out to be a riveting adventure for all three of us!
Off to a wonderful start!
It took us nearly two hours to reach Ratchaburi Province. We were greeted by a pair of Thai tourist guides. They offered us the options of visiting other places besides Damnoen Saduak such as the elephant zoo and the rose garden. We preferred to go to Damnoen Saduak only and got three tickets.
A long boat approached us. It was quite shady and comfortable inside the boat. We managed to seat ourselves in the boat. Thus our brief journey started. What we first saw were the rippling waters and a blanket of natural greenery around us. Unfortunately, they were not clean but after all, we had a tryst with the rustic charm of rural Thailand.
Next what we observed........
We spotted a group of quaint houses - both village and modern types. When you pass by cute village houses, you can see their gardens, hanging potted plants and front porches. You would be surprised to see clothes hanging in their mini-balconies; household items and other belongings laying all over the houses!
The modern houses were attractive and mostly located by the riverside. Some houses stood in the river with the help of sturdy wooden beams. Some houses were constructed on the grassy ground.
A small holy shrine was present in almost every residence which indicated that these people are religious.
Dogs were another common sight in these houses - two probable reasons could be that the villagers are fond of pets or need them to guard their houses.
Just as cars or bikes are parked outside the residential houses on the land, boats were parked within the outside space of the river houses.
Thai people were warm and friendly. Most of them smiled or waved at us and we reciprocated. Their routine activities were very much visible which was indeed interesting to watch. You could see one bathing; other one washing the household utensils; another one tending to his pet dogs and so on.
These people seemed unperturbed by the presence of tourists who were passing by. I assure you that it is amazing to get a glimpse into the lives of Thai villagers.
A vast array of markets
The highlight of this boat-trip was visiting a conglomeration of markets that were dispersed in different corners of the river. If you happen to visit this spot, you definitely would be overwhelmed by a distinct number of markets selling an assortment of objects. One shop was dealing with handicrafts and paintings. Another shop engaged in the sale of handbags and purses. One more shop peddled jewelry accessories. The most common objects displayed in these shops were attractive figurines, Thailand-themed souvenirs and hanging lamps.
Fresh fruits and natural produce were readily available in rowing boats. Dishes such as noodles, fried non-vegetarian foods and other assorted snacks came in handy for both the tourists and the shopkeepers. The minor kitchens in the boats comprised of woks and stoves. Even non-floating restaurants were accessible and some tourists were seen relishing the food in the boats set close to the restaurants. The list of objects sold in such markets is endless and whenever you visit this place, you can make your own choices in whatever you want to purchase from there.
Our shopping experience
We went from one market to another and viewed the objects being exhibited there. Whenever anything caught our eye, we requested the boatman to reach a particular shop for the desired object. We took our own sweet time, browsing through the displayed objects and bargaining the prices.
I and my parents purchased a few pretty objects including a small hanging lamp, fresh fruits and three miniature green elephants for our relatives. I was attracted by a row of colorful hanging lamps and I thought of decorating my home with one of them. I chose one fine red and silver hanging lamp. Then we decided to buy keepsakes for our relatives and in another shop we selected three intricately carved elephants. Note that an elephant is the national animal of Thailand. My mother felt that what is the use of visiting the floating market without buying any natural foods and bought bananas and mangoes. The shopkeepers were quite friendly but often demanded high prices for the objects. My mother tactfully requested the reduction of prices and after some time of bargaining, the shopkeepers finally agreed.
We also stopped by a non-boat shop that displayed handmade crafts made of natural produce such as coconut shell and bamboo. This shop also sold coconut-based snacks. We had coconut water and coconut-raw sugar snack-bites.
The whole shopping experience had been memorable.
What is lurking near? Two is too much!
We continued on our boat-trip and viewed the natural scenery around us till I saw something swimming at some distance from the boat. I called out to my mother and pointed to this creature. Only it's bobbing head was partially visible to us and we mistook it to be a huge python. We were filled with fear. When it reached the grassy shore and climbed onto it, we realised that it was a small crocodile. Sooner than we expected, we saw another small crocodile crawling on the grassy ground. I and my parents exclaimed with shock. The boatman assured us, using his hand-actions that they were harmless and do not bite or eat people. We were relieved. Long after the boat-trip ended, the sight of the scaly creatures often played in our minds and we even told our relatives who got stunned!
The temple of Gautama Buddha
The boatman took us to a beautiful temple which is located along the shore. It was silent and lonely. We headed towards the temple which was resplendent by its architectural splendour.
After offering our prayers to Gautama Buddha, the boatman told us to feed the fish which swam in the part of the river close to the temple. We bought a few packets of fish food-pods and threw them into the river where a shoal of fish were swimming about. The fish rushed to grab tiny morsels, thus splashing and spattering about, which was really amusing to watch.
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A dramatic departure
After feeding the fish, we set out on our return journey. We enjoyed a cool breeze and saw many more cozy houses, floating markets and smiling villagers. It was like a déjà vu. At last, we reached the return point, my dad tipped the kindly boatman handsomely. The boatman was overwhelmed and saluted us gratefully. We were satisfied with our exhilarating boat-trip. Not only we have photographs to show to our friends and relatives but also have a lot to tell about this wonderful adventure just as I already related in this hub!
Copyrights © 2013 by Ishwaryaa Dhandapani