Ever since we were kids we had wanted to visit the floating markets of Bangkok. We both remember seeing pictures of them at school and they seemed so appealing. So we headed off in a mini-van early one morning, bound for Damnoen Saduak, 100 kms southwest of the capital. From the van we boarded a long-tail boat to explore the surrounding canals. We then transferred into a smaller rowboat to check out all the narrow canals of the market.
The markets were soon teeming with tourists, in spite of the early hour. What was once no doubt a bustling, authentic floating market has now become very touristy. The market, especially after 9 am, is more about selling T-shirts and other Thai souvenirs than what it once was. There are still the boats, the canals, the local fruit and veg, the Thai food and lots of local people. And it still has a great floating market look and feel about it. You can still imagine what it once was, but I guess any place like this, only two hours from Bangkok, was never going to stay totally true to itself!
Lots of great photo opportunities still exist. They make great iced coffees and the locally made coconut icecream, served in coconut shells, is a refreshing escape from the intense humid heat that pervades Thailand at this time of the year. Many of the market people, especially the boat operators are quite elderly, making us think many of the younger generation have headed elsewhere to make their livings. In summary, well worth a visit, but if you are averse to hordes of tourists, you may prefer Talat Khun Phitak, also south of Bangkok.