Well on the tourist trail after the Bond films, the trip to the famous floating market at Damnoen Saduak is still worth doing. Totally chaotic, small "klongs" or canals are filled with small flat boats jockeying for position, expertly paddled by mature ladies ready to stop and bargain at a moment's notice. It's colourful, noisy totally touristy but great fun.
Transactions are more concerned with tourists rather than locals these days but the boats are still piled high with with tropical fruit and vegetables, fresh, ready-to-drink coconut juice and local food cooked from floating kitchens located right on the boat. Missed your breakfast or fancy an early lunch? Just call over a floating noodle seller for a bowl of steaming soup heated by a stove improbably and precariously balanced in the stern of the boat - complete with condiments of course!
While it's possible to catch a bus out of Bangkok and find your own way to the market, most people take an organized tour, ultimately saving on time and effort. If you want to go at your own pace, a private tour will provide a comfortable car for the one hour journey from Bangkok and your own personal boat, (ideal for taking pictures) There's a time window when the market opens from around 6:30am until 10:00am so the early birds will invariably catch the best photo shots. After 8:30am, it's mayhem!
A local boat ride along the canal which is both exhilarating and fascinating takes you to the market. The traditional long-tailed boat, powered by a huge diesel engine allows an interesting glimpse into local life. Orchards, traditional teak houses, floating water hyacinths - snapshots of local people by the river. A scene which suddenly changes as you arrive at the market with the shouts of the vendors replacing the roar of the engine. Despite the growing number of visitors, it's still a fun trip.
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