Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok Day Trip to Local Markets

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Code: TH102
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Much of Bangkok’s history and modern splendor lies within the downtown, while the real life of ordinary people lies in the local markets. If you want a different kind of travel, then it is highly recommended that you spend a day experiencing the most authentic Thai life at Bangkok’s most famous floating markets.

There are more than a dozen floating markets, big and small, in Bangkok, and this self-travel route gives you a reference plan to visit two floating markets and a special railway market in Damnoen Saduak District and Samut Songkhram Province to the southwest of Bangkok.

► Route: Bangkok Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Maeklong Railway Market Amphawa Floating Market Bangkok


About Accommodation:
Since this route requires an early morning departure, it is not recommended for morning arrivals in Bangkok. You’d better arrive the day before and stay overnight in Bangkok so that your morning journey can go smoothly. Most travelers choose to stay in the downtown areas like Sukhumvit, Pathumwan, and Wattana, which have many hotels and restaurants and enjoy convenient transportation.
7:00 – 9:00 Travel from Bangkok to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
The first destination of the day is the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, about 100 km (62 mi) southwest of Bangkok, which is a bit far. The market wakes up and becomes active early, so if you want to visit it, you are advised to get up early and depart as early as possible.

You can leave the hotel at 6:30 or 7:00, and take a taxi, bus, or hire a car to Damnoen Saduak.

► Precautions for taking a taxi or hiring a car:
The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is at least an hour and a half by car from downtown Bangkok. A round trip by taxi or chartered car costs about THB 1,500. Here are a few things you need to be aware of:
1. Before getting on the car, you need to negotiate the price with the driver in advance, and confirm whether it includes the highway toll fee and gas fee, so as to avoid being overcharged when getting off.
2. Use your mobile phone’s map app to search for the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and insist that your driver drive you to the final destination, otherwise most drivers who are in cahoots with the unscrupulous merchants will drop you off at the unofficial boat terminals where you may get ripped off. Their private boats are very expensive, charging THB 1,000 a person or more.
3. In fact, the official Floating Market Boarding Place is only about 500 meters (550 yards) away from the above drop-off point. If your taxi driver refuse to send you to the official boarding place, you can walk 10 minutes or take a motorbike for THB 20 to get there. Be sure to find the real entrance of the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. There is a bridge with a gable roof and yellow letters on it, and a 7-Eleven at one end. This is the real market gate and boarding place. From the bridge, you can see the spectacle of Thailand’s often photographed floating markets.

► Tips for bus travel:
First you need to take a taxi or tuk-tuk from your hotel to the WASTONS New Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai), which is integrated with a shopping mall SC Plaza. It takes 30 to 40 minutes and costs THB 100 to 150 by taxi from downtown Bangkok.

From the ticket windows of this bus terminal, you can buy tickets of buses or mini vans to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Buses and mini vans run every half hour from 5:30 in the morning. A ticket costs THB 64 to 90. It takes 2 hours for a single trip. When you get off at the terminal of the real entrance of the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, you will be directed to the boat by the staff.
9:00 – 10:30 Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
► What to See: Shops gather on the banks of the criss-crossing canal, forming a market. Visitors can walk along the river to browse the shops. The river is not clean, but it plays an important role in the local traffic and trade, and is worth a boat trip. The boatmen line up beside the coconut groves and the century-old teak houses on the banks. The boats sail slowly through the market, with green plants in front, making it like a market in the rainforest. You can bargain with the shop owners on the banks or the women on boats rowing and selling groceries. Their main products are daily necessities, such as spices, vegetables, fruits, dried fish, hand-woven baskets, and Thai snacks. The fruit here is very fresh and cheap, but the souvenirs are a little more expensive than in other places.
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 2 hours
► Opening Hours: The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is open every morning from 7:00 to 11:00, with 9:00 to 10:00 being the busiest time, when you may see interesting boat jams. After the busy time, the peddlers on the water will go home, and the shops on the banks will gradually close.
► Telephone Number: +66 87 969 3428
► Ticket Price: The entry is free while there is a charge for the boat. From the official boarding place, you can visit the floating market by electric boat or man-powered boat. It is highly recommended that you try the man-powered boat. The cruise takes about 30 minutes and allows 6 passengers per boat for THB 150 per person.
  • Floating Market
    Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
  • Long-Tailed Boats
    Vendors on the Boats
10:30 – 12:00 Maeklong Railway Market (Talad Rom Hub)
The second recommended stop is the Maeklong Railway Market, the most ‘dangerous’ market set along the railway, with stalls very close to the tracks. There are local people selling lots of cheap fruit and fresh vegetables. Every time a train comes, the station would sound a siren warning, and the stall owners would pack up their produce in a short time to allow the train to pass through. It might be the only place in the world to see such a miraculous scene.

► How to Get There: After the boat ride of the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, the boat will take you back to the main gate and the official boat terminal, where you can get a minivan directly to the Maeklong Railway Market, which takes about 20 minutes and costs THB 20 per person.
► Things to Do: Go around the market and buy your favorite fruit or souvenirs. Also, you can wait for the train to arrive and take a picture of the train passing through the market. Every day at 6:20, 8:30, 9:00, 11:10, 11:30, 14:30, 15:30, and 17:40, there will be a train passing through the Maeklong Railway Market. When the train is coming, be careful not to stand on the tracks as it is really dangerous. Don’t cross the red line and stay safe. If you like, you can walk along the tracks to the nearby Mae Klong Station and take a train for just one stop, which can be a fun experience!
► Opening Hours: 8:00 – 19:00
► Telephone Number: +66 2 425 2451
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 1 to 2 hours
► Ticket Price: There is no charge for the market, while a train ride for one stop costs THB 10.
12:00 – 13:30 Lunch Break
There are many restaurants for lunch within walking distance of Maeklong Railway Market to the north and west. You can walk 3 minutes west to the bank of the Mae Klong River and find a restaurant to try the local cuisine.

► Afternoon Plan: 2 Options
1. If it’s not Friday to Sunday, then you can go back to Bangkok from the Maeklong Railway Market after the lunch break. You can take a taxi costing about THB 800 or a minivan from the Maeklong Railway Market Bus Terminus back to Bangkok costing THB 60. It takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to reach Bangkok, just in time to avoid the evening rush hours.
2. If your day falls on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you can’t miss the Amphawa Floating Market which is perfect for afternoon and evening visits. It is advised that you spend more time at the Maeklong Railway Market or take a long rest after lunch before leaving for the Amphawa Floating Market at 15:30. The Amphawa Floating Market doesn’t get busy until after 16:00, so if you arrive early, you can take a stroll west to the King Rama II Memorial Park for a simple visit.
16:00 – 19:00 Amphawa Floating Market
The Amphawa Floating Market is the second most famous floating market after the Damnoen Saduak, but Amphawa is more local than touristy, and there is a strong sense of Thai market culture.

► How to Get There: There is a 7-Eleven not far north of the Maeklong Railway Market, next to which there are songthaews to the Amphawa Floating Market, taking about 15 minutes and costing THB 10 per person.
► Highlights: The best thing is that you can watch the fireflies here at night. Around 18:00, a long tail boat ride to the natural river of Wat Chula to find the fireflies would be a great experience. When night falls, there are many bright fireflies on the river and in the trees along the banks, forming a dreamlike scene. The fireflies are most abundant during the rainy season from May to October. There are no street lamps on both sides of the river, only some guiding lights for the boats. The ecological environment here remains pristine and pure.
► Opening Hours: 10:00 to 21:30 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
► Telephone Number: +66 86 836 1445
► Recommended Time for a Visit: 2 to 3 hours
► Ticket Price: No entrance fee. THB 60 per person by boat; THB 600-1,000 for a charter boat.
  • Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
    Amphawa Floating Market
19:00 – 21:00 Return to Bangkok
Please note that the latest bus returning to Bangkok from Amphawa Floating Market departs at 20:00, but there might be no bus before dark in peak season. Therefore, as soon as you arrive at the Amphawa Floating Market, you are advised to buy the return bus ticket and confirm the departure time. The minibus costs THB 70 per person. The journey takes about 2 hours and ends at the BTS Station or WASTONS New Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai).

If you miss the last bus, you can charter a bus with other tourists, and you can arrange the departure time with the driver. A chartered bus costs about THB 2,000.
How to Choose: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Vs. Amphawa Floating Market


Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Amphawa Floating Market
Location & Transportation
The two markets are close to each other, both 1.5 to 2 hours’ drive from Bangkok.
Scale
Largest
Second largest
Watercourse
Narrow canal
Wider natural river
Features
Man-powered boat
Boat tour and fireflies at night
Opening Hours
7:00 to 11:00 everyday
10:00 to 21:30 on Fri., Sat., and Sun.
Departure & Return Times
An early start is required.
Late return to Bangkok.


All in all, the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is suitable for early risers. Those who can’t get up early can choose to leave later, skip the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, and take a taxi or bus directly from Bangkok to the Maeklong Railway Market for the afternoon and evening sightseeing.
► If you have an extra day in Bangkok, you should definitely check out this route:
Classic Bangkok Day Trip with Grand Palace & Chao Phraya Night Cruise

► If you are not good at arranging a self-guided route, you can safely choose our guided tours:
8 Days Bangkok - Ayutthaya - Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai
13 Days Thailand In-depth Exploration
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