One of the things I was looking forward to doing the most was visiting the floating markets Bangkok is famous for! I know there’s a couple, but time restraints in planning and because we were weary from that one time, we chose the tour offered by the hostel to go to Damnoen Saduak.
Again, starting out from the centre of Bangkok meant being ready to go for 0645! But coffee in hand and a cheeky nap on the bus there meant we were fully recharged once we arrived. It’s certainly lively there, but most of that was brought from the crowds of tourists (including us, I guess) that filled the area. Hopping on a paddle boat to take us around the market made for a fun experience. However, I was a little disappointed by how touristy the market has become. It was permeated with cheap souvenirs that can be found anywhere in Thailand and I felt a little bad when vendors would pull our boat towards their stall and we wouldn’t buy anything. The lanes of water were also extremely congested with boats full of tourists, rather than vendors, taking away from the ‘authentic’ experience. (Although it’s probably expected when you book a tour to Bangkok’s most famous floating market.) Our tour ended with another boat (!), this time cruising down the side streets canals nearby, before the long journey back via minivan – less exciting, I know.
Overall, Damnoen Saduak is worth a visit if you just want the experience of a floating market, regardless of authenticity. The markets are vibrant and busy, you can pick up some cute little souvenirs (I bought some durian and coconut shaped soap) and there are some very photogenic spots if you wander around by foot!