Around Bangkok: The Floating Market
Bangkok Attractions | Bangkok attractions and sightseeing
The Floating Market gained worldwide recognition after it was used in a movie made with Roger Moore as James Bond. You see James (Roger Moore) speeding around through the market in a long tail boat trying to out run the bad guys. Today it is just one the favorite tourist attractions in Bangkok area. The Floating Market is located in Samut Songkhram, which is an hour's drive southwest of Bangkok, situated at Damnoen Saduak.
The Floating Market has a number of small klongs (canals), which are navigated by small boats with the peddler piloting the boat to push their merchandise. There is a competition amongst the drivers of these boats to get the best position over their competitors. The market is busy and also hot and sticky. For you to witness the Floating Market at it best, you will need to get an early start.
The Floating Market deals with more tourists than they do with locals but it still promises to be a memorable experience. The boats at the market are overflowing with produce or handmade crafts. When you start feeling the pangs of hunger, you can hail a passing noodle boat. This noodle boat will come complete with a stove and condiments looking to be dangerously close to the grimy water.
Floating Market tour versus rent a car
The majority of the visitors to the Floating Market have come with a tour; very few will navigate to the Floating Market on their own. Possibly the best of both worlds would be to rent a car in Bangkok, drive to the Floating Market and then hiring a private boat to get you around. You will be able to do things at your own pace and on your own time schedule. Just remember the Floating Market opens up at 6:30 and stops at 10:00. It is extremely busy by 8:00, so the early birds are the ones who get the best produce and the best photos.
Boats will take visitors along the canal which eventually leads to the Floating Market, but it will give you an opportunity to see some sights of the locals house, garden, orchards and businesses as you go by. You will have had a chance to see just a glimpse of their lives as you make your way up the river.
The quiet is quickly disrupted as the cries and shouts of the vendors as they paddle their way along the canal. You can add to this commotion if you want or need to buy something. Haggling or negotiation along the klongs is part of every day life and no less down at the market. Don't negotiate too hard as Thai people tend to do this gently or not at all. They are more than happy to wait for someone who knows the rules rather use an aggressive horse trading style.
Floating Market tours
Some of the popular tour companies will add another location or feature when you visit the Floating Market. The common tour is the Floating Market with the Rose Garden Resort. The Rose Garden resort will has beautiful horticulture displays and traditional Thai art forms, and shows how Thai handicrafts are created. The Rose garden also has Muay-Thai (traditional martial art) dancing as well as as the elephant rides. These 'Bangkok elephant rides' are the nearest thing to the city center.
The second one is the Floating Market and Countryside Biking Tour. Included in the trip to the Floating Market is the 32-kilometer bike ride along the country roads. There will be a helpful support vehicle close at hand to supply water and provision to the tired riders.