Damnoen Saduak Floating Market tour – is it worth it?

Located just 100 km (90 minutes taxi / minivan ride) southwest from Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market belongs to so-called “must go” attractions in Thailand. It is definitely an interesting place, however, in my opinion it gradually loses its authenticity and traditional vibe. If you are into authentic experiences, I would rather pay a visit to Maeklong Railway market or book an evening trip to more intimate Amphawa floating market (50 km from Bangkok). 

Fruit sellers in Damnoen Saduak with traditional farmer hats called ngob
Fruit sellers in Damnoen Saduak with traditional farmer hats called ngob

As usual, we did not buy an organized tour, just booked a taxi driver we met close to Wat Pho entrance in Bangkok two days before Christmas Eve. Many say that taxi drivers at these places are scammers, but “our” Omo was a cool guy who delivered everything he promised. We agreed he will take us to Damnoen Saduak Floating market, Mae Klong Train market and back to Bangkok for 800 THB (20 EUR/USD). Both markets are located approx. 100 kilometers south of Bangkok and the whole trip takes a half day. If you wonder how the taxi drivers can be profitable on this one, please bear in mind they get a commission on the admission fee their clients pay in the Floating Market.

As agreed, Omo picks us up with his big Toyota van precisely at 8:00 am in our hotel near Khaosan road in Bangkok. There is nobody else traveling with us, so it feels like a private tour. Our 1.5 hour drive to Damnoen Saduak goes flawless and a couple of minutes before 9:30 am we are at the main port, ready to jump on a boat. One of the “reception” girls takes us immediately to her “office” and shows the options: as we are a family of four, we need a separate boat. Ok. Cheapest option is 4000 THB (100 EUR/USD) for a 1.5 hour long tail boat ride for the whole family. Not so ok. We hesitate a little. She shows us official tickets with prices printed on them, just I can’t get rid of the feeling that the tickets of the agency next door would have different numbers. I know that Omo, the taxi driver will get his bit out of all this and Floating Market belongs to more expensive trips around Bangkok, but the offer still seems like a little rip-off to me. However, it is Saturday morning and I am not in the mood to bargain, so I pay although I know I am being a bit scammed. Whatever. Let ‘s start.

Before we move, girls take a picture of us sitting in the boat with a DSLR camera. Picture is not included in the ticket, at the end of the boat ride they will offer it to us for 300 THB (8 EUR/USD).

Welcome to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Welcome to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

If you thought Khao San Road in Bangkok was quite expensive, think again. In the first Saduak canal the same souvenirs, clothes, meals are 50%-100% more expensive than on Khao San. Mango sticky rice 150 THB (4 EUR/USD), durian sticky rice 200 THB (5 EUR/USD). Not to talk about meat meals, starting at 300 THB (8 EUR/USD). In Europe or US this would be a fair price for a meal, but according to Thailand’s standards let’s just say this is way overpriced. Otherwise, the canal ride is pleasant, water is calm, coconut groves all over the place, just except boutique shops and restaurants there are not so many things to do or see.

Our 2nd stop is in the shop where the boat driver’s wife is selling 🙂 Very neat person, so my wife and daughter decided to buy bracelets. They could get the same in Khao San for half, but ok, let us not be stingy 🙂

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market hustle
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market hustle

After half an hour you get to the most interesting and bustling point of the market, where many boats with locals offer tropical fruit, meat on sticks grilled right on their boats, handmade products and the whole hustle there reminds a bit of the good old times. This is the heart of the floating market and a place to take photos with the highest “wow” potential. If you are looking for typical “market hustle” atmosphere, this place makes sure you don’t get completely disappointed.

Durian section in Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Durian section in Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Pity that after 10 minutes we move again and get back to more boring side canals. Next we get a 10 minute stop over in a coconut farm where you can buy souvenirs made from coconut wood and that is it. Time to go back. 

As mentioned before, at the end of the tour we are offered to buy the family photo taken in the morning for 300 THB (8 EUR/USD). Everybody’s buying and so are we 🙂 You don’t let the perfect family portrait go to waste. To be fair, it is printed on the wood and in the meantime it became one of our favorite souvenirs from Thailand, smiling to us every day from the shelf in our living room.

On the other hand, I did not have high expectations from the MaeKlong train market. It is a 10 min car drive from the Floating Market. 

No entrance fee, genuine rural sellers and products like fresh fish, farm fruit, vegetables, jewelry, locally made clothes, location in the middle of a town and of course, the train show make it more authentic and exciting experience than Damnoen Saduak. 

Even though there are loads of Instagram ready tourists waiting for the train to come, the whole atmosphere is more relaxed and much more fun for both sides, I would say. The train moves very slowly, honks and gives all the visitors enough time to make videos and enjoy the whole experience.

Conclusion – is the floating market worth it?

Although the scenery and boat ride is nice, you might wonder if the whole trip is worth the money. All in all, if your budget and time is not limited, definitely go to Damnoen Saduak. I don’t say this often, but particularly in this case I would consider buying an organized tour. Many online tour operators or Bangkok agencies offer a fair price from cca 30 EUR/USD per person with guided tour, transfers and entrance fee included. As a free bonus you get also visit to Mae Klong train market which is in my opinion shorter, but more interesting and authentic experience than Damnoen Saduak. 

If you are on a tight schedule and even tighter budget, I would consider skipping Damnoen Saduak and just go to MaeKlong. Maybe it is just me, but MaeKlong railway market provides more fun, authenticity and value. You can get there for a couple of bucks via train or minivan from Bangkok, so you can save the cost for a private taxi and stay there as long as you want. There is no entry fee, as well.


What is the best time to visit the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market?
It is recommended to come between 7:00-11:00 in the morning, as most merchants and shops close in the afternoon. 

What days is the floating market open?
Market is open 7 days a week, so Saturdays and Sundays are also good times for a visit.

Can you visit Damnoen Saduak floating market with kids?
Yes, the boat ride is comfortable and calm. However, kids will have much more fun in Mae Klong railway market.

Duration of the trip
Visitors from Bangkok (100 km): half day
Motor boat ride in Damnoen Saduak itself takes 1.5-2 hours and consider another 3 hours for transfer from/to your hotel.

How much is the floating market in Saduak?
It depends if you go organized or on your own:

Organized: If you take an organized tour package from Bangkok (transfers from/to your hotel by shared minivan, guided tour, entrance fee and bonus trip to Mae Klong railway market incl.), prices start from 30 EUR/USD per person.

On your own: You need to organize transfer to Damnoen Saduak plus boat ride.
Cheap buses and vans run there from Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal in Sai Tai Mai or hire a taxi for a round trip. Our taxi from/to the hotel in Bangkok cost 800 THB (20 EUR/USD) for 4 persons.

If you Google, you can find agencies which charge around 1500-2000 THB (40-50 EUR/USD) for a 90 minute motor boat ride (up to 6 people in one boat). This price is solely for the boat ride, transfer fees to/from your hotel excluded. 

However, we bought boat tickets individually at the floating market entrance and the 90 minute motor boat ride for 4 persons cost us 4000 THB (125 EUR/USD).

Money saving tip: Cheapest option is to rent a rowboat in Damnoen Saduak or online. 60 minute ride costs around 600-1000 THB (15-25 EUR/USD) per boat.

4 personsOur trip cost (Dec 2023)
1.5 hour motor boat ride in Damnoen Saduak – family ticket price4000 THB
Taxi from/to hotel in Bangkok800 THB
Family souvenir photo (optional)300 THB
Total cost5200 THB (135 EUR/USD)
Cost per person1300 THB (34 EUR/USD)

What do you wear to a floating market?
No special gear needed: flip flops, sandals or sneakers, camera and a hat.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *