Damnoen Saduak (Thai: ดำเนินสะดวก, lit. Comfortable travel) floating market in the morning in Ratchaburi province, Amphawa (Thai: อัมพวา) floating market in the afternoon in Samut Songkram province, both about 100 km west of Bangkok.
In five years of traveling to Thailand, I had not been to these floating markets, and in hindsight I didn't miss anything. A friend from Malaysia was on holiday in Bangkok with her whole family and she invited me to join her to these floating markets (they are 10 people, so we needed one van and two boats anyway, no additional costs for me).
I haven't been up that early for a long time, arrive in Arnoma hotel (opposite Central World) 6:39 (am!) to meet my friend. Van to Damnoen Saduak 7:08-8:42.
When boarding the boat, my friend drops her sunglasses into the canal. Discussion among the Thai staff, finally a Thai man (snake handler from nearby stall for photo with snake) offers do dive for it, 300 Baht in case of success. He takes off his shirt and goes into the water. After some minutes, he finds the sunglasses. That was the most exciting event for me on the floating markets.
Boat trip 9:05-10:28, with two stops to go on land (market on land and temple). Coconut water costs 30 Baht (same as elsewhere, I had one), but Pad Thai is 80 Baht (and my friends have some).
Overall, I would describe the tour on boat as awkward and uncomfortable and the stuff on offer is most probably as overpriced as the Pad Thai and you can probably get it cheaper in Bangkok. But there was a boat traffic jam, something I never experienced before! It boggles my mind why people get up at ungodly times, drive an hour to sit in a boat and eat overpriced Pad Thai (uncomfortable when you sit in a boat, similar to eating in an airplane) and look at and even buy products you can get cheaper elsewhere in better comfort (walking, standing, maybe even aircon). Why would you pay for the discomfort of sitting in a boat when you can do the same shopping walking on land? Expose yourself to noise and fumes from combustion engines? But I assumed as much, that's why I didn't go to these floating markets before, but waited for such an opportunity (join my friends for free).
Drive to Amphawa 10:43-11:00. Have lunch there, walk around. There is some activity, but the floating market takes place in the afternoon/evening (as I would learn later from internet and talking with Thai friends).
You would have to pay me money to make me go back to any of these places!
Leave 12:38, just when it starts to rain. Heavy rain on our ride back. I get off the van 14:30 in Sathorn road, so I can walk back to my room. Back in my room, have an afternoon nap (the first in my life, but I got to bed at 3 am after G-Star Pavilion disco, and got up around 6 am, so it is appropriate).
To be continued (seafood dinner, Asiatique, Sky bar).
Copyright 2014 ChristianPFC