Let your shopping spree float in the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, one of Ratchaburi’s most popular tourist attractions. It showcases the significance of the Mae Klong River to the people’s lifestyle and most importantly their source of livelihood and how it enriches the cultural heritage of Ratchaburi.
Ratchaburi is one of the central provinces of Thailand; its local meaning is “The land of the king,” which is fitting considering the breathtaking wonders the province has to offer. With over 5,000 square kilometers of land area, it sports amazing destinations of which the most exhilarating is the floating markets of Damnoen Saduak.
Historically, Ratchaburi was the city of the Mon kingdom dating far back to the Dvaravati period. Legend has it that “The land of the king” originated from the mythical Suvannabhumi kingdom predating Dvaravati. If you happen to love historical ruins with cultural significance, discover the amazing wonders of the contemporary city of Khu Bua.
Damnoen Saduak on the other hand is the handy work of King Rama IV in 1866 when he demanded for a 32 km canal to connect the Mae Klong River with the Tacheen River cutting through Damnoen Saduak. This resulted to an excellent arable land beside the river perfect for growing various kinds of fruits and vegetables. The tradition has been kept alive by the Thais who until today, rely on the resources provided by the river mostly from exceptional agriculture and tourism combined. The way of life of the Thai in the Damnoen Saduak is quite unique and tourists see a glimpse of how things have been in the past.
With a population of over 800,000 mostly of Karen origin and other hill tribes including some neighboring Asian nationalities like Chinese, the cultural heritage and traditions of Ratchaburi are fascinatingly rich and incredibly diverse.
The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is a world famous travel destination popular for its fresh fruits and vegetables coming right from the nearby farms in the naturally rich riverbanks. The experience of going through the market is amazingly refreshing and the people are very friendly. Hopping into one of the small manually paddled boats is absolutely fascinating more so the stunning scenery that the Mae Klong River holds. As you go past the calm waters of the river, the identity of the Thai culture is clearly evident.
The market opens daily before dawn and ends at noon. Like most of the markets in Thailand, haggling is part of the business and more often than not you get a sweet deal just by flashing your terrific smile. Once you’ve had your fair share of bargaining, don’t shy away from binging on delicious local cuisine, which are served from the floating food carts.
If you’re planning to include Ratchaburi and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in your travel itinerary, be sure to familiarize yourself with a few useful words from the local dialect like simple phrases asking for direction. Tour guides speak in English but what makes the experience even more delightful and enriching, is being able to lose yourself in the sea of colorful goods and the thrill of haggling amid language barriers.
Our Travel Writer is Jack Van Toorn. Follow him on Twitter for more: