Thailand’s Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and Marble Temple

Thailand is famous for its floating markets, where both buyers and sellers transact business in canals in long wooden boats. You’ll find fresh produce like mangoes, bananas, pineapple, and coconut along with pork and chicken satay grilled on tiny propane cooktops in the boats.

Docked vendors offer hot Pad Thai and noodles along with coconut ice cream and iced drinks, and inexpensive clothing and Thai souvenirs are plentiful

Damnoen Saduak is the most popular floating market in Thailand, and it’s just over an hour outside Bangkok. My friend Samantha and I booked a car through our hotel, but there are plenty of large bus tours available if you like a more communal experience.

The canal tour we chose took us on a longer route, where we were able to see Thai houses with their vibrant shrines and container gardens lining the waterway as well as peaceful side canals leading to places unknown.

There were vendors along the route before we even reached the market, one of whom offered visitors the opportunity to hold a small lemur or large snake for a fee. Samantha opted for the lemur.

Halfway through the boat ride, we hopped off at a coconut farm to stretch our legs. There was a variety of handmade coconut art using dried, pierced shells, including lamps, statues, and wind chimes. As with all Thai markets, haggling is expected, and the easiest way to do this is to reply to quoted prices by saying, “That’s too much,” until they reach the amount you’re willing to pay.

The boat tour cost us ฿3000 (around $86 USD) for the longer route and took about an hour and a half. We didn’t do much shopping, and it could’ve easily taken another hour if we had or if we’d stopped for a full meal along the way. It’s definitely a tourist trap, but it was an experience worth doing once. If you don’t want to pay that much or spend that long, you can shop at the market without taking a boat tour at all. Just ask a taxi to take you straight there.

After we returned to Bangkok, we visited Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram, also known as the Marble Temple.

It is decorated with Italian Carrara marble pillars, features a marble courtyard, and has two large singhas, or lions, guarding the entrance. We balanced out our daily budget with this entry fee, which was only ฿20 (around $0.58 USD).

You can walk the outer temple grounds for free, but the ticket grants you admission to the inner courtyard lined with examples of Buddha statuary in different poses as well as inside the sanctuary itself with its large golden Buddha.

You must wear pants or a long skirt that covers your ankles with a shirt that covers your shoulders, and be prepared to remove your shoes and leave them outside.

It’s amazing that downtown Bangkok is just outside the gates of this beautiful, peaceful temple.

Up next: A Thai cooking class and a visit to the colorful food market