Damnoen Saduak is the most popular floating market in Thailand, great for photo opportunities, food, and for giving you an insight into a bygone way of life. An early morning start is worth it to avoid the heat and catch Damnoen Saduak at its liveliest. Most visitors who come to Thailand want to visit a floating market and many of them will end up here. Don’t let that put you off though, as it’s an enjoyable morning out of the city and if you avoid the tourist shops you can get a real sense of the place. The market is over an hour’s transfer out of Bangkok, and the easiest way to get there is to join a tour.
From 1866 to 1868, by order of King Rama IV, the 32-kilometer (20 mi)-long Damnoen Saduak Canal was constructed to connect the Mae Klong and Tha Chin Rivers. Many floating markets arose from the canal, and about 200 side canals were dug by villagers.
The main floating market was called Lad Plee market which adjoined a Buddhist temple and remained active until 1967 when the development of roads replaced the need for water transportation. This pattern was seen with other old floating markets that disappeared by the mid-20th century due to the development of modern land infrastructure.
In 1971, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) made the Lad Plee market a tourist attraction for foreigners.
The market had boat vendors and shops on the canal banks. In 1981, a new road was built to Ton Khem canal, and private entrepreneurs established the modern Damnoen Saduak Floating Market along this canal.
The market has been featured in several films. A canal chase scene in The Man with the Golden Gun with Roger Moore as James Bond was filmed at the market, and the 2008 film Bangkok Dangerous starring Nicolas Cage includes a scene that takes place at the market.