Going to the market is a universal tradition. Markets from street markets to farmers markets to supermarkets are places where people pick up staples, indulge in a few treats, and meet up with locals for a chat. But these all usually have one thing in common: They”re on solid ground.
That”s not the case for many traditional markets in Thailand. Aptly called floating markets, they”re held on canals, and vendors navigate the narrow spaces on canoes filled with goods.
The most famous of these floating markets is the Damnoen Saduak market in the Ratchaburi Province, about 100 kilometers southwest of Bangkok.
If these images seem to have a timeless quality, it”s because these markets have been in business for ages. The canal was built back in 1866 to facilitate trade between the Ratchaburi and Samut Sakhon Provinces, and soon became a bustling hub of waterborne trade.
The canal opened to the public in 1868, and has been used ever since.
Some shoppers come by boat, but others, like this woman, purchase goods from the shore.
Many of the vendors here are locals living along the banks of the canal, growing the fruits and vegetables they”ll later sell from their boats. Other vendors sell non-food items like clothing, religious items, and tourist souvenirs. Besides allowing people to sell their goods, the water from the canal is also used for the crops grown in the naturally fertile area.
Along with produce, there are also boats stocked with made-to-order foods like pho, dumplings, and fruit beverages. All the vendors need to make these treats is in the boat with them!
Shoppers and vendors drop by in throngs on any given day, but the Damnoen Saduak market is also a popular spot for tourists. They come by the (literal) boatload to see this way of life from times past, sample local cuisine, and pick up a few souvenirs. The market is most lively in the early morning before the day gets too hot.
(via Oh Thailand, Bangkok.com)
If you make it to Thailand, be sure to check out these amazing floating markets for a glimpse into traditional Thai life.