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Damnoen Saduak

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If you're headed to Damnoen Saduak you're on the way to the same-named floating market -- a tourist trap of epic proportions. Believe us when we say, it is not worth visiting -- especially if you're doing it as a trip out of Bangkok. Stay in bed, buy a postcard of the market and have another day in Bangkok -- really.

Still going? Ok, here's some more details. The floating market is a pretty contrived affair, set just outside the small town of Damnoen Saduak. The market is still actively used by locals, but far earlier in the morning than when the tourist buses out of Bangkok arrive. If you really want to see the market, you're better off to overnight at Damnoen Saduak and visit the market from there -- that way you'll be there far before everyone shuttled out from Bangkok.

If we've successfully put you off, there are other floating markets around Bangkok, including ones at Tha Kha, Taling Chan, Ban Khu Wiang and Wat Chanthakharm -- but we've never been to any of these so can't really comment on them. We have been to Damnoen Saduak though and, well you already know what we think!

Aside from the market, Damnoen Saduak has nothing to recommend it unless you're a particular fan of eating at a food stall watching the traffic go by.

The town is situated just over 100 km to the southwest of Bangkok.

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Let's start out by stating the bleeding obvious: Damnoen Saduak is a tourist trap. If you're planning on visiting on a daytrip from Bangkok (most tours include the Rose Garden and perhaps even Kanchanaburi), take our word for it: You are better off staying in bed.

If you really Must See the market, don't do it on a tour. Catch the bus to Damnoen Saduak the night before, catch a few winks at the cute and comfortable Little Bird Hotel, and head out to the market before the crack of dawn. That way, you'll be there well before the tourist buses disgorge their loads and you'll most likely have the market all to yourself.

Of course, if your idea of a fun day out is four-plus hours in a bus, interrupted by an hour floating around in a canal heaving with likeminded souls while being badgered by merchants trying to sell you everything from Nescafe and Coca Cola to Michael Jackson-emblazoned socks, then by all means take the tour.

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Text and/or map last updated on 12th August, 2009.

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