The most popular floating market in Thailand for tourists is undoubtedly at Damnoen Saduak. However, if you want to avoid the bus loads of tourists on a very well worn trail then I suggest that you head out to Tha Kha Floating Market (ตลาดน้ำท่าคา). This market is a short distance away in Samut Songkhram Province [MAP]. I was using a homestay at Amphawa Floating Market as my base and it only took me about 15 minutes to drive here. It is a bit in the middle of no-where if you don’t have your own transport. But, I am told you can catch a songtaew here from the market in Samut Songkhram City.
The Tha Kha Floating Market is far more genuine than Damnoen Saduak. Just think the same but twenty years ago. It is the kind of place where the boat vendors were also selling to each other in addition to the small number of Thai tourists that turn up. For the entire time that I was there I only saw three foreign tourists and each of them had personal Thai guides. I seemed to be the only foreigner there without a guide. One thing that I don’t like about Damnoen Saduak are the rows of souvenir shops all selling the same tacky items. At Tha Kha it was mainly fruit and vegetables but also some OTOP products made by local people.
Like at Damnoen Saduak, you can also go on a boat tour of the local canals. If I remember right, at Damnoen Saduak this costs something like 400 baht if not more. However, here it costs only 20 baht each! Which is ridiculously cheap. When I first went to Damnoen Saduak most boats had people rowing, though these days they all seem to have noisy motors. At Tha Kha they will paddle you along the narrow canals in peace and quiet so that you can better appreciate your environment. I was taken to three locations. Two old houses that are more than 100 years old and also a sugar palm factory.
The market starts running at about 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The earlier you go the better. As it is a traditional market, you will find that the main days are on the 2nd, 7th and 12th days of the waxing and waning moon. You will need a special lunar calendar to work this out. As they are trying to develop this market as a tourist destination, it is also now open at the weekends. While I was there they were constructing some wooden buildings on the opposite bank. I presume to add places for people to eat or maybe more shops. I suggest that you go here sooner rather than later before it becomes too commercialized.
The following is a map showing the location of the market and other attractions nearby.
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