There are quite a few genuine floating markets in and around Bangkok, and almost anywhere where there is a canal or river.
The colourful scene of ladies sat in small canoes with their conical hats, baskets of fruit, vegetables and Thai food make for excellent publicity photographs.
And the scene at the most popular tourist floating market does not disappoint the visitor.
The most visited is the Damnoen Saduak market,
because this is the one used by the tour operators and hotels.
An early morning start is essential to get to the market and see the sale of food and goods.
From the vendors point of view these markets have to begin early in the morning because of the daytime heat, and the need to sell as much as possible before temperatures rise and spoiling the produce.
Photos of Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
The result is that there a lot of people arriving at the same time, but it is a good experience, especially for newcomers to Thailand.
On the canals visitors will often see boats gliding along stacked with farm produce on the way to a market somewhere.
For instance the Tha Kha Floating Market is just 10 kilometres further on than Damnoen Saduak, but has fewer tourist visitors, making it more of an authentic scene.
Pictures of Tha Kha Floating Market
The fact is that even though these markets may appear to be a tourist attraction, they are really for local people to do their fresh produce shopping, as they have always done. The bonus is that the scene is inevitably colourful, full of vigor and truly Thai.
A further alternative, is the less crowded Talang Chan market
on the Thonburi side of the river. This is more of a bank side market, but still has the colour and attraction of other places.
To get to the Damnoen Market travel agencies can provide all inclusive tours with transport and guides for around US$35 per person. (US$17 for children).
This would include a pick up from the hotel, air conditioned vehicle to and from the market, and the services of a local guide.
For independent travelers then an air conditioned bus from the Southern Bus Terminal costs 50 Baht each way. The journey time is 2 hours for the 100 Kilometre journey, but again an early start is recommended. The first bus leaves at 6am.
Amphawa Floating Market
Don Wai Floating Market