Bartering While Afloat at Damnoen Saduak

In my travels I have encountered many aggressive shopkeepers selling various goods. Most of the time it is things like T shirts and cheesy tourist knick knacks. This time I went to Damnoen Saduak 62 miles outside of Bangkok. The experience reminded me of my past shopping experiences in Venice and Chichen Itza combined. I was bartering while afloat at Damnoen Saduak.

Shop keeper selling T shirts

I started the day getting picked up at my hotel at 6 am by the tour company. After picking up another half dozen people at other hotels we headed out to the highway to this famous floating market. This market operates only in the mornings and closes around noon. The busiest time every day is 7 am to 9 am.

Speedboat ride in to Damnoen Saduak

When we first arrived we had to board a speed boat to make our way to the market.

Time to Shop

After we had arrived at the market you have to buy a ticket to actually get on one of the boats. Besides goods, there are also people selling food from boats including fried chicken, rice and drinks. One woman was selling half coconuts with their juices. She told me the cost was 50 Baht. I ordered one and she produced a machete and sliced the coconut in half. She inserted a straw and I was drinking fresh coconut juice.

My coconut juice drink.

Now it was the time to shop. The boat driver snaked his way through the canals and pulled the boat up very close to each little shop. The shopkeepers watched you very closely and if they saw you looking at something in particular, they would grab it and start bartering with you. They do not stop until you wave your hand and shake your head to show you do not have interest in that item.

My purchase

I saw an item I liked so I started the bartering process. The woman pulled out a calculator and punched in numbers. I gave her the universal thumbs down gesture to show her I wanted the price lowered. Finally I relented and purchased a new bag. I bartered with the shopkeeper and got her down from 1,700 Baht to 1,000 Baht.

My new purchase from the market

Even though this market is considered a tourist trap, I am glad I went there. The floating market at Damnoen Saduak was quite the unique experience.

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