on January 1, 2007
Eighty kilometers southwest of Bangkok, the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market provides much of the better known pictures from Thailand. The canal, in which it is located, was ordered to be built by King Rama IV in 1866 to facilitate travels between Ratchaburi and Samutsakhon. It was opened to the public in 1868 and since then it provides unforgettable views of floating noodle soup stalls and Thai women wearing flat topped bamboo hats.In the 21st Century its transport and agricultural qualities are secondary to the tourism industry. The fertile adjacent fields provide the needed products to fill up the boats clogging the main canal and to serve tasty meals to the hordes standing by the piers. The traditional Thai boats and the time-honoured garments of the sellers provide an exceptional view into the classical Thai culture. A very unusual sight is the noodle soup boats, in which the soup is prepared in a compact and smart design usually kept for spaceships. There is no better testimony to the authenticity of the sights than the fact that most visitors are Thais.From there, there are boat trip services for sightseeing smaller canals branching off from the main one. Such a trip would enable seeing Thai wood stilt-houses emerging from the muddy waters. It is possible to book tours there from any travel agency in Khaosan Road or to travel with any of the direct, comfortable air-conditioned buses leaving from the Southern Bus Terminal on Borommarat Chachonnani Road. The bus trip longs about two hours and it is better to arrive early in the morning, before the crowds clog the piers.
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