Floating markets at Bangkok Damneon Saduak.
When I first visited Bangkok in 1965, there was an extensive network of klongs and waterways that were the social centre for many communities. However as Bangkok transformed into a modern vibrant metropolis, the demand for land development forced most of the klongs be filled in to make way for buildings and roads, changing the character of the city. Nevertheless, all the historic monuments, the temples and gold statues of Buddha proudly remain, and there is still present an exotic spirit and an aroma of spices that lingers in the air, although now more dispersed and hidden, amongst the symbols of the modern world.
The hustle and bustle and colour of the earlier floating markets can be recaptured at the floating markets at Damnoen Saduak, some 100 kilometres southwest of Bangkok, although now it is just a market and no longer the centre of a lifestyle.The market opens from 5:30am until 11am, but to enjoy the ebb and flow of the market boats and their changing patterns, one should be there between 6:00am and 8:30 before the tourist buses start to arrive.
By 9am the main canal is packed with visitors and the local market boats, providing a different photographic opportunity.
♦ It takes over an hour to get from Bangkok to Damnoen Saduak, so to get there by 6am, requires a taxi or a private tour. I used Chob Panma, http://www.thaitourguide.com.
♦ A good photographic vantage point for the floating markets is on the small bridge crossing the canal at the end of the covered section.
Some other Bangkok highlights.
The Giant Buddha at Wat Intharawihan see fig5.
♦ The solid gold Buddha at Wat Traimit.
♦ The grand Palace and temple of the emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaeo).
This complex gets crowded, so it is best to visit early in the morning when the weather is not too hot. Its opening times are 8:30am to 3:30pm.
♦ The Marble Temple (Wat Benchamabophit). Best time is early in the morning when the Buddhist monks are chanting inside the chapel. Opening times are 8am-5:30pm.
♦ The 32m high, gold coated, standing Buddha, at Wat Indrawiharn. The sight can be quite moving when Buddhist monks and local people pray at his feet.