A good market near Bangkok is Don Wai in Nakhon Pathom Province. I was there recently to do a report for thai-blogs.com. It is a great food market if you enjoy Thai food. However, you can also join boat trips which makes it a more enjoyable experience. I thought I would only be an hour or two at the market before moving onto my next location. However, because of the boat trip I ended up staying all morning. As you know, I love boat trips and cruising down a river with natural air-conditioning is a fun way to spend the day.
There seems to be a number of different companies running boat trips at Don Wai. As you walk down the market it is easy to find them. Most organize two trips. The first lasts 75 minutes and costs 60 baht for adults and 30 baht for children. The second lasts 120 minutes and costs 100 baht for adults and 50 baht for children. The brochure is only written in Thai. However, they have basically the same route though obviously the second one goes further down the river. The first tour starts at 9.30 a.m. and continues at roughly one hourly intervals until late afternoon. The second tour starts at 10 a.m. on Sundays and 11 a.m. on Saturdays. This continues at roughly 90 minute intervals until mid afternoon. During weekdays there are only two rounds during the middle of the day for lunchtime crowds.
The boats are converted rice barges. Most have arrangements of tables and chairs. The boat didn’t actually go anywhere as such which was a bit of a disappointment. Our destination was the Rose Garden, but all we did was go that far and come straight back. However, what the trip is really about is buying food in the market and then taking that on the boat trip with you. I didn’t realize that but luckily a Thai family felt sorry for me and decided to feed me. People often do that. I don’t know why. As long as you bring some food along, and maybe a few bottles of beer, then you will have an enjoyable and relaxing trip. Maybe snooze a little. The people at the table next to mine certainly slept the whole way.
Overall, I did spend a good morning at the market. I would advise that you go as early as you can as it does get crowded by mid morning. I would suggest exploring the market first then taking a late breakfast on one of the rice barges. The 70 minute tour is plenty enough as the seats were a bit uncomfortable for anything longer than that. You will probably end up staying here for about 3 hours. In my next blogs, I will give you ideas of where else to spend the rest of the day.