To get an idea of what shopping in Bangkok used to be like before all the canals were tarmacked over, many people take an early-morning trip to the floating markets (talat khlong) of DAMNOEN SADUAK, 60km south of Nakhon Pathom and easily accessible from Bangkok on a day-trip. Vineyards and orchards here back onto a labyrinth of narrow canals, and every morning between 6am and 11am local market gardeners ply these waterways in paddleboats full of fresh fruit, vegetables and tourist-tempting soft drinks and souvenirs. Most dress in the deep-blue jacket and high-topped straw hat traditionally favoured by Thai farmers, so it all looks very picturesque, but the setup feels increasingly manufactured, and some visitors have complained of seeing more tourists than vendors, however early they arrive. The best way to see the markets is to stay overnight in Damnoen Saduak and get up at dawn, well before the buses and coach tours from Bangkok arrive. But for a more authentic version, consider going instead to the floating markets of Amphawa, 10km south of Damnoen Saduak.

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