Pasar Terapung (Floating Market) Damnoen Saduak , Thailand

Damnoen Saduak Floating Village (pasar terapung) terletak di Damnoen Saduak distrik, propinsi Ratchaburi, sekitar 105 km dari kota Bangkok, Thailand. Menurut sejarah, sekitar tahun 1866, Raja Rama IV memerintahkan penggalian kanal sepanjang 32 km di Damnoen Saduak. Kanal ini akan menghubungkan sungai Mae Klong dengan sungai Tachine. Tanah disekitar kanal diyakini sangat baik kualitasnya untuk menanam berbagai jenis buah dan sayur-sayuran.

Dewasa ini, pasar terapung Damnoen Saduak menjadi salah satu objek wisata Thailand sebagai tempat yang sangat menarik bagi wisatawan untuk melihat cara tradisional menjual dan membeli barang-barang seperti dipasar tradisional di darat umumnya. Selain terkenal dengan agribisnisnya, Thailand ternyata sangat memelihara kegiatan tradisionalnya menjadi daya tarik wisata asing. Lokasinya terlihat teratur dan aman bagi wisatawan. Didaerah kita sendiri banyak suasana yang seperti itu, tapi tidak tertata dengan baik, sehingga tidak ada yang bisa dijual untuk wisatawan asing, yang ada cuma daerah kumuh.

Alat transportasi wisata Damnoen Saduak menggunakan perahu / sampan yang digawangi seorang nahkoda. Asyik  nih, naik perahu menyusuri kanal-kanal (dalam Bahasa Thai disebut Khlongs) sempit, menuju pasar terapung. Perahu melaju kencang, membelah kanal sempit yang lebarnya hanya sekitar dua meter. Air di kanal tersebut berwarna coklat keruh tapi nggak ada sampahnya. Sesekali perahu berpapasan atau bersimpangan dengan perahu lainnya yang kebanyakan juga mengangkut turis. Buat wisatawan yang baru pertama kali akan terusa takut, sepertinya perahu akan bertabrakan. Bisa berabe kan, kalau perahu bertabrakan dan kita kecebur ke dalam kanal yang airnya coklat keruh? Namun, nahkoda terlihat cukup jago menjalankan perahu. Soalnya, memang pekerjaannya sehari-hari. Perahu terus melaju dengan kencang, berbelok kanan kiri menyusuri kanal-kanal sempit. Melewati perkampungan penduduk yang kebanyakan berbentuk rumah panggung yang didirikan di atas air, di kanan kiri kanal. Beberapa saat kemudian, mulai terlihat pedagang cendera mata di pinggir kanal. Kebanyakan berjualan souvenir khas Thailand. Pedagang yang menjajakan dagangannya di atas perahu juga mulai terlihat. Ketika memasuki lokasi pasar, suasana semakin ramai. Kanal penuh sesak dengan perahu pedagang maupun perahu turis. Bahkan, di beberapa tempat (pertigaan/ perempatan kanal), terjadi kemacetan. Perahu berhenti total karena kanal yang sangat sempit dipenuhi oleh banyak perahu yang akan menuju ke lokasi pasar terapung. Ternyata kemacetan, bukan hanya di jalan darat, di kanal/sungai pun terjadi kemacetan.

Turn back in time and visit authentic floating markets. As waterways play an important part of traditional Thai life.

Damnoen Saduak is about 105 km southwest of Bangkok in Ratchaburi province. The Damnoen Saduak canal along 32 km was ordered to be built in 1866 by King Rama IV of the Chakri Dynasty, to connect the Taachin River in Samutsakorn Province and Maeklong River in Samutsongkram Province together. A number of canals were dug to connect with it by local peasants to get water to splatter their land. As the excellent quality soil along the canal is very fertile, the area has a high potential for producing various kinds of fruits and vegetables.

Nowadays, Damnoen Saduak is the most popular floating market in Thailand, an attractive place for tourists to see this old style and traditional way of buying and selling goods like general markets on land. As well as the agribusiness, Thailand turned out to be maintaining their traditional activities into foreign tourist attraction. The location looks orderly and safe for tourists. Our own areas much looked like those atmosphere, but they are not well ordered, so that not much can be sold to foreign tourists, on the contrary there are only the slums.

The transportation in Damnoen Saduak is by boat rodeby a boat driver. Riding a boat along the narrow canals (in Thai language called Khlongs) towards the floating market. Boat sails in high speed, splitting a narrow canal which its width is only about two meters. The canal water is murky brownish but has no rubbish. Once in a while the boat passes or intersects with other boats those are also carrying tourists. For tourists’ first-time-experience will worry about the boats are going to bump with each other. Can you imagine if the boats are bumped and passengers drown into the murky brownish water? However, don’t worry, the captain looks pretty good inriding the boat as he is a professional driver. The boat continues to sail fast, turn left and right down the narrow canals. It glides down the narrow canals, small wooden houses on stilts fringe the banks, some with larger ponds than lawns. The boat driver slows down to let you appreciate the winding waterways and get a brief glimpse of those who live on the river. The journey takes around 20 minutes and it’s great to enjoy the peace before the hectic pace of the market. It may feel overcrowded at first glance, but visitors and sellers bring noise and color to the area. You will see local vendors in their Thai style canoes, laden with colorful fruits, vegetables, souvenirs gently plying their way through the canals looking to sell their goods.Sometimes you could not avoid the traffic congestionin some places (T-junction / intersection canal) which was occurred because of the narrow canals crowded with many boats those are also going to the floating market location. It is not only the congestion occurred on land, but also in the canal (available stock photos / images).


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