Thailand Part 3: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (on a budget!)

A floating market was a must do on our itinerary ( I mean hello, that has to be one of the iconic images that comes to mind when you think of Thailand) and Damnoen Saduak is the largest and best known.

Originally, I had planned for Haley and I to take a half day tour to the market before we flew out of Bangkok that evening, but when the tour operator quoted me 3500 baht on the phone ($100 USD) I thought that sounded a bit steep. Still feeling the sting of our canal tour scam on day 1 I decided to do a little research and find a cheaper option. Thank goodness for google. After stumbling upon a few backpacker blogs I learned that it was very possible to get to the market on your own for only a fraction of the price, despite what the Thai looking to make a buck may tell you. I decided I would chronicle our budget journey in hopes that it may help other travelers, enjoy!


First of all, prepare to wake up EARLY (I never said this journey was convenient, just a lot cheaper). If you are still jetlagged like we were, this shouldn’t be a problem. You will be traveling to the market by mini bus, and the first one leaves at 6, with another leaving roughly every 30 minutes thereafter. The mini bus station is located at the Victory Monument. Our hotel was located within walking distance of the skytrain so we incurred our first expense and caught the first one at 6 AM. Skytrain Ticket : 30 Baht ($.85 USD) 

We got off at the stop for Victory Monument and asked around until we were pointed in the correct direction of the mini bus station. By the way, I use the word ‘station’ rather loosely here. Don’t expect a bus terminal, it’s really just a lot of large van’s parked all over and 100’s of people under umbrellas with cardboard signs selling tickets. All of the signs are in Thai so you’ll need to ask (and ask again and again) for the one that takes you to Damnoen Saduak. After what felt like a million questions we finally found it! Hooray! We paid 100 baht each for our tickets and hopped aboard the van. Mini Bus Ticket : 100 baht ($3 USD). 

The van pulled away around 6:30 and the ride took about an hour and a half, including a stop for gas and iced coffee. The AC worked well and I brought some reading material so the trip flew by!


Now, the minibus will drop you off at a canal dock, this is NOT where you want to be. If your driver speaks English, ask him to drop you off AT the market, not the dock. Depending on how in league with the dock workers your driver is, they may or may not do it. Haley and I forgot to ask, and our van stopped at the dock. Whoops. Immediately our little group was swarmed by several women with calculators quoting us prices for boat rides into the market. The woman that approached Haley and I quickly typed in 2500 baht (about $70 USD). HAH, no way Thailand, not this time. I scoffed at the price and told her we were going to walk into the market. “No, no can walk” she said smugly, “Only boat. Must take boat to market”. Laurin in Thailand on Day 1 may have fallen for that nonsense, but not Laurin in Thailand Day 3. So much knowledge gained in so little time.

Now some of our group had already fallen for this ruse and happily chucked away their 70 or 80 bucks and gotten onto the boats. Poor schmucks. The only other English speakers from our bus were two German girls who seemed skeptical of the prices as well. They asked me if we were really able to walk into the market, which I assured them they could and that they were welcome to follow Haley and I as we did so. The four of us started heading away from the docks and were pursued by the dock woman who kept trying to get our attention by typing lower and lower number into her calculator. “No walk!” she kept shouting at us, “only boat! Can’t walk in!”. Nice try lady.

“Sure we can walk,” I told her, “I read it online”. And with that simple statement she immediately went from motivated saleslady to a woman scorned by google. “OH YOU THINK YOU SO SMART!” she screamed at me, “YOU READ ON COMPUTER!” “OH OH OH FINE! YOU THINK YOU KNOW EVERYTHING, NO WALK!” (string of Thai expletives). Walking in to the market: FREE

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Baked Coconut Chicken Bites

Is August really over already? I feel like Labor Day is the unofficial end to summer which has been making me quite sad…that is of course until I bought a sweater last Saturday. Then I promptly remembered how much I love sweaters, and scarves, and boots (can’t forget boots!) and even hats! One thing I do NOT love is pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin baked goods are another story but hopefully that’s enough to set me apart from every other “basic” 28 year old girl in America 🙂

Close Up

End of summer means back to work. Back to work means a lot less time in the kitchen. Less time in the kitchen means batch cooking is once again my new best friend! Heyo! I am big on trying new recipes and we rarely have repeats, but I do rely on a few staples when we are short on time. Enter, Coconut Crusted Chicken Bites!

coconut Toasted Coconut

I love fried chicken in all its forms (except wings…too messy and bony, bleh), but I NEVER fry foods at home. A. I’m scared I’d burn myself and B. Crusty baked chicken tastes equally as delicious and is so much better for you! Before I discovered the secret to crispy “baked” chicken, I made many a bird that came out soggy and did nothing to mimic the fried texture I was aiming for. Then one day I read a recipe that called for a rack and that made ALL the difference. When the chicken sits up and the heat is able to circulate all around it, everything cooks evenly and gets nice and crispy. I use my cookie cooling rack since it is oven safe, and it works wonderfully. If you have had similar experiences and thus snub your nose at baked fried chicken recipes, try this method, I guarantee you’ll change your tune!


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Chewy No-Bake Tahini Nut Granola Bars

The summer time clock is ticking and back to school is inching closer by the second! My goal this week is to ease myself into the transition by waking up a little earlier each day. So far so good, we’ll see how well I stick to that plan once we get to my grandparents house on Friday. They are early risers so hopefully I’ll do the same, but there is something about their guest bedroom that makes me revert back to high school and want to sleep in as late as I can.

Ren Golfing
                  So long sweet summer…

As I mentioned in my last post, my mother and sister are here visiting for a few days until we head to my grandparents. They got in late last night and I can’t wait to spend some quality girl time. If the weather cooperates we plan to get some time in at the beach. It’s been extremely rainy over the last week so if that trend continues we’ll just have to do a little shopping instead. Needless to say, I’m A-OK with both of these options.

mom and Haley
Wedding dress shopping… hence the wine glass 🙂

Robert informed me last night that he has chosen my birthday present and that I shouldn’t make any plans for the weekend after next. I’m not sure what exactly this gift could be, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t a trip to Thailand or a puppy sister for Renly (My top two gift requests always). It’s probably not the workout tops I picked out either as those wouldn’t cause me to block out any time on my schedule. I’m thinking it may be a weekend getaway, but to where? I have no idea! I love to travel any and everywhere so I can’t wait to find out what he has up his sleeve. Sweet sneaky husband.

Nuts  Dry

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Slow Saturday Breakfast: Tropical Baked Oatmeal

And just like that it’s Monday again. They always come back around so quickly don’t they? Robert and I had a great, full weekend. We went on a dinner date Friday night, spent Saturday on the boat with friends and spent Sunday at the beach celebrating the first birthday of a friend’s darling daughter.  It doesn’t get much cuter than a baby at the beach. Except maybe a baby Renly at the beach Smile


On a serious note, I realized today that summer break is half way over Sad smile Four weeks down, four to go. Most of last summer was so full of wedding craziness that this one has seemed so much more laid back and relaxing. A girl could really get used to this! I am always ready and excited to start the new school year when it is time, but I will definitely miss all the sleeping in extra time in the kitchen.

Sliced bananas  Layered Fruit

During the school year I typically go to the gym in the morning on my way to work. This means waking up VERY early and packing my breakfast to eat at school. I relish weekend breakfasts during the school year because I actually get to take my time making something a little more laborious, and enjoy it with my husband!

Oat Pour  Egg Pour

Baked oatmeal is a great dish to enjoy slowly on the weekend, fresh out of the oven, BUT it is also perfect for the work week because it re-heats beautifully.  Mangoes can be tricky to cut, so if you are struggling (and haven’t youtube’d it yet) let me show you how I do it. The easiest way I have found to cut a mango is to basically slice it into thirds. The pit of a mango is flat and in the middle. You will want to place the mango upright on the cutting board and cut along the sides of the pit (from top to bottom)  so you are left with three pieces. The middle piece which contains the pit, and the two outside halves.

 How to slice a mango

These halves are where you will get your fruit. I then like to score the halves, vertically and horizontally, taking care not to cut all the way through the peel.

 Diced Mango

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Healthy Coconut Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

Happy Monday! I know most Mondays aren’t all that happy but a batch of cookies should improve it drastically. Cookies almost always improve things drastically right? Especially cookies that have the words healthy AND chocolate in their name.

 Finished Cookies

I first experimented with these cookies a few weeks ago when I had some leftover chocolate bars after some serious s’more making. I’m not typically a baker, but I was in the mood for something sweet and not terribly bad for you. I decided to try and make these as figure friendly as I could while still passing the Robert test. The Robert test means I can feed him a cookie (or a pancake) and he just says “yum, that’s really good” instead of “Yum that’s really good but I can tell it’s healthy because it’s not very sweet/got a weird texture/is really flat for a pancake/etc”. What can I say, health-ifying baked goods isn’t ALWAYS a great success. Luckily these passed the Robert test with flying colors and he immediately ate 4 of them.  I have since made them several times, including a batch to take to our dear friends and brand new parents Ben and Annie! We went to deliver casseroles and cookies and meet baby Cooper over the weekend once they were home from the hospital and my goodness, she was even tinier and more adorable than I ever could have imagined!


So sweet! Robert loves babies and it was pretty precious to watch him hold her, and even more precious to see how excited he was for our friends. SOMEDAY we will be ready for one of our own and I know he will be a fantastic father. For now he will have to settle for Renly… and cookies Smile

Renly 2
Robert and his big baby

So what exactly makes these cookies so healthy you may wonder? Well for starters, there is NO refined sugar, they are sweetened with just a little honey and whatever you choose to mix in. I chose chopped dark chocolate and coconut, but you could use nuts, raisins, dried cranberries, even M and M’s, whatever your heart desires! There is also no dairy in these cookies, no eggs or butter and no oil! I replaced all of the above with unsweetened applesauce and it worked! Hooray!


Confession: Often Sometimes when I bake I don’t read the recipe all the way through. I know this is the cardinal sin of baking, hence why I am not the best baker and don’t do it often. Cooking is a lot more forgiving, baking, well, let’s just say that if I had a dollar for every time I have started mixing ingredients only to realize that whoops, should have separated the wet from the dry first…well, yeah, I’d have a lot of dollars.

Honey Honey drizzle

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