Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi is one of the most popular floating markets in Thailand. Every day many Thai and foreign tourists travel here to shop, eat, and absorb the atmosphere of Thailand water markets that have been like this for over a 100 years.
Damnoen Saduak is the straightest and longest canal in Thailand. The canal was built on royal initiative as King Rama IV of Thailand wanted to link the Mae Klong River with Chinese river ways to support transportation and trade. It took over 2 years to dig, and was eventually finished under the reign of his successor King Rama V. The canal is 32 kilometers long and has more than 200 branches.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market’s popularity grew to new heights in 1971 – 1973 when the river was full of farmers on their boats selling their wares. And that is the way trade is performed in this area until todays.
The bridge over the Mae Klong (or Kwai Yai, or whatever) really was part of the death railway, built with prisoner and slave labor by the Japanese during World War II. There were actually two bridges built over the river here. A wooden bridge like you see built in the movie (which was actually shot in Sri Lanka) was built first about 100 meters up-river from the current bridge to expedite construction on the line beyond the river. The concrete and steel "main" bridge was added during the war when the steel became available.
Both bridges were bombed by allied planes near the end of the war. The squarish center spans of the bridge are post-war replacements. The wooden bridge was demolished after the war since its thick structure blocked the flow of the river.