Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Amphawa Floating Market - Amazing Bangkok Trip #7

If you look closely at the map of Thailand, you can see stretches of rivers branching into the mainland like tiny veins underneath your skin.

In ancient times, these river networks are conveniently utilised by farmers to deliver goods from farms to markets before the invention of road and railway. People would then gather on the river banks to trade goods, creating a prosperous waterfront community which is also known as floating market.

There are not just one, but many floating markets in the southern part of Thailand where most of the rivers are found. Amphawa floating market is located at the Amphawa district of Samut Songkhram province, along the banks of Maeklong river. Unlike Damnoen Saduak which is a morning market, Amphawa is an evening market which opens on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 3pm to 8pm. Amphawa is also less crowded compared to the more touristy Damnoen Saduak. We were told by Apple that Amphawa is also a favourite weekend getaway among local city folks as it is not too far from the city.

To visit the Amphawa floating market, we signed up a one day trip package with Visit Beyond and here is the itinerary of our one day trip:
With the guidance of our personal tour guide, Apple, we walked from Maeklong railway market to the centre of the town, which is only a short distance away. The blue vehicle in the middle of the road is known as 'Songtel', which literally means 'two rows' depicting the two rows of seats at the back of the vehicle.

We quickly got in one of the 'Songtel's which was waiting for more passengers to fill the seats. We reached Amphawa after a 20 minutes ride.

Miang kham which is a traditional snack in Thailand. Tiny cubes of shallot, chilli, ginger, garlic, lime, roasted peanut and salted shrimp topped with palm syrup are pre-wrapped in tea leaves and skewered onto a stick. Sadly this Miang Kham that I bought at the road heading to Amphawa floating market is a tad too sweet for my liking.

'O Liang' which is thai local iced coffee. 'O Liang' is our favourite thirst-quenching beverage in Thailand and we had it almost everyday. This particular 'O Liang' at Amphawa floating market is our favourite as the coffee is very fragrant and not too sweet.

The beautiful picturesque floating market in Amphawa. Too bad the photo came out blurry. Amphawa floating market consists of old wooden row houses along the riverbanks of Maeklong river (Amphawa canal) covering a distance of about 800m. We walked along the wooden row houses, crossed the bridge at the end and continued to stroll on the opposite river bank. That basically sums up our trip at Amphawa.

You can find many shops selling cheap souvenirs, handmade products, T-shirts and accessories. A minimum of 2 hours was spent sightseeing and souvenir scouting at this happening market.

Must try ice cream shop at Amphawa floating market. We decided to try the Asam boi and butterfly pea flower ice cream because it's nearly impossible to find them in Malaysia.

This shop offers a variety of ice cream flavours. There are just too many to choose from!

Srimala Ice Cream Shop. You will be able to find it easily as it is located along the river bank.

Happy to indulge in the coolness of the ice cream.

Christy and Apple were discussing about something excitedly while I just posed for the camera. 

At Amphawa, every scene is a perfect holiday snap. Even with a touristy pointing-at-something pose. 

Must buy item at Amphawa floating market: coconut oil skin care and hair products! I only bought a bottle of hair serum and a lip balm because I thought I could get it at somewhere else but I was wrong! Regret it afterwards because the coconut oil hair serum is superb and it's only 200 baht for one bottle! You should really get few bottles before heading back to Bangkok.

Posing again.

With Jac Jac.


There are a few guesthouses at the floating market itself but the room rate is definitely higher compared to Bangkok guesthouses. Apple suggested us to stay at guesthouse located just outside the floating market as it would be cheaper. A couple of nights spent at Amphawa would be just nice for a couple anticipating a romantic trip. Next time then!

Another picture of the floating market taken by Jac Jac's camera.

Not sure what is this called but I've seen many street food vendors selling this. Apple told us it is some kind of Thai dessert in mini claypot.

You can hop into a boat if you fancy a boat riding tour to cruise through the floating market. We decided to skip the boat tour because it would be too time-consuming and we had to rush back before the curfew.

Taking group picture at the bridge connecting the river banks.

Boats selling food near the bridge.

Spotted many local people and tourists who managed to find themselves empty spots on the river banks and ordered freshly grilled seafood. Wish we had time to sit down and enjoy yummy seafood as well. Next time then!

That's all for today! 

If you are staying for a night at Amphawa, do not miss the firefly watching tour at night! 

Other ways to get to Amphawa if you are not joining tour packages:
  • By car: From Bangkok take Rama II Road (Highway No. 35) When you reach Samut Songkhram Province, take Highway No. 325 (Samut Songkhram-Bangphae). Go on for about 6 km, between kilostone 36 and 37 turn left to Amphawa District. Keep going, go over a bridge, then turn left to Wat Amphawan and find a parking space there. 
  • By bus: Take a bus from Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal. When you get to Samut Songkhram, take a local bus (Mae Klong-Bang Nok Khwaek) at the bus terminal. 
  • By van: Vans to Amphawa are available at Victory Monument and the Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal.
Will be taking a short break from Bangkok posts. My Seoul-Jeju-Busan trip with Hubby is just one week away! Stay tune for more Bangkok and Korea trip posts!



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