We booked again! Next Jan we go to Thailand, second time, and this time for 6 whole weeks. Now I'm looking into traveloptions and have a few questions.
After two weeks north we arrive in BKK someday in Feb in the morning. The next day I want to take the train to Samut Songkhram. Where can we stay nicely, not too expensive (no ShangriLa!) and within easy reach of Wongwian Trainstation? Are there even guesthouses on that side of the river?
From Samut Songkhram we want to continue our journey by train to the south: Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan etc. Is there an easy way to get from SS to the nearest trainstation?
And going down south, where should we stop, where should we sleep and what beaches and parks are not to be missed?
At Chumpzon we think of taking the boat to Ko Pha-Ngan for a few days, returning after that at Surat Thani. Then Khao Sok, Krabi, Trang, some islands, don't know yet, any suggestions for a nice route are very welcome!
The Mae Khlong Mahachai Railway http://www.thailandbytrain.com/MahachaiRailway.html
It dead-ends at Samut Songkhram. If you're going to the floating markets (the following morning) at Amphawa and Damnoen Saduak then just get a tuk tuk to run you over to Ratchaburi station and catch the no. 171 train at 15:25. This gets into Hua Hin a couple hours later or Prachuap at 18:25
Or an earlier train no. 261 calls in at Ratchaburi at 11:29 which terminates in Hua Hin at 13:00
There are places to stay in Thonburi. Look around on Google. But if you can't find anything appropriate, it's not a problem. I doubt that any cab driver would not be able to find Wong Wian Yai Station. From the Banglamphoo area a cab would take about 15-20 minutes to get there. I walked to the station from the Flower Market and it took about 45 minutes.
The train goes about every hour from the station, so you can't miss it. You need to go to Samut Sakhon (Mahachai) first. The cost is B10 and takes about an hour. From Mahachai Station you have to walk to the pedestrian ferry terminal (about a 1 minute walk), cross the Chin River on one of the cool, old wooden ferries, then walk up to the main street on the other side. Turn right and follow the arching street until you see the train station (Ban Laem Train Station), and then continue your train trip from there.
There are not as many trains leaving from Ban Laem for Samut Songkhram, so your timing is going to have to be precise if you don't want to "just" miss a train and then end up waiting around for a few hours for the next one.
Here is another good link regarding this trip ... Mahachai Rail Line Info
Captain Bob's info will get you out of Samut Songkhram and on your way south.
I would recommend Khao Sam Roi Yot for at least a day. Prachuap is very nice.
By the way, if you end up in Mahachai a couple of hours before the other train leaves, there is a superb seafood restaurant directly beside the pedestrian ferry terminal where you can sit on the open-walled second floor, right-off-the-boat seafood, and watch the shrimp boats and deep-sea trawlers coming and going. It's not particularly cheap, but it is excellent and a good way to spend a hot lunch hour.
Thanks, Captain Bob and Tilapia.
Maybe it's a good idea to visit the floating market real early and then catch the train in Ratchaburi to get to Prachuap. You know how long it takes from Samut Songkhram to Damnoen Saduak en from Damnoen Saduak to Rachaburi? Or is Amphawa market nicer? I will search the Internet for more info on those markets.
I think we'll find a place to sleep around Thonburi or not too far away, at Google I only find fairly expensive hotels and I'm looking for less expensive but nice places. We want to take an early train, to give us lots of time to wander around and to check out this nice seafood restaurant you recommended, Tilapia! Thanks for that, good food is very important to us.
At least I'm convinced this trip is going to be part of our journey. It was on the itinerary last time, but skipped because of lack of time.
It's a great trip, and very few foreigners bother to do it (which is good!)
Here is another, more recent article on the Mahachai seafood market ... http://www.tatnews.org/emagazine/2799.asp
Thonburi doesn't have much of a tourism infrastructure, so there won't be the selection of places to stay as there are on the east side of the river. Good luck finding a place. I've looked around during my time there and aside from the Artists Place Guest House, I haven't seen anything other than large hotels along the river.
I would do the railway to Samut Songkhram the 1st day, allowing time to poke around and find somewhere to stay. Then go to the Damnoen Saduak floating markets early next morning (about 20km from S.S.) for a couple hours, then grab a ride to Ratchaburi station (30km away) to catch a train to Hua Hin, etc.
I've stayed 2 times at a lovely place right on the Mae Khlong river just north of Samut Songkhram.
Ban Chom Duan - here's their card, Tuk tuk guys should know where it is.
Nice restaurant and evening boat rides, and can organise the floating market visit too if needed.