I am planning to take a train from Bangkok to the Maeklong railway market sometime in March of 2011.
Is there any bus/boat that leaves from the rail station to the Damnoen Saduak floating market?
I'd like to visit both markets, and it is such a waste of time to return to Bangkok to go to Damnoen, since Damnoen Saduak is only 20 kilometers or so away from Maeklong.
I believe there are songthaews that will take you to the market, as well as boats that leave from the pier beside the train station. However, the first train of the day arrives in Mae Khlong at 8:30 am, and the second at 11:10, which means that you would 1) have to leave Bangkok very early (6:30) just to make the 7:30 train out of Ban Laem, and 2) you would arrive during the worst time of the day (when the busloads of package tourists arrive from Bangkok).
You might want to consider going the day before. That way you can visit the floating night market in Amphawa on the night when you arrive, stay in a guest house or homestay, and then visit Damnoen nice and early the next morning.
There are only 4 trains per day that leave from Ban Laem for Mae Khlong ... 7:30, 10:10, 13:30, & 16:40. Trains for Mahachai leave Wong Wian Yai Station very regularly beginning at 5:30 am. The trip from Wong Wian Yai to Mahachai takes about 1 hour and costs B10. The ferry that will take you from the terminal in Mahachai to the station in Ban Laem is not very frequent, but you can always walk to the station from the regular ferry terminal. Ask at the terminal in Mahachai before you get onto a ferry if you aren't sure.
The train from Ban Laem to Mae Khlong takes another hour and costs another B10. It's a great trip!!! When I did it some of the tracks were underwater!!!! Crazy, but fun and interesting.
Thank you for the reply. I was planning to take a 10:40 am train from Bangkok to Mahachai and a 1:30 pm train to Maeklong. I am uncertain about the best (most economic) way to get to the Damnoen market from Maeklong. This is going to be the beginning of a 6-week budget trip.
I could spend a night near Maeklong and then catch an early boat/tsongthaew to Damnoen. It appears that I will have more accommodation choices near Maeklong than in Damnoen, but I will have to get up really early to catch transportation to the market. I'd like to get there by 7 am.
Alternatively, I could try to make it to Damnoen that evening, stay overnight there, and walk to the market early next morning.
I googled transportation from Maeklong to Damnoen and I could not find anything specific. But I primarily was looking for government-run buses.
Do you know how early/late the boats run from the pier to Damnoen?
Do songthaews have set routes or are they basically like taxies?
There are songthaews to Amphawa from the main market area near Mae Khlong Station. You'll see them all lined up and ready to go. Signs are all in Thai so if you don't read the language just ask. I think the cost is B15 each way. They go when they are full, or when it's obvious that nobody else is coming. You'll probably get dropped off near the canal in Amphawa.
Most follow a set route, but they can sometimes be like taxis.
I believe there are some boats that go from the Mae Khlong Station, as well, but I think they are infrequent and unscheduled. Some probably go all the way to Damnoen.
From Amphawa you can get to Damnoen by songthaew, but I'm not sure how often they go or how much the trip costs. You could also hire a taxi to take you. I'm not sure about buses between the two places, sorry. You'd have to ask around.
You could also do the trip in reverse by going to Damnoen first, from Bangkok. That way you'd be sure to arrive when you want. Then you could go from Damnoen to Amphawa to see the floating market there, then head Samut Songkhram and take the train back to Bangkok. Trains leave Mae Khlong Station 4 times each day for Ban Laem ... 06:20, 09:00, 11:30, and 15:30.
Quite sure that buses from Bangkok to Damnoen stop near the Mae Khlong Station in Samut Songkhram. If this is the case, you can probably get back to the station from Damnoen on the bus back to Bangkok.
Just FYI, when I was in Samut Songkhram in January there was only one newish hotel. There is an old hotel near the centre of town, but it's closed now. The only guest house closed some time ago. The hotel I stayed at was about a 10 minute walk from the centre of town on Ekkachai Road (Highway 3092) just north of the town centre. It was a very nice hotel and quite inexpensive. Ekkamai Mansion. Also, being the only place in town, it fills up on weekends.
I think a homestay in Amphawa would be much better, though.
Have a good time.