Amphawa's is probably the most popular floating market among Thais from Bangkok. While most foreign travellers still get their floating market kicks at the hyper-touristy Damnoen Saduak, Amphawa floating market has gradually gained in popularity among foreigners as well -- and for good ... Read more about Amphawa floating market .
Tropical flowers reach over our tiny wooden row boat, tickling my shoulders and filling the air with fragrance as we pass. Curious children and dogs peer at us from the porches of stilted homes that hover over the water. A farmer, his boat brimming with fresh-picked pineapples, flashes a smile before making small talk with our guide. We arrive at the tiny village of Tha Kha about an hour’s ... Read more about Tha Kha floating market .
Ten kilometres down the Mae Khlong river brings you to the cramped but lively provincial capital of Samut Songkhram. This non-touristy small city is home to a few old temples, some good food and lots of buses heading in all directions, but the biggest reason to come is to watch a full size locomotive cruise through the tightly packed confines of Mae Khlong market. This wet market is ... Read more about Mae Khlong train market .
When it comes to locally produced food, tiny Samut Songkhram punches far above its weight. The province’s inland reaches are studded with fruit and veggie farms, and the coast churns out a bounty of fresh seafood and related products like salt, fish sauce and shrimp paste. For a taste of all of the above and more, head down to Don Hoi ... Read more about Don Hoi Lot .
Although it’s just over 70 kilometres from Bangkok, a visit to the riverside hamlet of Amphawa feels like being transported to a bygone era. Farming and fishing have never gone out of style in Amphawa, and life unfolds amid the town’s canals and teak wood homes much as it has for centuries. Amphawa is best known for its weekend floating market, but those who stick around are rewarded with a ... Read more about Photo essay: Life in Amphawa .
On its official website, the monstrous Chuchaiburi Sri Amphawa luxury hotel-in-the-making boasts, “Reflecting the community’s values, our hotel cherishes Amphawa’s cultural heritage and aspires to preserve and pass it on for future generations.” It’s a shamefully off-base claim given how this lavish hotel construction project is levelling homes that are more than a century old in a ... Read more about What is going on in Amphawa? .
Both of these are sleepy riverside hamlets that, like Amphawa, are clustered around canals as they merge with the Mae Khlong river. Also like Amphawa, both are home to similarly old teak wooden houses and both have floating markets on the weekend. You might be wondering why visit these towns if they're so similar to Amphawa? The answer is that they don't attract anywhere near as many weekender ... Read more about Bang Noi and Bang Nok Khwaek .
Within you can see senior residents of Amphawa displaying how to weave baskets, shuck meat from a coconut and pound a specific type of regional rice called khao thom. The museum also houses a handful of antiques and old photographs, but it's open only on weekends. Walk through the back doorways of the museum (or just east of where Phracha Uthit Road begins across from Rama II Park) and you'll ... Read more about Samut Songkhram Life Museum and Chaipattana Park .
Over the centuries, Wat Khai Bang Kung‘s Ayutthaya-era ordination hall along the Mae Khlong river just north of Amphawa has been encased by the roots and branches of banyan trees. The temple grounds later doubled as a naval fort, the site of a fierce 18th century battle between Siam and invaders from Burma. Today, Khai Bang Kung is at once a Buddhist temple and a memorial to warrior ... Read more about Khai Bang Kung fort and banyan tree temple, Amphawa .
The museum is a work in progress; as of now only the names of each dessert are provided in English, but we were told full information boards in English are on the way. If that holds true, it would be an interesting stop; you could learn about desserts then walk over to the market to try them out. Admission is ... Read more about Thai Dessert Museum .
King Rama I is arguably modern Thailand's most important historical figure owing to the fact that it was he who founded the Chakri dynasty of which the current Thai king is the ninth. Rama I's queen, Khun Nak, was a native of Amphawa. Their son, who would later become Rama II, was born here, and the young family dwelled in the area now occupied by the park decades before Rama I ascended the ... Read more about Wat Amphawa Chetiyaram and Rama II Park .
The area around Amphawa floating market has become a de facto transport hub for tour boats, most of them wooden and engine powered, that bring tourists out on the Mae Khlong river. Demand for boat rides is such that on weekends the numerous boats have an adverse affect on the town's otherwise quiet atmosphere. Whether or not to avoid the larger tourist boats that pick up passengers from within ... Read more about Boat trips on the Mae Khlong .
Located about a kilometre south of Wat Kai Bang Kung along the same road is the so-called House for Breeding and Nature of Thai Cats. It was set up by a group of serious cat lovers as a way to conserve authentic species of the famous Siamese cat. These graceful felines became a big hit among the wealthy in England after two of them were given to British consul members in Bangkok by King Rama ... Read more about Baan Maeo Thai (House of Siamese Cats) .