Sunday, June 7, 2009

Amphawa in the moonlight

Sunday, and it's time for another day-trip. I was a big busy and didnt feel like deciding, so I gave the boyfriend three options: floating market in Amphawa, explore Bangkok or a nosedive to Pattaya.

My darling made the right choice: Amphawa it is. The good news arrived last night from my Thai classmate: the floating market apparently only starts to get into drive after 4pm!

Wonderful, because from Thai markets I am more used to 4AM...So we got up late, after an "eventful" night, and took the minivan to Samut Songkhram town.

As the more experienced Bangkokians among you might know, there are a few small provinces around Bangkok, which are still kind of part of greater Bangkok, but do not form part of Bangkok province anymore.

To the south, there are the three "Samuts", all straddling the coast of the Gulf of Thailand, yet far from having beautiful beaches of course... Samut Prakan, Samut Sakorn and Samut Songkhram are awash with factories, fruit plantations and shrimp farms.

According to my dictionary, Samut means "sea"...I suppose it makes sense!

Anyway, we arrived at Samut Songkhram town and had lunch. Delicious "tot man" (fish
cakes), one of my favourite dishes in Thai cuisine, and some satay sticks.


Then, we wandered around the town a bit, when we discovered the "train market". It's literally a market on the rails of the train. Of course, just as we arrived, the train came.

The vendors hastily moved away, leaving the food next to the tracks. The picture describes is better than my words:)

Train approaching, clearing the durians only by and inch or so

It was now afternoon, and we wanted to see the beach, or whatever there is right on the coast. We took a songteaw (loyal readers will know I love them!) to Don Hoi Lot, where we quickly discovered that we were not alone at all!

There were literally hundreds of Thai families picknicking on rented plastic mats, singing songs, drinking whisky, eating food and eyeing the farang and the "Japanese". There was a group of cute young fags who ogled us beyond belief!

I hear you say: he gets all this attention again. That's not because I am as handsome as Brad Pitt. That's because I go to places where there are no farang. In Silom, I wouldnt get ogled and flirted...

The "beach" in Don Hoi Lot

So, on with the story. This was actually not really a beach. Just a park which ended in the sea. The rest of the coast was covered wtih mangroves, so there is no sand. Unfortunately we didnt have time for a boat ride to the mangroves.

On we went to Amphawa floating market, the main destination of the trip. Amphawa is a major weekend destination for Bangkokians and that, we realised very quickly. It's a floating market where the food is prepared on the boat, while you eat it on the embankment. Kind of odd, I thought...

Amphawa floating market

The scene was fantastic though, with so many boats on the canal, people walking on the narrow walkways to the left and right of the canal, and foodstands everywhere.

Walking along the canal, we really enjoyed ourselves. This was Thailand at its best, lively, colourful, loud (karaoke music), yummy (the food), a festival for the senses.

After seing so many boats, we decided to join a tour. 1 hour for 60 baht, how cheap is that? We glided through the market, passed some Wats and suddenly found ourselves in the midst of mangrove forests and palm trees, interrupted by a few guesthouses and restaurants.
Suddenly, the moon in its full glory appeared just above the river and gave us a fantastic sight. It was, as the boyfriend said, like in a dream, or like in a movie. He was right, it was a very romantic and relaxing moment.


Then, we approached the shore and everyone looked into the dark bushes. I wondered why but not for long, because in the bushes, hundreds of fireflies blinked rhythmically, much alike houses in farangland arond christmas time.

This boat ride was truly magic.

Amphawa floating market by night

All in all, I can really recommend you going to Amphawa, especially the boat ride in the darkness! It's very romantic...


Opy said...

Ahhh, that sounds so wonderful and romantic!!! :)

BB said...

It was indeed!!! I dont like to use the word "romantic", especially not for sunsets and such...but the moon reflected on the river really was romantic:)

Silom Farang said...

Great story and photos.