Floating Market & Railroad Market

Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
1
34
42
Trip End Jul 20, 2012


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow
Where I stayed
What I did
Mae Klong Railway Market

Flag of Thailand  ,
Saturday, July 14, 2012

We woke up at a very sleepy 06:30 and the first thing I did was try to change our flight with Air Asia so we could leave earlier from Bangkok.  As it stands now, we fly out tomorrow at 6:30 pm and we get to Shenzhen around 10pm (assuming everything is on time).  The problem is that after we arrive in Shenzhen, we still have to get to Hong Kong and that requires a border crossing and it's going to be a logistical hassle.  So, we'd like to leave earlier in the day so we don't get to Hong Kong so late at night.  Air Asia's rule is that you can't change your flight within 48 hours, so the answer is no.  I should have had us fly directly into Hong Kong, but we saved a good amount of money by going to Shenzhen instead.  

After we finished with the logistical maneuvering, we needed to get down and meet the taxi cab that we had arranged.  Mickell went down and told him we were running a little late -- it didn't matter since we hired him to drive us for the entire day.  Around 08:30 we left for our day's excursion.  It's a bit of a drive to get to the floating market.  It took us roughly an hour to get there and the traffic wasn't bad since it's Saturday morning.  It's 80 km southwest of Bangkok. The market is open from 07:00 until around 13:00 each day.  I was pretty tired today and frankly I wasn't looking too forward to this excursion.  I thought this was a little too similar to the Mekong excursion we had taken outside of Saigon.  I was proven wrong though as soon as we got to the taxi drop-off at one of the longboat boathouses.  The only way to get to the market is via longboat and all the "shoppers" do their shopping via boat.  So, we provisioned a longboat driver and boat and away we went through the canals to get to the entrance to the market. Before we got to the market itself, we stopped at a coconut sugar farm.  Here one can witness the sugar making process.  The sap from the sugar cane is heated here in large open containers.  Once boiled and then cooled, the coconut sugar hardens into chunks, ready for sale.  They offered free coconut water for tourists here as well.The market was crowded with people in boats doing their shopping.  It was very, very unique -- I'd never seen anything like it.  

Due to our luggage situation, we wanted to be very selective in choosing anything to buy.  We came across a neat little booth that was selling some hats that were hand painted.  I liked the colors and I thought that 3 of the houses together might make a good piece of wall art.  So, from the boat, Mickell bargained for the hats and we had our first purchase on the floating market.  As we continued through the maze of canals, we browsed several different store fronts.  If we showed any interest in anything as we passed, the shop attendant was quick to take a long stick and pull our boat up against the edge of the river so we could check prices and bargain for a sale.  We came across one storefront that had a great selection of wallets, so Mickell went to work and we had our second purchase for the day.  We spent around 45 minutes browsing and shopping before the market maze came to an end.  After the shopping, we stopped at a temple that was on the river to look at the temple.  The monks were selling fish food so we bought some and used it to feed the fish in the river.  As muddy as the water was, as soon as the fish food hit the surface of the water, a large group of fish (catfish) would surface and devour the food.  After we spent around 10 minutes feeding the fish, we got back in our longboat and headed back to the boathouse and debarked.
 
We were back to the taxi at 11 and our taxi driver drove quickly to the Railroad market.  The train only comes through the market a couple of times a day, so timing is important.  We arrived right on time and made our way to the market and spent some time walking up the market along the railroad tracks.  The market vendors all line up right on the railroad tracks such that if a train were to come it would easily run over their stores and the shoppers shopping there.  Luckily, there are very few trains, but when they come through, it's an interesting show.  The train was scheduled for 11:30 and it arrived right around 11:35.  We had a good spot to watch this process.  Around 5 minutes before it arrived, I noticed the shopkeepers making provisions to move their market gear back roughly 5 feet from the track to make room for imminent train. Once the train was in sight, the vendors moved quickly and rolled back their goods just in time for the train to pass without crushing the goods that they were selling.  Right after the train passed, they immediately moved everything right back and went on about their business as if nothing had happened.  It was very interesting to watch.

Our taxi driver escorted us back to his car and we were on our way back to Bangkok.  Major and I napped for the 1 hour trip back to the city.  We arrived at the hotel, took our purchases up to the room, and then made way to a large shopping mall that we noticed had an IMAX.  We thought it would be a good experience to see a movie in Thailand.  So, we made  it to the busy mall and made our way to the 6th floor where the movie theaters were.  We bought our IMAX ticket for the 3pm showing.  At theaters here (like Europe), you select your actual seats, so we selected some good seats towards the back and then took the elevator back to the ground level so we could grab some lunch.  We opted for Burger King because to satisfy Major's appetite. He had a bacon double cheeseburger while Mickell and I enjoyed whoppers.  The food was fantastic (again, probably because the veggies were so fresh).  After lunch, we went back and watched Spiderman in 3D on the IMAX.  It was a great show and Major really, really enjoyed it. Before the movie, he wasn't very interested in Spiderman, but afterwards he was very intrigued by the character.  One interesting difference at movie theater is that in Thailand they play the national anthem and show national imagery while it's playing.  Everyone in the theater stands up and shows respect for the national song.  This was unexpected for us, but we stood up and followed along to show our respect as well.  After that, the movie proceeded.  The audio was in English and there were Thai subtitles.  Interestingly, almost all the movies were in English with Thai subtitles.  

Right before we went to the IMAX, we remembered that we had to pick up the laundry today since tomorrow was Sunday (the day we leave) and the launderer is not open on Sunday.  So, it was imperative that we pick up the laundry before 7pm tonight.  It was around 5:15 when we got out of the movie theater and we weren't 100 percent sure that we remembered the laundry being open all the way 7 on Saturday so we struck out walking swiftly to go find the laundry.  We wanted to take a tuk tuk, but traffic was at a standstill and walking was the fastest way to get anywhere during this type of gridlock.  After roughly a kilometer of walking (passing our hotel along the way), we made it to this little hole in the place laundry place.  I'm not sure how Mickell ever found this place and I was impressed that he got us back here.  They had our laundry waiting and we carried it back to the hotel.   When we arrived at the hotel, I noticed a very nice shop that carried some really nice hand painted tea sets with the most magnificent use of rich colors.  I found one I really liked and left Mickell to see if he could strike a bargain.  They wanted 2400 for the tea set with 5 cups, so I fully expected Mickell would get some bargain and come back to the room with the tea set.  Mickell and I wanted to go ahead and get upstairs so we could get our swimsuits on and take a swim up on the top floor of the hotel.  We were racing against some storm clouds that we saw brewing in the distance.  

Mickell came back to the room with no tea set. He said that they wouldn't bargain, but that they'd give a 10 percent discount if we used our Visa card.  So, I made a mental note to go buy that tea set tomorrow sometime before we left.  We made our way to the top floor and sure enough, right as we got up there, it started to rain.  I wasn't going to let the rain stop us and I hopped right in, but then we saw lightening and we decided to let the storm pass and then come back a little later.  We had been given some free drink coupons when we checked in and we had to use them in the lobby bar, so we got dressed and went down and enjoyed some complimentary cocktails.  Major and I had a non-alcoholic smoothie and Mickell had a Singa beer.  We decided that we'd try the hotel's Italian restaurant which was right down the staircase from the lobby bar.  I saw that they had a lasagna bolognese on special and that sealed the deal for me.  We ordered Major a 4 cheese pizza and Mickell just ordered some soup.  I think we were all disappointed with our meals.  Major's pizza had blue cheese on it which was really stinky and pungent in taste.  He didn't like it and neither did I.  My lasagna was disappointing as well.  In retrospect, I'm not sure why I thought we might get a good Italian meal in Bangkok!!! And, unfortunately, this was our most expensive meal -- it was around 2500 Bhat which was more than the teapot set I wanted to buy!

After the meal, the storm had passed and Major and I had our swim.  It was really a beautiful pool are with an open air balcony and glass railing that let you soak in the Bangkok skyline which was all around.  The pool had a swim-up bar and each of the seats had a strong spray of bubbles coming from beneath the water.  The water was pretty cold, but refreshing. 
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: