The tuk-tuk driver, who took us around the old town of Bangkok also made a stop at one of the many government operated tourist information centres. Now I’m not sure if these also work on a commission, but basically these aren’t information centres more like tourist and travel sales offices where they specialise in organised tours and travelling packages. It is good if you stop at one of these with the purpose of buying a day-trip, or booking various boat, train, plane etc tickets, but it’s not the best place to come for ‘tourist information’ in the literal sense. We stopped here to get a map of Bangkok and they didn’t even have that! The guy we got seated in front of quickly whipped out a brochure for day-trips though and it was only lucky that by this time I had already been looking at ways to visit one of the floating markets outside of the city. I had already done some research on the topic so when the sales guy tried to sell us an expensive day trip to Damnoen Saduak floating market I already knew we would rather go to the less touristy Amphawa market.
So we bought a day trip, which made sense in the end, because we got a pick-up from our hotel and a coach trip and back to Amphawa, which was far less hassle than if we had to arrange all of that by ourselves.
And to our surprise the day trip was also going to include a short stop at an amazing train market, the Maeklong Railway Market, which we had already seen pictures of and thought would be good fun to see; and also an excursion at the end of the day to see colonies of fireflies dancing around our boats as we make our way down the river. All of this sounded pretty good!
Most floating markets start really early in the day, but Amphawa is actually an evening market, which meant we didn’t have to start our day until noon. Our taxi collected us from our hotel and took us to the meeting point near Khao San Road.
Unfortunately there was too much traffic on the roads so by the time we got to the Maeklong train market, the train had actually left! We only missed it by about 10 minutes, but it didn’t look like another one was going to come across again anytime soon, so after a 20 minute wonder down the market we got back unto the coach and continued towards the floating market.
Just to understand what we missed in the train market, here is a video of it:
It would have been really cool to be there as the train was passing through, but that’s just one of those things that cannot be helped. The market itself was still lovely, the produce on offer was super fresh and looked and smelled beautiful.
Amphawa market was great, it got quite busy by around 4pm. We didn’t get into a boat, but it would have only cost around 60 Baht to go on a 2 hour tour, it was just a bit too long for the time we had there, so we observed from above. We had some lunch in a place where the chef used the most incredibly fresh seafood. We then marvelled at the market activities down on the canals.
Just like with the train market we didn’t get very lucky with the fireflies either. The boat trip started just as the sun was setting and it took about an hour to take our group of tourists down the river and back, in the hope to see the fireflies dance around us. We did see some fireflies vaguely, hiding in the trees, but there were only a few and certainly no dancing. Oh well, the boat trip in itself was fun.
All in all we had a lovely day and got back to Bangkok just in time to make the most of the evening fun on Khao San Road.