If you have another day in Bangkok, you can also visit some nice places in the vicinity of the city. We crammed our top 3 into one day trip. That way we saved a lot of kilometers and we had to leave the city for only 1 day.
.Before we left for Bangkok, we saw a documentary about the so-called Train Market. We had already seen many beautiful pictures of the Floating Markets and my husband had already dreamed of visiting the River Kwai as a child. After some research, we figured out it would be possible to do it all in 1 day.
Maeklong railway market
Through our hotel (Chakrabongse Villas) we booked a driver who would pick us up at 9 o'clock. In a little 2 hours he brought us to Mae Klong Station where the train would arrive at 11.10am.
It was extremely busy. On and along the track are locals to sell their vegetables, fruit and other stuff. At some point the railway official starts blowing his whistle to let everybody know the train is approaching.The signal for the market vendors to a close the awning above their shop. Meanwhile they keep selling their food. Even on the railway itself, it is still full of market visitors. The man with the whistle is already starting to get a bit impatient and ultimately drives everybody off the track. When we see the train coming, however, the market vendors still remain seated and only pull their goods are a little closer. When the train finally passes, you see that he is not driving over their stuff. Everyone stays at ease while the train passes by less than half a meter from their noses. As soon as the train is gone, the awning is pulled out again, stuff is put back in its place and life continues. Still very special to see that one time.
The market is nicknamed Talat Rom Hup, which mean ‘umbrella pulldown market’.
Damnoen Saduak Floating market
Then we drive to the floating market, about 90 km southwest of Bangkok. Apparently I had to inform myself a little better in advance because we were dropped on the most touristic Floating market.
We boarded a longtail boat that took us to the market on small waterways. On the riverbanks you see many houses, restaurants and bars. As soon as we enter the floating market ourselves, we are stuck in a traffic jam. There are more tourist boats than market vendors. The sellers are apparently accustomed to this and continue to sell their satéés, coconuts, bananas and other treats. Their merchandise is fully geared to the tourists. A big disappointment.
After we finally escaped from the crowds, our longboat captain treated us on a wonderful return journey. He raged full speed across the narrow canals. Along the way we made a stop at one of the many souvenir shops that they have built here along the water. We saw (for the first time and last time) a shop with fake designer stuff. Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, .... They sell it all
If you want to visit Damnoen, it is better to come this way the night before and book a hotel. In the early morning, the market is still authentic as locals come here to do their shopping. In the course of the morning, the place is completely overwhelmed by tourists.
Other Floating Markets
- If you do not feel like staying over here and you are not an early bird,then Amphawa is a good alternative. This market takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and only starts in the afternoon.
- On the same days you can visit the floating market of Tha Kha in the morning. Much smaller, but absolutely not touristy.
- Bang Khu Wiang is less than 20 km from Bangkok and is still very traditional. It is something for the early birds because the market starts at 4 o'clock in the morning (for me that is in the middle of the night). You have a great chance to see monks here. They pass here in the morning to receive their 'alms'. You can reach the market by renting a boat in Bangkok, but you can also go by tuktuk or taxi.
- Even closer to Bangkok you can go to Taling Chan on weekends. The market is open all day and the locals come here mainly for the floating restaurants. This is the place to bef or a nice piece of grilled fish or seafood.
Bridge on the River Kwai
This bridge in Kanchanaburi is best known thanks to the movie 'Bridge on the river Kwai'. From this place you can make a train ride over the Japanese Death Railway. In World War II thousands of prisoners of war were employed here to make a 415 km long rail connection between Thailand and Burma (Myanmar). More than 100,000 people died of malnutrition, abuse and tropical diseases.
.In the village itself you can visit the Jeath war museum. The building in which the museum is located is a replica of the huts in which the prisoners lived.
Right next to the bridge you will find a gigantic restaurant. Attractively furnished and with a great view but of course very touristy. Since it was dinner time, we decided to give it a chance and had to admit that the food tasted quite good. The service, on the other hand, is worthless.
Unfortunately we did not have time anymore, to visit the closeby Erawan falls, It’s supposed tob e Thailand's most beautiful waterfall. On the other hand it gives us a good reason to return.
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Read more about the things to do in Bangkok in this 4 day itinerary.