Some free time during CNY so better finish up all the posts for Bangkok.
Day 3: 5 May 2014 (Mon)
I booked the Half-Day Damnoen Saduak Floating Market & Maeklong Railway Market Tour from Deal.com.sg at $26 per person. I would say it is really value for money for the great experience. As the 2 places are some distance away from the city, it saves us the hassle of looking and taking public transport there. The deal is still going on occasionally. So you can keep a lookout if you are interested in going.
This is the description of the deal.
Before the trip, I emailed and confirmed with them about my date of travel and place of accommodation. We were told to wait at the hotel lobby at 7am for their transport. We had early breakfast at the hotel and the transport came at 7am sharp. It was a minivan and there were 8 of us, including 2 other groups of 2 and 4 people picked up from other hotels.
Maeklong Railway Market Tour
Our first destination was the Maeklong Railway Market. The traffic was very smooth and we reached there in an hour's time at around 8.10am.
The minivan dropped us at one end of the Maeklong Railway station.
The scheduled timings of the train. Be sure to check and arrange your coming time so as not to miss the train passing by the market. That's the main reason we were here! We were told that the train will arrive at 9.45am so we had more than an hour to walk around the place here. Not bad as it was not a rushed trip.
Walked to the other end of the train station, and there it is - the Maeklong Railway Market. So what's interesting about this railway market? It looks like an ordinary local market, very busy and many locals and tourists around.
There was only 1 narrow path through the market covered by low-hanging awnings.
Scenes of the busy market in the morning
If you have not realized, we were actually walking on the train track. Yes! That's what is special about the market and why the market attracts so many tourists to come here for the experience of being so close to a passing train and capture the photo moments.
After walking through the market, we met our driver and he told us the train would be late and reach around 10.10am. We rested a while and looked for the best place to take photo of the coming train (which was very difficult as there were too many people like us, haha!).
The action came few minutes before the train comes. You will see the stall owners starting to move their goods away from the tracks. Some of them actually don't care and leave them as it is. When the train is very near, they will pull the awnings/umbrella to the back.
There comes the siren and the train is approaching slowly.
It was a very amazing moment. Just for several seconds, the moving train was just a centimeters away from us. Running through the tracks where the vegetables and fruits were all placed very near and seemed as though the train was running over it! And the best part is, as soon as the train had passed, the stall owners released the awnings back again and continued the business as usual in a matter of seconds. Of course! The train passes by several times a day and they have already been so used to it. They must be 'laughing at' tourists like us haha!
That's why this market has a nickname in Thai called Talad Rom Hoop, meaning Umbrella Pulldown Market or Folding Umbrella Market.
A quick video of the train passing by.
The train stopped at the train station. We went back and many people were taking photos with the train.
I went up the train for a quick shot.
We were a bit behind schedule due to the late train. Quickly went back to the minivan waiting for us for the next destination.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
The Damnoen Saduak floating market, one of the most popular floating markets and a major tourist attraction. We took about half an hour from Maeklong and reached at a late time of 11am.
The driver brought us to the boat immediately. The boat just nice to seat in 8 of us.
The leisure boat trip brought us along the river. There were vendors selling goods and souvenirs from their boats. Some cooked and served food from the boats but we didn't try any as we didn't want to take up too much time of the people we shared boat with. The boat trip was actually quite boring as we saw mostly souvenirs and nothing special. Maybe either we were a bit late as the busy morning already ended or the place has already turned too touristic. The sun was scorching hot too at this time. Nevertheless it was my first time visiting a floating market so still an interesting experience.
A short clip of our boat ride.
It took about 30 minutes and we were back to where we boarded. There were some food and souvenir stalls. Nothing special and all of us requested the driver to bring us back before the intended time at 12pm. Took more than an hour back. There was a bit of traffic jam at the city, we returned to hotel at about 1.20pm .
Next: Platinum Fashion Mall