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Escape to Amphawa, Land of Natural Serenity and the Famous Floating Market

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Many associate images of floating markets with Southeast Asia, and in particular, Thailand. And it is not hard to blame them. Thailand does have some pretty cool floating markets. These iconic gathering places stemmed from the time when the country and its people relied heavily on water transportation. There are couple in Thailand, but Amphawa stands out as the more genuine one out there, so much so that even Thais come out and spend time here during the weekends.

The market experience and atmosphere is in Samut Songkram Province (also referred to as the garden province for obvious reasons), about an hour or so south from Bangkok. This is Thailand’s smallest province (approximately 416 square kilometers), but is home to one of the country’s largest salt farms.

Before we take you to the market on water, check out the market on railway tracks. Yes, you heard us right, vendors sell their goods on actual train tracks! And what do they do if an incoming locomotive is approaching? Yes, they pick up their stuff and dismantle their tents, move out of the way and let the train pass on through. Then they set everything back up and its business as usual. This is certainly not for the slow-minded. Bring your camera as it is sure to be a lively, colorful and unique scene.

Reach Amphawa later this afternoon. Enjoy the area’s tranquility with a gentle and soothing bike ride. Yes, breathe it all in. Enjoy a nice seafood dinner tonight, as well as a pretty cool experience. What is it? A nighttime boat ride which magically illuminates as a result of the flickering lights from fireflies.

The laid back ambiance continues in the morning. Wake up and participate with the locals as you make donations to passing monks on their alms walk. Afterwards, prepare yourself for the floating market. Although popular with tourists, this market is very tranquil in the early morning and is the best time for you to fully absorb the authentic feel of the place. Lots of cool and interesting stuff are on sale here, including food. Shop but please don’t drop. You’ll get too wet!

After lunch in Amphawa, return to Bangkok stopping enroute at Rama II Park and visiting the museum’s collection of Thai instruments and other traditional objects.

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