Samut Songkhram is located only 90 minutes south-west of Bangkok. It is part of outer Bangkok’s suburban sprawl which lies along the Gulf of Thailand.
The word Samut in Thai refers to the area where a river meets the sea. That’s exactly what you will find here. Samut Songkhram is where the Mae Klong River spills out into the sea after flowing down from Kanchanaburi.
Samut Songkhram is close enough to Bangkok that it makes for a perfect day trip from the city. However, it is just far enough that it keeps an authentic small village vibe.
How to get to Samut Songkhram
The easiest way to get to Samut Songkhram is by minivan directly to either the Amphawa Floating market or the Maeklong Railway market.
You will find vans departing regularly from the minivan station in Mo Chit and Sai Tai Mai (Southern Bus Terminal).
Mo Chit bus terminal is a short distance from the Mo Chit BTS station, so is a bit easier to get to. A one-way trip to Samut Songkhram costs about 100 THB (approximately RM12.00) per person, from either bus terminal.
Maeklong Railway Market
The first stop you should make in Samut Songkhram is the Maeklong Railway Market. As the name suggests, this market operates directly on top of the railway lines.
The market is hot, cramped, and busy. Best to visit earlier in the morning if possible, otherwise, be prepared for a rather uncomfortable sauna experience.
The incredible thing about the market is that trains still run directly through it. As the train arrives, a loud horn sounds in the distance.
The market literally folds up in a matter of seconds as everyone moves out of the way. Right after the train passes the market unfolds and goes back to business as usual.
Amphawa floating market
After exploring the railway market and dodging the train, make a short trip over to the Amphawa floating market. It is located just a few kilometres down the road from the railway market.
The Amphawa floating market is one of the largest, and busiest floating markets in Thailand. You’ll see for yourself when you arrive here around lunchtime on a Saturday – there will be thousands of people about.
The canals are alive with small wooden boats zipping about operating as small floating restaurants and water taxis. The most popular boat vendors are those with seafood barbecues.
The locals tend to crowd around small barbecue seafood stalls along the canals. Here you will find fish, crab, scallops and tube clams (the local specialty).
If you are a fan of seafood, this is the place to stop for lunch. Which stall is the best? The busiest one of course!
Wat Bang Kun (Temple in the tree)
Wat Bang Kun is a Buddhist temple stuck inside a Banyan Tree. This unique temple is located along the Mae Klong River, near to the Amphawa floating market. Most people visit Wat Bang Kun on a boat tour of the market.
Lots of travellers unfortunately fall for the “private boat” trick at the market. A private boat costs upwards of 1000 THB for one-hour. A shared boat is just 50 THB per person. You get the same trip, but much cheaper.
Along the way to Wat Bang Kun, you will also get a unique look into the village life along the canals.
You will see lots of stilt houses built along the water. You will also pass a few small guesthouses on the canals that you would otherwise never even know about.
If you see one you like, be sure to come back!
Returning to Bangkok
If you visit all three of these destinations in Samut Songkhram, you will be able to start the journey back to Bangkok around 5pm.
The trip to Bangkok in the afternoon can take anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours or more. Traffic tends to be very bad on a Sunday afternoon, so don’t plan on flying out of Bangkok the same night.
Staying in town a few more days? You will be surprised at how much there is to discover around towns such as great waterfalls, national parks, and jungle treks.
For more insight into these destinations, visit:
This article first appeared in thelostpassport.com
Josh Shephard is an intrepid traveler, blogger and photographer on The Lost Passport. He has spent five years living in Bangkok, the biggest, craziest city in Thailand, and has traveled from Mongolia to Indonesia and everywhere else in between, to find the most unique and exciting destinations Asia has to offer.