That is something I often suggest on travel forums. Spending the weekend in one of the homestays or guesthouses on the Amphawa floating market canal, it is the ideal formula to discover the Thai markets regardless if they are floating or installed on the rail track. And near Amphawa floating market there is a very surprising temple.
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday is held the Amphawa Floating Market (or Amphawa Talat Naam in Thai) . The market really comes alive in the late afternoon but the shops in traditional wooden houses are open all day long. On one end of the canal, there are boats cooking for you all kinds of grilled or fried dishes and offering them for very cheap prices. In the shops along the banks you can find many things : clothes, souvenirs, handicrafts, jewelry…
I advise you to stay directly on the floating market canal. There are many homestays offerings rooms that look a bit like guesthouses. Personally, I have tested and approvedBaan Rak (which literally means “house of love”). They have rooms with very comfortable beds basic bathroom with hot water. What’s nice there is that you can sit out on the terrace by the water for a drink or to eat. And etween 6am and 7am, you will see the monks on their morning offerings boat tour.
Once installed, besides visiting the market, eat and go shopping, you have many possible visits we recommend you to do:
- Visit the Damnoen Saduak floating market, the most famous and most visited in Thailand. We advise you to go there around 8 am before the rush. You can pay 30 minutes boat tours for 300-400 THB per boat, but there are also longer formulas. Visiting the main canal by feet is also nice.
The easiest way to get there from Amphawa, is to take a tuk-tuk or a taxi (they will probably not put the counter but mai pen rai), it will cost you around 150 THB. Otherwise, there are songthaews going there.
- Visit Tha Kha Floating Market which is more traditional but smaller. Here we are in a much less touristy market that I personally prefer. There is a songtahew that can get there from Amphawa but you have to catch it on the main road outside Amphawa so it is easier to take a tuk-tuk (150 THB from Damnoen Saduak or Amphawa).
- Visit the Mae Klong railway market that folds irs stalls every time a train comes. A unique and amazing thing to watch. There are 8 trains per day. Songthaew number 333 connects Amphawa floating market aand Mae Klong market (8 THB).
(Note that the rail track is in renovation so there are no train until november 2015)
- Take the tour boat to see the fireflies at night from Amphawa floating market. You will see the famous fiireflies illuminating the trees. (60 THB per person – about one hour)
- Take the5 temples boat tour that leaves from Amphawa market. If the first four temples are not that interesting, it allows you to navigate on Mae Klong River and especially to discover the last temple of the boat ride, Wat Bang Kung, trapped in the roots of a banyan tree. (the ride costs THB 50 per person and lasts more than 1:30)
There are other tours boats and other temples to see but if you already do all that, your two days will already be nice ! Good weekend in Amphawa !