For a short trip away from the busy Bangkok lifestyle you don’t need to travel far. Mostly overlooked by mass-tourism, the Samut Songkhram region just south-west of Bangkok offers tranquility and a relaxed atmosphere. It is no wonder this region is a hidden holiday retreat for Thai people. This itinerary is for a weekend off and gets you a lot of Thai culture in just 1 or 2 nights staying in the small town Amphawa and traveling around the Samut Songkhram region.
Day 1: (update: it’s no longer possible to depart by minivan to Amphawa from the Victory Monument). The minivans to Amphawa now depart from either the Mo Chit bus station or the Sai Tai Mai bus station. The minivans depart roughly every hour and start as early as 6am in the morning and will cost you less than 100 THB per person. You will share the minivan with others going in the same direction and the ride to Amphawa will take around 1,5 hours.
Once in Amphawa you can visit the floating market which has its own style compared to the floating markets in Bangkok and at certain times in the year, you will see many sun flowers in the area. It is easy to spend a few hours here and then relax some more at one of the many cafes while in the evening you can take a boat ride that leaves the floating market and into the swampy area. The boat then returns at the market when the lights of the market provide a completely different atmosphere over the river. In the evening this area is lively with many live performances of musicians that play in the restaurants next to the river.
Day 2: If you wake up really early you can see the monks walking at the floating market and locals donate alms to them in return for a prayer. Then take a 20 minutes taxi ride to travel to Don Hoi Lot and look at the sea banks where fisherman collect fish and shellfish. When the tide is low, you can walk on the sea banks and spot some interesting sea creatures such as the Horseshoe crab, and razorclams. It is also possible to go on a boat ride in this area and witness monitor lizards and some type of walking fish (forgot the name of those critters) in their habitat.
From there on you can make your way to the unique Maeklong railway market at Samut Songkhram and behold the spectacle that happens there. On multiple occasions per day, the market vendors will have to make space as there will be a train going straight through the market. People hop off the rails and stand just inches away from the passing train. You have to see it to believe it.
From the bus station close to the market you can take a minivan to travel back to Bangkok or go back to Amphawa again for another evening at the floating market.