Today I’m setting off on a three day road trip to Samut Songkhram and Ratchaburi provinces. The trip is to promote a new guidebook called “Safety and Hygienic Road Trip”. I love doing my own road trips and so I’m interested to learn more about the routes they are proposing. I will post more information about each route later.
Date of Travel: 31 July – 2 August 2020
Khlong Khon in Samut Songkhram
Our first stop is at Khlong Khon in Samut Songkhram province. Here we went on a boat trip through the mangroves and out to the Gulf of Thailand.
The highlight is the crab eating macaques monkeys that swam out to our boat.
During the boat trip, we also visited a blood cockle clam farm. Local people were on converted wakeboards which they used to collect cockles and mussels. Other activities you can do include mangrove sapling planting and wakeboarding.
Krua Ya Rom in Khlong Khon, Samut Songkhram
A seafood lunch today at Krua Ya Rom in Khlong Khon, Samut Songkhram.
Aerial photos of Khlong Khon community in Samut Songkhram.
Baan Rim Klong Homestay, Samut Songkhram
This afternoon, we visited Baan Rim Klong Homestay in Samut Songkhram. We are not staying here the night, but we are taking parting in three cultural activities that visitors can do here.
At the first base, we learned how they made palm sugar.
At the second base we made a Thai dessert called Khanom Tom which is made from coconut and sticky rice starch.
At the final base, we learned how to do palm leaf weaving.
Aerial photos around Baan Rim Klong Homestay in Samut Songkhram. The river in front of the homestay flows into the Mae Klong River which itself flows into the Gulf of Thailand.
Amphawa Floating Market, Samut Songkhram
Our last stop today was at Amphawa Floating Market in Samut Songkhram. This is a popular day trip from Bangkok though I would suggest that you stay at least one night.
Most people come for the riverside market that takes place here from Friday to Sunday. There are shops open all day but the market really comes alive in the late afternoon.
In the past, Friday’s are best as not so crowded. I last came on a Sunday before COVID-19 and I vowed I wouldn’t come again. The Chinese tour groups had found it and it was impossible to move. Not so any more. Friday at 5pm is like a ghost town.
I was going to say this is the best time to come. But the downside is that not everything is fully open. The highlight are the boat food vendors, but they are few and far between. I was told there should be more on Sunday.
The other problem is the boat tours. You might have to wait until they fill the boat before they leave. And that might take a while. The alternative is to rent the whole boat. It’s 50 Baht per person for shared and 500 Baht for the whole boat which is not bad at all.
So, would I recommend you to come here now? Yes for sure. In fact I would suggest staying overnight somewhere along the canal. I definitely want to come back and do exactly that. I really did like this place back when it wasn’t really known by foreigners. Back when most tourists were Thai. Maybe I will fall in love with it again.
Na Tree Tara hotel, Bang Khonthi District, Samut Songkhram
Tonight I’m staying at Na Tree Tara hotel in Bang Khonthi District of Samut Songkhram.
Good morning from Samut Songkhram. This is my view of the sunrise on the Mae Klong River.
One of the traditions still alive in Samut Songkhram is the monks going on their alms round by boat.
The briefing for drivers as we prepare to start Day 2 of our 3-day road trip. Our next destination is Ratchaburi Province.
This is a google map list of places that we visited in Samut Songkhram during Day 1 of 3 of our road trip.
Tao Hong Tai ceramics factory, Ratchaburi
Our first stop in Ratchaburi was at Tao Hong Tai ceramics factory (เถ้าฮงไถ่). As well as exploring the grounds and watching the artisans at work, you can also have a go at painting your own pots.
The garden & factory is open to the public every day. Free entry.
Oh Poi Market, Suan Phueng District, Ratchaburi
Our lunch stop today was at Oh Poi Market (ตลาดโอ๊ะป่อย) in Suan Phueng District of Ratchaburi. This riverside market is open every weekend from 7am-2pm.
Pasutara, Suan Phueng District, Ratchaburi
Our first stop this afternoon was at Pasutara (พสุธารา) in Suan Phueng District of Ratchaburi. They are well known for their lemon trees. They also have rooms in the style of European cottages.
Wat Mahathat Worwihan, Ratchaburi
Our second stop was Wat Mahathat Worwihan in Ratchaburi. It’s Khmer style prang was built in the 13th Century. Free entry.
Good morning from Ratchaburi province to the west of Bangkok. This is Day 3 of the three-day road trip to Samut Songkhram and Ratchaburi provinces. This morning we will visit some communities in Damnoen Saduak before heading back to Bangkok after lunch.
Damnoen Saduak floating market, Ratchaburi
This morning we visited the well known Damnoen Saduak floating market in Ratchaburi. This is the one all the foreign tourists come on package tours from Bangkok. As you can imagine, the place is very quiet now. Probably 95% Thai tourists.
If it is quiet today, it must be like a ghost town on weekdays. Places like this rely heavily on foreign tourists who came every day in the past. Will they be able to survive? I’m told they are still open every day, but it won’t be as active on weekdays. So I would advise you to come at a weekend.
At the moment, there’s a promotion for both Thai and foreign tourists who take a holiday and spend money in Ratchaburi province. If you can show receipts that add up to 900 Baht, for example your hotel, then you can exchange this for a free boat ride up to one hour.
In some ways I feel sorry for the vendors as there are not many tourists. But a few of them still tried to cheat me with inflated prices. I asked about a 30 minute boat ride and I was told 400 Baht. I said no and they then changed it to 300 Baht as I walked away. When I walked back that way later, she was now saying 200 Baht. Which actually isn’t bad for a boat ride here. It’s certainly a buyers market but you need to haggle the price.
Lao Tak Lak Floating Market, Ratchaburi
Around the corner from the main Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is the original Lao Tak Lak Floating Market. This used to be very quiet compared to its well known neighbor, but in many ways it’s more popular now as it’s more authentic. For a start it doesn’t have tacky souvenirs.
If you want to learn more about the local community, there’s a museum at Lao Tak Lak Floating Market. They also have a homestay, though it hasn’t re-opened yet. I’m thinking I might come back and stay here a few nights once it reopens.
Kwan Damnoen 2 restaurant, Damnoen Saduak District, Ratchaburi
Lunch today was at Kwan Damnoen 2 restaurant in Damnoen Saduak District of Ratchaburi.
That’s a wrap on my 3-day road trip to Samut Songkhram and Ratchaburi provinces. I hope you enjoyed my photos and I’ve inspired you to visit. Click here for a google map list of places that we visited: https://www.google.com/maps/placelists/list/qBAH58N7Qh6z8rZZ_CgyGQ