Are you going to the Wrong Destination?

When I told my friends that my next biking trip was to Bangkok, I was asked the above question with bewilderment each time. It probably did not occur to many people you can actually do other activities in Bangkok besides eating, shopping, having massages and fulfilling religious needs.  

No, we did not go to the wrong destination. To be specific, we did not cycle in Bangkok city centre but in nearby provinces just an hour car ride away from Bangkok. You can cycle in some suburbs of Bangkok city, within 4 hours but the daunting traffic condition made us think thrice. Furthermore, we wanted to explore and experience the real local Thai life, away from the usual tourist spots.

The district of Amphawa, in the Samut Songkhram province is where we began our day of adventure. The route that we chosen allow us to experience the life of a local thai by cycling and sightseeing along a rural canal via many coconut plantations, fruit orchards, typical thai houses and small backstreet lanes.  


Our first stop in Amphawa was to visit the original floating market in Thailand, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Time seem to have stood still here since 1960s. Everyday between 8 am to 11 am,  the canal is crowded with vendors and purchasers floating around in their small rowing boats selling, buying or exchanging their goods. They are selling food, fruit and vegetables which they mostly brought from their own orchards. Many locals now choose to use the long-tailed boats powered by engine instead of the traditional usage of manpower to steer the boat. You can opt to take a ride along the canal in one of these long-tailed boats, or simply just walk along the floating villages lined on both sides of the canals connected by bridges. The floating market is like Venice of the East.


After we bought some fruits from the floating market, we hopped onto our bicycles, eager and ready to explore the plantations, orchards and villages in the area.  

The villagers are so friendly and our Bike Host seems to know everybody. We learned that coconut is one of the most profitable commodity to the villagers because every part of the fruit is useful and can be sold for money. Many villagers are committed to this source of business to maintain a comfortable livelihood for themselves despite the hard work.  


Our Biking Host made frequent stops to show us the different fruits grown as we rode past the orchards. 

We made some pit stops along the way and was always delighted our Support Master is all prepared with drinks and local snacks and fruits for us to refuel our bodies.  

As usual, when we knew a sumptuous lunch is waiting for us, we rode incredibly fast and like a pro. Haa ! We completed our rural ride at a canal-side restaurant. All of us fell in love with this quaint garden restaurant the minute we set foot on the property. We had a wonderful Thai lunch painstakingly organized by our Bike Host and thoroughly enjoyed by all.  

There was a long tailed boat was waiting for us by the canal within the restaurant premises as we savoured the last bit of the delicious meal. We hopped onto the boat right away and began the cruise. There is no need to fear seasickness as the canal waters are calm and the boat cruised at a constant speed. We saw many canal-side houses, some in traditional Thai style, some are simply assembled and some are totally rebuilt with a modern twist of design. If  you live along the canal, the floating market will come to you instead of you visiting them. Kids also find their entertainment around the canal by jumping in and swimming around freely. That's the beauty of the canal. 

We made a stop along the canal to visit a coconut sugar homemade factory. The coconut sap is placed into large woks and over moderate heat to evaporate the water content. As the water evaporates, it starts to transform into a thick syrup-like substance. Then, it is further reduced to soft paste block form. These coconut sugar will be used for cooking as well as sweetener for desserts. The fragrance of the coconut syrup reminded us of all the delicious thai desserts. Yum!

Just before we return back to Bangkok city, we dropped by the Maeklong Railway Market to have a look. We are not expecting to see any trains and was simply delighted when we managed to catch the last train of the day. We missed the magic moment by a little where the track side stall holders miraculously retract their stalls in seconds as the train approaches.  

No worries, we will be back. 
Posted on 18 Nov 2016 by Sheryl 0 422
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