Thailand Travel Guide: Bangkok & Amphawa (Part One)

Travelling is my greatest passion in life and travel for me is not just for fun, but also an opportunity to experience and understand other cultures. Therefore, the travel addict in me couldn’t say no when I received a media invitation from Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for a 4-day educational trip from 2nd to 5th December 2016 to Bangkok and Amphawa.

 

Thailand is a much loved and well-known holiday destination and is mostly renowned for its vibrant streets scenes and ancient temples. Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand is one of the top holiday destination choice for Singaporeans and of course, is a shopping hub. The cheap and affordable shopping experiences in Bangkok is bound to delight many shopaholics. Amphawa, on the other hand, offers a very different experience than your usual shopping in Bangkok and there are many attractions to visit, like the Maeklong Railway Market, Wat Bang Kung and many more… On this post of my Thailand Travel Guide to Bangkok & Amphawa (Part One), I will share about the comprehensive list of things to do in Amphawa that includes all the major sights.

 

HOW TO GET THERE

The national airline of Thailand, Thai Airways

 

The flight time from Singapore to Bangkok, capital city of Thailand is approximately 2 hours 15 minutes. Most of the flights by major airlines departing from Singapore Changi Airport will arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport or Don Muang Airport. This is my first time flying with the national airline of Thailand, Thai Airways to the Land of Smiles.

 

Thair Airways Boeing 777-200ER

 

In comparison with Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, the aircraft seats of Thai Airways Boeing 777-200ER are much newer, spacious and more comfortable. Well, that’s just my personal opinion. The Thai Airways Boeing 777-200ER aircraft offers two classes of service: Royal Silk Business and Economy. The close flight proximity between Singapore and Bangkok is one of the main reasons that why Singaporeans like to book a trip to this Land of Smiles. Furthermore, when you fly on budget airlines, the return ticket can cost less than SGD$200. The cheap plane ticket is a great bargain to fly to Bangkok so don’t miss out!

 

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Photo Courtesy of Jaclynn, The Occasional Traveller

 

From left to right: Jaclynn (Travel blogger, The Occasional Traveller), RuiMing (Journalists, Shin Min Daily News), Me (Travel blogger, Irene-Travelogue.com), Jeslyn (Editor, Tripzilla), Nicolas (Marketing officer, TAT) and Jiayu (Travel blogger, flyhoneystars.com)

 

That’s us, a group of social media influencers, making our way to clear through the custom formalities in the Kingdom of Thailand. We are all very thrilled with this media FAM trip and the itinerary that has been planned out for us.

 

WHAT TO EAT IN AMPHAWA

Thailand is not only known as a shopping paradise; the country is also widely known as a food haven. Your checked luggage will burst from your shopping spree haul in this shopping paradise and as well as your waistline! Thai cuisine is just Aroy Mak Mak (literally means “Very Very Delicious in Thai) and it is so hard to resist the food temptation. Here are my recommendations for the best affordable Thai Restaurants that you should not give it a miss:

 

  • Nui Seafood (Mahachai)

 

Address: Mahachai, Samut Sakhon, Thailand 74000.

Phone: +66 34 421 166

 

Our first meal in Amphawa is lunch at Nui Seafood Restaurant (Mahachai) to sample the seafood gourmet delights. The restaurant is located in Mahachai, a small town located in the Samut Sakhon province of Thailand, about an hour drive from central Bangkok. Mahachai has one of the largest fresh seafood markets in Thailand and seafood here is really cheap and the food is delicious. My favorite dish of all is the Barramundi Fried Fish. The fish is deep-fried until gold and crisp, and is served with green mango and chili fish sauce. The price for each dish is very reasonably priced and range from THB250 to THB400.

 

  • Chao Samran Restaurant

 

Another restaurant that is worth a visit is Chao Samran Restaurant. Our dinner at this Chao Samran restaurant has live band performance playing acoustic music to the chilled-out crowd. The restaurant has a great laidback and relaxed vibe that appeals to the diners. The tranquil sea view at night in Chao Samran will relax you and enjoy the live band performance while having dinner.

 

 

You have not really tried Thai food unless you’ve tried it in Thailand. Do you ever miss eating Thai food so much that you will make an impulsive flight purchase to Thailand? There are plenty of reasons to visit Thailand and one good reason is food. Thai food is simply aroy mak mak, there is more variety and it’ very inexpensive!

 

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From left to right: Khanittha (Assistant Director, TAT), Jaclynn (Travel Blogger, The Occasional Traveller), Jackie (Digital Platform Lead, AsiaOne), RuiMing (Journalist, Shin Min Daily News), Jiayu (Travel Blogger, flyhoneystars.com), Me (Travel Blogger, Irene-Travelogue.com), Nicholas (Marketing Officer, TAT) and Jeslyn (Editor, Tripzilla)

 

I have traveled out of Singapore umpteen times but I thought it will be a good exposure for me to go on this first media FAM trip. It is a great learning experience to interact with the other social media influencers and on this trip, there is a mix of travel bloggers, traditional print journalist, editors and also avid photographers.

 

Fried Quail Eggs

 

Street food is a quintessential part of your experience in Thailand and there are so many must try street food options when you are here! I have to admit I been eating a lot of local street food during the trip and my absolute favorite is the fried quail eggs. These quail eggs are fried and then seasoned in black pepper and soya sauce. Very simple but taste great!

 

 

One of Singaporean’s favorite Thai street food is coconut ice cream. I prefer my coconut ice cream to top with a sprinkle of crunchy peanuts and serve in half coconut husk. The scorching hot weather calls for a good coconut ice cream and definitely a top pick to cool you down.

 

Keeping your waistline under control can be a real challenge when you’re in Thailand! The food temptation is everywhere and you just feel like tasting all the street food.

 

WHAT TO DO IN AMPHAWA

  • Maeklong Railway Market

 

The famous Maeklong Railway Market is also known locally as the Umbrella Market. Many markets in Thailand look the same but there is one that definitely stands out is the Maeklong Railway Market. What’s so special about this market is that the railway track is actually the walkway of the market and is sheltered by low-hanging umbrellas. Only in Thailand!

 

 

The Maeklong Railway Market is a traditional Thai market with vendors selling tropical fruits and vegetables, freshly caught seafood and other local foods. Maeklong Railway Market is located in the Samut Songkhram region and it will take about 90 minutes drive from the heart of Bangkok.

 

 

Video Courtesy of Jackie, Digital Platform Lead, AsiaOne

Watch: A piercing siren will sound and in a flash the market transforms with the stallholders whip away their produce and pull down their umbrella to make way for the train to pass.

 

The railway is famous for its route through the Maeklong Railway Market, also known as Talat Rom Hup, meaning “Umbrella Pulldown Market”. The railway is one of the slowest in Thailand and as the loud siren sound to signal, the vendors will whip away their produce and pull down their umbrella to make way for the train to pass through the market. The train passes with inches to spare and tourists should be careful and make sure you get a safe place to stand when taking pictures. You won’t want to get hit by the train!

 

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The rustic charm of Maeklong Railway Market makes for a great photo opportunity for a mandatory tourist shot. Only seen in Thailand and it is a unique sight to behold! The vegetables and fruits on the ground are only a few centimeters from the undercarriage engine and I was apprehensive that these perishable foods might be crushed by the passing train. The low-lying perishable food on the ground is miraculously not crushed by the passing train. Maeklong Railway Market is a uniquely Thai experience that should not be missed.

 

  • Wat Bang Kung

 

There are a lot of Buddhist temple in Thailand and Wat Bang Kung is one of the most unique and interesting one. Wat Bang Kung is one interesting temple built within Banyan tree and is supported by the roots of the tree.

 

 

Wat Bang Kung was built in the Ayudhaya period and has been honored as one of the Unseen Thailand. Inside the temple, there is a large statue of a sitting Buddha statue in the center, covered in sparkling hold leaves. Worshippers can buy the squares of gold leaf, come into the temple and paste the gold leaf onto the Buddha for good blessings.

 

  • Nativity of Our Lady Cathedral

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Photo Courtesy of Jaclynn, The Occasional Traveller

 

We also visited the Nativity of Our Lady Cathedral, built in 1890 in French Gothic style, the Cathedral is one of Thailand’s oldest and more beautiful churches. This beautiful gothic style cathedral is located by the river and is part of the Ratchaburi diocese. The Nativity of Our Lady Cathedral is a popular stopover for tourists visiting Amphawa Floating Market and it is also just a short distance from other main attractions.

 

  • Tha Kha Floating Market

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The Tha Kha Floating Market is a small and very authentic floating market in Samut Songkhram province. Of Thailand’s many floating markets, Tha Kha Floating Market is perhaps the most local and authentic of them all and is a great place for those hoping to experience a real Thai floating market in all its colorful glory. Tha KIa Floating Market is in close proximity to its famous neighbour, Damnoen Saduak. Tha Kha Floating has a more natural surrounding and is less commercialized than Damnoen Saduak. I have visited Damnoen Sauak Floating Market before with my two best friends in our graduation trip together to Phuket and Bangkok. You can view the blog post from here. Many lovely memories and hilarious moments of our graduation trip that I still remember and recall clearly that how one was hugging the toilet bowl and the other one was mumbling non stop as we all had that awful tasting peach flavored vodka. The heart-to-heart-talk about the future and our own ambitions.. Time may fly and how our priorities in life can change over time, I still hold you two girls closely and as my best friend forever.

 

  • Amphawa-Chaipattana Nurak Conservation Project

 

Amphawa Chaipattana Nurak is located in Amphawa District, near Amphawa Floating Market. The Conservation Project is a royal project under the initiative of H.R.H Princess Mahachakri Sirindhorn. The Princess has assigned Chaipattana Foundation to make use of the land to benefit the Amphawa Community and the land utilization is aimed to carry on Thai folk wisdom, and preserve ways of life of Amphawa people.

 

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The lady in long black dress is the local volunteer working at Chaipattana Foundation and she share with us about the Amphawa-Chaipattananurak Conservation Project. I thought her looks bear some resemblance to this actress Liu Yi Fei.

 

 

This is Madam Buppa Aunjinda and she is the last generation and perhaps the last artist of Hinan Chinese hat making from Bamboo trees. Her dedication in keeping the art of Hinan Chinese hat making is surely admirable and respectable.

 

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The Thai lady showing us how to fold pandan leaves into a rose. Twisting and folding the pandan leaves into flower shape will release the fragrant smell of the pandan.

 

 

It is my first try in making this rose from pandan leaves and how do you think I fare?

 

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The local volunteer is introducing to us the various products in the souvenir shop and with her recommendations, I buy a few haircare products. I am very particular about shampoos/ conditioner as I do not want to end up with using the type of haircare product that will lead to hair loss. The shampoo and conditior that I use must give a nice and subtle fragrance to make my hair smell good all day. I have been to Thailand many times and if you want to have an authentic Thai experience, visit Amphawa! For most tourists, a trip to Amphawa is a welcome break from the commercialized queer scenes of the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok.

 

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I like this stunningly beautiful photography of us with the old, quaint traditional Thai house as backdrop. And I want to say the local volunteer in black dress who looks like the Chinese artist ‘Liu Yi Fei’ can speak English pretty fluently.

 

The Amphawa-Chaipattananurak Conservation Project is one of many royal projects initiated by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to serve as the reminiscence of the past. The Amphawa-Chaipattananurak Project today has become a center of collaboration to conserve and develop Thai traditions on which the Amphawa residents have had pride themselves. Spending these two days at Amphawa let me feel like I have being transported to bygone era and Amphawa is an hidden gem worth visiting with unique experience. Please stay tuned for the Part Two post of my Thailand Travel Guide To Bangkok and Amphawa.

 

 

Don’t forget to add me on Instagram @Invinciblerene to get daily updates to my life as a globe trotter.


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