Busy day outside of Bangkok visiting the Railway market of Maeklong and the floating market at Amphawa situated about 80km east of Bangkok on the road to Kanchanaburi.
Maeklong Railway market
The Maeklong Railway Market has been around since 1905. It is found in the province of Samut Songkhram, located on the Gulf of Thailand. Fishing was (and still is) one of the main livelihoods of the people who lived here, and the market was another way in which to sell their goods. Officials decided to build a railway in order to better deliver these goods to provinces around Thailand, including the capital. The market remained, however, despite the new tracks that cut through it. Also known as the ‘umbrella pull down market’ which will make sense when you see the video…
The stalls and produce literally lie over the rail tracks and are shaded by homemade flexible awnings. When a train arrives they, very coolly, slide most produce back on small rails and pull down the ‘umbrella’ awnings although some trays of goods are left right under the train…..
Amphawa floating market
There are many floating markets in and around Bangkok, this one is close to the Maeklong railway. Amphawa is certainly not the biggest nor is it wholly a floating market as much of the goods are sold from stalls on the rivers edge with a few boats selling goods and cooking food from the river itself. Nevertheless it is a charming, enjoyable spot and offers boat rides through the market and around a circuitous route past riverside mansions, restaurants and temples. Well worth the trip.
On the way back into Bangkok I took a slight detour to visit a significant temple in Nakhon Pathom a city on the edge of Bangkok. The Phra Pathom Chedi or Stupa (mound like hemispherical structure often containing relics and used as a place of meditation) is a huge magnificent edifice surrounded by a walled courtyard / pathway which seemed perfectly circular; very impressive. The Chedi is recognised as the Worlds tallest standing at 127m from its base to the tip of its orange roof; it is significant as it is marks the site where Buddhism was first introduced to Thailand more than two thousand years ago. It was originally built in the 3rd century BC but restored to current condition in the mid 1850’s. Inside is a large golden reclining Buddha. There are several Buddha poses – reclining, sitting, standing etc. The position relates to the day of the week and if you were born on say a Tuesday then your Buddha is a reclining one. Strangely although there is one Buddha pose for most days of the week, Wednesday has a different one for the am and pm…