A Local Walkthrough: Maeklong Railway & Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour with TakeMeTour in Thailand!

Spending a day with a local to learn of the culture and lifestyle is the best way to start a trip! Of the many Thailand floating market tours available from Bangkok, TakeMeTour stood out to us for its flexibility with both a private car, direct hotel pick-up, an English-speaking host and an itinerary that fit our Thailand bucketlist! Best of all, we loved how easy it was to navigate the website and filter through tours from over 44 cities worldwide.
For bookings, or to read more details on the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market from Bangkok: Railway Market, Temple in a Tree & Local Seafood Tour, click here.
With a hotel check-in at 2AM, by 7AM, we were out to meet our friendly tour guide, Thon, who picked us up directly from our hotel for a well-scheduled day ahead.
There were a few items on our itinerary for the 8-hour day ahead:
  • Visit Maeklong Railway Market (Talad Rom Hub) where vendor sell fresh produce on the rail!
  • Visit Tha Kha floating market then ride the boat along the canal. Learn how to make a coconut sugar.
  • Visit Wat Bang Kung to see the old ordination hall covered with Banyan and Bodhi tree.
  • Have a mackerel lunch at a local restaurant.
All of the day’s activities are located in Samut Songkram province. As we drive 100km from Bangkok, into the region, there are countless fields of salt farms. It’s a long drive, 2-hours from Bangkok, Thun keeps conversation with us while he shares the history of the cities in Thailand and points out major landmarks.
Scroll on for all of our discoveries of the day!
Stop 1: Maeklong Railway Market

On a timed schedule, vendors scurry to pull their awnings and shop front off the tracks, and out of the way of the bold, red passing train. It’s amazing how swiftly it’s all done, and in a matter of minutes, it’s although the tracks were never occupied.

The market doesn’t just have all of the herbs and meats you can think of, but it’s one of the largest seafood markets in Thailand. As we walk through the tracks and explore each vendor’s fresh goods, there is one fish that we saw very, very often – Mackerel!

 

  

Stop 2: Coconut Juice & Mango on Sticky Rice

This was a surprise stop to a small shop that specializes in desserts & drinks, and we love sweet surprises! In the humidity, there was nothing better than a fresh cracked coconut juice to cool down to (is that what locals think?). On top of that, we had our very first taste of Mango on Sticky Rice on Thailand.

I didn’t believe it before, but I’m now converted. Sweet rice with equally sweet mango, and coconut cream that is slightly savoury — this combination is ridiculously addictive. Throughout Bangkok, we saw numerous stalls serving the same thing, but I will believe that this very spot has the best, ever.

Stop 3: Damnoen Saduak floating market

Of all of the floating markets, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market was my immediate pick for it’s size, spanning over many canals and opportunity to browse the market on the water, or by foot! There are many stalls, or passing boats loaded with produce or fresh prepared snacks, like coconut ice cream, and even pad thai!

  

After a browse along the water, we hopped into a longtail boat, powered by a motor — like a motorbike — and whizzed through the canals. There was certainly speed, it was impressive seeing everyone else at the same level of expertise and helping one another maneuver by, while the entire time, we were literally boat-to-boat next to each other. So, keep your hands tucked in!

On the water, there were vendors ranging of all sorts: your usual souvenirs, or make it extra special with a pack of spices for tom yum soup, or a custom 10 feet painting. But there weren’t just vendors along these canals, people also live along these waters.

   

Thailand is blessed with so many coconut trees, and we saw coconuts in all forms — as house decor pieces, a refreshing drink, and even as a form of coconut sugar!

Stop 4: Coconut Sugar Farm

Another surprise stop, this is located within the floating market which is accessible by canal or walking. On arrival, you’re served a complimentary clear liquid that’s topped with ice — it’s coconut syrup in its purest form! Just like how maple syrup is extracted from maple trees in Canada, here, they extract the sweet nectar of coconut syrup from the flowers that grow on coconut trees. If you get there at the right time, you can observe the coconut syrup being boiled within a very large wok over a driftwood fire. Once the syrup is boiled down for two hours, a thick concentrated coconut paste is formed, then rolled into little dollops. The texture was like fudge when warm, and had a sweet yet salty flavour. There isn’t a lot to view in this same space, we only saw one coconut tree being extracted. In the rest of the coconut house, is endless rows of souvenirs, many of them being made of (you guessed it), coconut!

Stop 5: Wat Bang Kung

We arrive at a historic camp site of Siamese fighters & Burmese invaders from the 1700’s, and in the centre is an ordination hall that almost looks although it is engulfed by a Banyan & Bodhi tree. Although this was a more casual temple we visited as we didn’t need to cover our shoulders, it is actually one of the most distinguished temples in the Ayutthaya district for it’s history and unique appearance. Inside the temple, there is a large buddha, and multiple smaller ones, glistening in gold as it’s covered in gold squares and coins for prayers.

Stop 6: Local Food

Right off a road, we arrive at a restaurant situated atop a lake, it is here that we enjoy the local specialty dishes of Samut Songkram province. The many mackerel forms we saw earlier in the Railway market, we taste at this restaurant — mackerel in a tom yum style soup, fried fermented mackerel & fish cakes. Each dry dish is paired with a refreshing and sweet sauce to compliment it. This was a perfect connection to our very first discoveries on this trip. This meal was finished off with bites of fresh sliced pineapple, served with a sugar-chili dip.

  

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