Exploring by Train (Part 1) – Bangkok, Thailand Trip #5a

February 18, 2010 at 10:00 am | Posted in itchy backside | 4 Comments
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Itchyfingers saw on the travel programme an interesting market in Bangkok called Maeklong that we have not visited or even heard of. It sounded fun and different from what most of our friends would have done in Bangkok (shopping lor! ;p) so we were eager to pay it a visit. But a search on the net didn’t provide very much details on how to get to the place, even if there were any, the sites were dated a few years back that we were not sure if the information is still up-to-date – the place we were keen to go needed us to take the train, so the train schedule was quite crucial.

Saw a friend’s pictures on Facebook and realised that she also visited the market just two weeks before our trip. Excitedly, I emailed her for details on how to get there but was a bit disappointed to know that she engaged the service of a local guide and they actually drove there. Itchyfingers always prefer the DIY way, so usually we won’t join any tours cos most of them are always so rush, unless there are no public transport to the destination or if doing it at our own pace would cost much more (like in the case of Cu Chi Tunnel at Vietnam). The price she paid for was 900 Baht per person (around S$38) provided if you have four person sharing the car, and they would also visit the floating market, a local house making homemade coconut sugar and a handicraft centre (Did I hear handicraft centre? See here for Itchyfingers‘ experience at Vietnam’s handicraft village). Being cheapo Itchyfingers, we thought 900 Baht for a half day tour (pick up from hotel at 7am and back at hotel at 12.30pm) was a bit damaging to our pockets :p and of cos we didn’t have another two persons to share the guide with us. So, back to more research online and hitting the library for more guidebooks…

Initially Tisu Boy was not so keen in visiting the place especially when we didn’t have time to do more research and couldn’t be sure if the information we found was still valid. But I was quite persistent and insisted that we should just try. Hence the plan was to just go to the train station and check out the updated timing before setting another day for a full trip.

So, following the direction on my scribbled notes, Itchyfingers took the BTS to Wong Wian Yai station. From there, we had to look for “a big roundabout and turn to the Taksin Bridge crossing the Chao Phraya River.” That alone was quite challenging (at least for me!) cos traffic in Bangkok can be crazy…Well, obviously I wasn’t the only person to find it confusing, cos we discovered later while looking for the big roundabout, that we were kinda ‘tailed’ by another guy who was also checking out the location map at the station! Hmmm…maybe he should have asked if he could walk with us instead of following secretly and then pretending to look away when we discovered him? :p

We ended up walking faster trying to shake him off, only stopping occassionally to take photos of landmarks to help us find our way the next round…haha….naughty Itchyfingers… 8)


From Wong Wian Yai BTS station, cross the overhead bridge to the opposite
side of the road, walk straight and cross the traffic junction. Then just walk
straight, passing a few streets before your nose brings you here. The smell
from the river was quite overwhelming, and this was actually the backyard
of the houses…


You should be on the right track when you see this…I think the station is
nearer to the number 8 sign, which we forgotten to photograph… :p

Not sure if eventually did we manage to find the correct roundabout, but we did see an obscure sign saying train station so we just turned into the street on the left…and we were quite surprised at what we saw…


We found the train station!


And that’s the train! How strange to find the station almost hidden in a
maze of a market on Somdet Phra Chao Taksin Road!


Doggy had no problem taking a nap here…

We went to check out the timetable for the train and were surprised to find that the train would be leaving in less than 10 minutes’ time. So we made the impromptu decision to just buy the ticket and hop onto the train!


The cost of the one hour journey from Wong Wian Yai station to Mahachai
station was only 10bahts (S$0.40)! We were given a timetable but it was
all in Thai… 😮

To go to that market on the travel programme, we would have to go from Samut Sakhon (also known as Mahachai). We were surprised that the train actually left on time! :p


Stalls at the station…


The train was quite packed…went through so many cars…no seats…in the
end we gotta share seats with a group of local teenagers. Obviously at
10 Bahts, you couldn’t expect to have air-conditioning. Luckily when the
train moved, it was more breezy

Our seats were near the toilet, luckily there was no smell…


Sign on the aluminum toilet door. Does anyone know the meaning of the
Thai words? Itchyfingers just interpreted it as: “must clap hands before
you go into the loo”… hahaha!!!


Tisu Boy went in to ‘kaypo’…but he din clap before or after he went in…
8)


No smoking…but the group of teenagers went out to smoke…


So dangerous to stand here when the train was moving just to smoke…


Wow this should be an old train?


Houses were quite close to the railway track…this was one of those further ones…


This house must be a chinese family…


This house had a beautiful pond of lotus


Some houses were in quite bad shapes…others had lotsa rubbish in front
and I wondered why didn’t the resident bother to clean up their front or
backyard…or maybe they did, but because they were so near to the railway
track, rubbish would always be thrown by train passengers?

While we kept ourselves busy taking photos of the scenery outside, the teenagers were having fun with a piece of towel…


They were having fun wearing and passing around this towel cap…I had the
urge to ask them to show me how to fold the towel cap and then wear it to
pose for photo…but eventually didn’t cos earlier on the towel was used by
one of them to wipe away sweat…er, not very hygienic leh…hahah…

One hour passed rather quickly and soon our train stopped at Mahachai and everybody alight. Strange it stopped at a market where one side was selling clothes, dried food and stuff while the other side was selling fresh meat…


The wet market from my train seat. It was an interesting sight but as the
weather was very hot and the stench from the meat was not very pleasant
in the humid condition, we decided not to walk in to see


O$P$!!! In Singapore, if you were to owe money from illegal moneylenders
(called the “loansharks”) and fail to return on time, they would use all
sorts of unscrupulous methods to make you pay up. One of the ‘ingenious”
scare method was to hang or put pig’s head in front of your door. The other
more economical and commonly used method is to shame you in front of
neighbours by vandalising walls and doors with “O$P$” (short form for
‘owe money pay money”) together with your name and telephone number


The other side of the rail…This seemed to be such a busy town!


We wanted to recce the location of the ferry terminal. My notes said,
“track run out at edge of Ta Chin River. Exit the station, turn right (same
direction train is pointing) and walk a short distance to the ferry landing.”
Sounds simple enough but when you were there with all the busy activities
around, it was so easy to get lost…!

So what happened next? Find out from our next entry! :p

Also see related posts:
> Paper Art – Bangkok, Thailand Trip #4a
Pirate in the Land of Smiles – Bangkok, Thailand Trip #3a
Children of Heaven – Bangkok, Thailand Trip #2a
Have a Break…Take a Nap – Bangkok, Thailand Trip #1a

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4 Comments »

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  1. Haha, it often gets really crazy translating from or to Thai from other languages with for example google translate.

    This sign say “thank you for using the trash can” 🙂

    • Hahah…thanks for helping with the translation…but, why do you need to have the clapping hand drawing when you thank people for using the trash can? Hahaha… :p

      • I guess they are applauding the people using it 🙂
        Most people in Thailand threw the garbage in the nature and might need an applaud 😛

      • hahah….maybe….:p


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