Back on the Right Track (Part 1) – Bangkok, Thailand Trip #8a

March 3, 2010 at 9:53 am | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Itchyfingers didn’t do our research properly on how to get to the Maeklong market as our trip to Bangkok was a last minute decision for a short break from crazy work schedules. As a result, we couldn’t make it to the Maeklong market in time the first time round. So, back at the hotel, we flipped through our guidebook and combed the internet again and realised that to make our way there and back to Bangkok in a day, we would have to set off much earlier. This time, Itchyfingers were ready to make our second attempt.

The distance from Bangkok to Samut Sakhon via the Mahachai Rail Line is 28km. The one-hour train journey begins at Thonburi’s Wong Wian Yai station roughly every hour starting at 5.30am. To do the trip entirely by train, we would need to leave Thonburi before 8.30am and catch the 10.10am train from Ban Laem to Samut Songkhram (Maeklong). Returning, the last two departures are 11.30am and 3.30pm from Samut Songkhram to Ban Laem, which has hourly departures to Thonhuri until 7pm.

We reached Wong Wian Yai station around 8.20am, in time to catch the 8.35am train to Mahachai.


The driver’s seat


Observing a soya bean seller from the train…You can choose to add extra
ingredients like corn, peanuts and sugar into the drink

An hour later, we reached Mahachai…


It was a weekday but the market next to the station was as busy…

Made our way to the ferry terminal to take the long boat to Ban Laem…


Fishing boat in water hyacinth-infested river…There were lotsa terns
flying around too…

We followed the same way to the Ban Laem station…still think it was very secluded…


Yeah! The train!

There were two Angmohs with a local guide waiting for the train, so we were positive the next train should be reaching soon…


We bought the 10.10 am ticket


Another one hour journey to Maeklong


Ban Laem Station


Just facing the train station sign was this path…


...that led to this. It didn’t ring a bell at that time…


While waiting, we had time to shoot the train…


Hmmm…they actually painted on the train body


We also had time to rest our itchy feet..

Soon we realised this was not the train to Mahachai when another one arrived…So, this one was just for show? We board the train, so did the two Angmohs and their guide.


At last we had the chance to choose a seat not near to the toilet…

Then I saw something interesting…


A man was pulling this rubber hose thing from this kiosk…could this be…


Yes! He was pumping diesel into the train…All ready to go!


Similar to the stretch from Bangkok to Mahachai which has a rural setting,
this stretch from Ban Laem to Maeklong also brings you to mangroves,
wetlands and salt fields


Wetlands…


Besides being more scenic, it is especially exciting for us cos there were
a lot of birds along the way!


Commorants, Egrets, Herons, Terns and Black-winged Stilts were common
along this stretch of wetlands. Wished we had the chance to stop and do
some birdwatching and photography!


Look out for windmill too! These windmills, made with bamboo frame and
canvas vanes, were used to draw ocean water into the drying pans with
wind power


Salt fields…Saltwater is pumped into shallow, large ponds in the fields
and then left to drain..A middle-aged Thai uncle tried to tell us that these were
salt fields with his body language…:p Too bad can’t get more information from
him due to language barrier…


People working on the salt field


For an interesting account of salt fields, see this site for a similar one in
Cambodia


These should be the living quarters or warehouses for the collected salt


Often, the train stops along the way were typically made of wood like this
one…some had the name of the train stop and the train schedule on them…


Others came with just the name of the stop


Yet there were some that had no name, no schedule and were strewn with
thrash…The train didn’t seem to stop at all of them, and most of the time
it only stopped a mere few seconds…


A typical train stop sign with the current, previous and next stop indicated
clearly. Itchyfingers cracked a private toilet joke out of this particular sign…
if you could understand Hokkien, you might be able to catch the joke…
8)

We were wondering when were we gonna reach Maeklong when suddenly our sight was blocked by canvases…Where did these canvases come from? Then I realised we must have just entered the Maeklong market and took out my camera to shoot some video. Unfortunately the train was too fast and we were too near the canvases for me to shoot anything decent. 😦 Yes, we had just reached Maeklong!

So, what’s so special about this Maeklong market that made Itchyfingers travel all the way twice to visit? We shall continue in our next post… 🙂

Also see related posts:
> Exploring by Train (Part 3) – Bangkok Trip #7a
Exploring by Train (Part 2) – Bangkok Trip #6a
Exploring by Train (Part 1) – Bangkok Trip #5a
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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