Travel Postcard: 48 hours in little-known Amphawa, Thailand

Fri Apr 5, 2013 5:04am EDT
 
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By Amy Sawitta Lefevre

AMPHAWA (Reuters) - Little known to foreigners visiting Thailand, the riverside town of Amphawa, just an hour outside of Bangkok, has long been a secret among city-dwelling Thais looking to get away from it all.

Home to a quaint floating market quite unlike those advertised in glossy tourist brochures, its canals and river showcase a striking collection of wooden shop houses set against a backdrop of lush green vegetation. It holds a UNESCO World Heritage Award for its main canal.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a stay in Amphawa, a frozen-in-time gem.

FRIDAY

5 p.m. - Leave the grime and smoke of Bangkok behind and rent a private car, take a taxi or hop on one of the many air-conditioned mini vans that take you to Amphawa in Samut Songkhram province, about 80 kilometers (49 miles) southwest of Bangkok. Mini vans leave from Victory Monument every half an hour and cost 200 baht ($6.77) for a one-way journey.

6:30 p.m. - Check into Yao In Chan Hotel, a ten minute drive from Amphawa's floating market. Nestled among greenery and situated next to the Mae Klong river, the resort offers modern rooms with traditional Thai elements. (Yao In Chan Hotel, 95 Moo 7, Banprok, Amphawa, Thailand. Tel: +66 (0)854406886).

8 p.m. - Hop on a tuk-tuk, an open-air three wheeled taxi, and head to Amphawa's floating market, to grab a cold beer and sit by the canal. Once you've worked up an appetite head to Chanchala restaurant, where you are obliged to order drinks from the restaurant but can wander out and pick your dinner from one of the many boat vendors parked along the canal. Try salted "pla nim" or white tilapia, squid, prawns or grilled crab. A must-try is the gooey "hoy tod", a type of Thai mussel omelette, served with crunchy bean sprouts.

9:30 p.m. - Head back to your hotel for a well-deserved rest or dip in the swimming pool before an early night.   Continued...

 
A vendor offers food from her small boat to people visiting the Amphawa floating market at Samut Songkhram province March 16, 2013. Little known to foreigners visiting Thailand, the riverside town of Amphawa, just an hour outside of Bangkok, has long been a secret among city-dwelling Thais looking to get away from it all. Home to a quaint floating market quite unlike those advertised in glossy tourist brochures, its canals and river showcase a striking collection of wooden shop houses set against a backdrop of lush green vegetation. It holds a UNESCO World Heritage Award for its main canal. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj