A Comprehensive Guide to Amphawa: Everything You Need to Know
Everything you need to know about Amphawa is covered in our guide, which provides practical and useful information. Discover everything about the Amphawa floating market, things to do in the region, transportation options, our advice, and our selection of hotels. All the practical and useful information is conveniently summarized for you.
- Distance from Bangkok: 97 km
- Main river : Mae Klong
- Population: 55,000
- Province: Samut Songkhram
- Main activities: Trade and tourism
- High season: All year round
- Number of days there: weekends
- Main attraction: Floating market
- Map of the city
Amphawa, located in Samut Songkhram province, is situated 97 km away from Bangkok. The town is blessed with the presence of the Mae Klong River, which gracefully flows through its heart before merging into the Gulf of Siam. A network of scenic canals (khlong) meanders its way across the region.
These waterways have long facilitated the growth of orchards, with mango trees being a prominent feature. In fact, the name “Amphawa” is believed to have originated from the term “mango forest.”
Covering a vast area, the town is home to a population of approximately 55,000. However, during the past fifteen years, the arrival of the floating market has significantly swelled the town’s population every weekend. This popular attraction has drawn in a multitude of tourists, numbering in the thousands, until the advent of the pandemic in 2020.
Consequently, tourism has experienced a notable impact, leading to various changes in the town’s infrastructure and market standards. Nevertheless, Amphawa remains a remarkable destination worth exploring, with the market being an essential highlight for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the timeless tradition of selling on water.
Getting around Amphawa is quite convenient:
The primary mode of transportation within the town is by foot, as the entire area is designed around its canals and the river. Many of the attractions and sites are accessible by boat, either public or private. If you happen to be staying outside the city center, cycling is an excellent choice for getting around and exploring the town.
How to get to Amphawa:
Although Amphawa is relatively close to Bangkok, the journey between the two cities typically takes at least 1.5 hours due to traffic congestion, especially on Friday evenings. If you don’t have your own car or rental, there are three alternative options:
• Taxi: Taking a taxi costs around 1,500 baht.
• Grab or Bolt: Using ride-hailing services like Grab or Bolt is another option, with prices ranging from 650 to 1,300 baht from Bangkok. However, please note that Grab does not operate in the vicinity of Amphawa.
• Car with a driver: You can also opt for a car rental service with a driver. You can find more information here.
Taking a minibus is the fastest and most economical option for reaching Amphawa. The fare is approximately 70 baht per person. Minibuses departing directly for Amphawa can be found at the bus stations in Motchit and Sai tai Mai. For further details on the bus stations in Bangkok, please click here.
Returning to Bangkok, minibuses operate from 04:00 to 18:00 and can be found on Leabnatee street
Undoubtedly, the most pleasant means of transportation is by train, offering the added benefit of combining it with a visit to the Mae Klong market - also known as the market on the rails. Mae Klong station is the closest one to Amphawa, making it an excellent starting point for your journey. Taking the train not only provides a unique spectacle but also sets the perfect tone for your adventure.
**To ensure a smooth journey, it is important to be aware of the timetable and the various stages of the trip. This is a journey that requires proper preparation.
Things to see and do
The floating market
The floating market is situated in the heart of the city, in close proximity to Wat Amphawan. It can be easily accessed via wooden walkways that stretch across the canal, providing visitors with a seamless transition between different sections of the market. Additionally, perpendicular streets branching off from the walkways are home to numerous shops, further enriching the market experience.
When does it take place?
The floating market operates primarily on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, with Saturdays and Sundays being the liveliest days. The market kicks off at around 12:00 noon and continues until early evening. However, the atmosphere truly comes alive around 5:00 - 6:00 pm, as the canal transforms into a captivating spectacle with the boats and pontoons adorned with twinkling lights. It’s a magical time to soak in the vibrant ambiance of the market.
Specialties of the Amphawa Market
The Amphawa Market is known for its unique offerings, including the preparation of dishes directly on the boats, particularly seafood. The concept behind this floating market is refreshingly simple.
Boats equipped with small kitchens dock along the waterway, offering a diverse selection of dishes such as seafood (predominantly), fish, sautéed rice, and more. To enjoy these delightful treats, all you need to do is place your order and find a seat at one of the small tables arranged along the riverbank.
When it comes to beverages, Amphawa has a specialty: coconut cider. This distinctive drink may surprise you, but it’s surprisingly good. You can discover this delightful beverage at the shops of the Amphawa Chaipattana Foundation. This foundation manages multiple plots of land and produces organically, without the use of pesticides. It is an integral part of the Otop circuit, showcasing unique local products and supporting sustainable practices.
OTOP: The OTOP program in Thailand has a two-fold objective: to foster the economic progress of rural communities and to preserve the rich cultural heritage of Thailand by showcasing local products and traditional craftsmanship.
Shopping in Amphawa
In addition to its renowned culinary delights, Amphawa also offers a delightful shopping experience. While the market primarily focuses on food, the surrounding shops present an array of options for souvenirs, clothing, handicrafts, and more.
Other attractions and activities in Amphawa
Amphawa offers more than just its renowned floating market. There are plenty of other charming activities to discover. Here’s a brief overview:
Evening Stroll to Observe Fireflies
One classic activity in Amphawa is taking a night boat trip in search of fireflies. It’s a delightful experience, although it’s important to manage expectations regarding the size and brightness of the fireflies. On certain evenings, the trees are adorned with a magical glow, resembling twinkling Christmas trees. However, the spectacle can vary greatly from day to day. The boat trip usually lasts around an hour, and for young children, it can be a calming way to prepare for a good night’s sleep. Older children will find it fascinating and may work up an appetite in the process!
There are two options for the boat trip: the public boat, which costs around 70 baht per person, or the private boat, where the price can be negotiated and is typically around 600 baht.
A day trip to explore the temples
Another must-visit experience is taking a boat trip to discover the temples in Amphawa. Typically, the itinerary includes four temples, although the first three may have limited appeal. The true highlight lies in the final temple: Wat Bang Kung.
Wat Bang Kung is an iconic temple completely enveloped by the intricate roots of banyan trees. Nestled within is a magnificent golden Buddha, infusing the temple with an aura of serenity and beauty. Despite its small size, the temple’s allure is undeniable, thanks to the mesmerizing presence of the banyan trees.
The temple holds both religious significance and commemorates a historic battle between the Burmese and Thai forces. Consequently, it tends to be crowded with visitors. To capture good photographs, it is advisable to arrive early, as the crowds can hinder the experience.
The boats dock approximately a hundred meters away from the temple. To reach it, you must traverse an area that can best be described as a “zoo,” where numerous animals reside. Regrettably, the living conditions, hygiene, and overall atmosphere of the area are far from satisfactory.
The Mae Klong Market, also known as the Market on the Rails
Situated a mere 6km away from Amphawa, the Mae Klong Market is a fascinating attraction that captivates many travelers. The spectacle it offers is truly remarkable. Getting there is convenient, as one can hop on a songtaew or a tuk-tuk (costing around 100 baht). To fully appreciate the experience, it’s essential to arrive before the train’s arrival or departure, witnessing the incredible sight of the train passing through the bustling market. For detailed timetables and additional information, refer to the post below:
Other floating markets around Amphawa
Damnoen Saduak is an artificial canal that was dug during the reign of Rama IV to connect the Ta Chin and Mae Khlong rivers. The surrounding land along the canal is predominantly cultivated with vegetables. Over time, it has transformed into one of Thailand’s most renowned floating markets. Interestingly, the Damnoen Saduak market actually consists of three interconnected floating markets: Ton Khem, Hia Kui, and Khum Phithak. As these markets gradually merged, they now create the illusion of a vast floating market.
The Damnoen Saduak floating market operates daily, starting early in the morning and concluding around midday. On weekends, the market attracts a significant number of vendors, amplifying the bustling atmosphere. Along the canal banks, visitors can find an assortment of restaurants and souvenir shops, adding to the overall charm of the market.
Tha Kha Floating Market
Tha Kha Floating Market distinguishes itself as a smaller and more traditional market compared to others in the region. Traditionally, this market used to operate only on specific dates determined by the lunar calendar, making it accessible mainly to locals and insiders. However, things have changed, and now the market is open every weekend. Keep in mind that it is an early market, with the first boats arriving around 06:00 in the morning and closing by 12:00 noon. To fully immerse yourself in the experience, it’s advisable to wake up early and aim to arrive around 7:30 am, allowing you to make the most of your visit.
One of the charms of Tha Kha Floating Market is its ability to maintain authenticity, steering clear of the tourist crowds. Here, the primary focus remains on the sale of fruits and vegetables, devoid of souvenir shops. Notably, rowing boats outnumber motorized boats, creating a serene and tranquil ambiance. Compared to other markets in the region, Tha Kha exudes a quieter, less noisy, and above all, less crowded atmosphere.
In addition to exploring the market, you can also embark on a delightful boat trip for a nominal fee of 200 baht. This 45-minute excursion allows you to leisurely navigate the surrounding canals, further immersing yourself in the enchanting scenery.
To reach Tha Kha Floating Market from Amphawa, you have two options: hiring a chauffeur-driven car, albeit not the most economical choice, or opting for a tuk-tuk for the day. The latter option offers the advantage of not only reaching Tha Kha but also exploring other markets in the vicinity, maximizing your day’s adventure.
Accommodation - Staying in and around Amphawa
A variety of hotels can be found both in the region surrounding Amphawa and within the town itself. However, it is worth noting that prices in this area tend to be higher than the Thai average, while the overall quality of services may not always meet expectations.
To ensure a smooth and enjoyable stay, it is highly recommended to book your accommodation well in advance. The weekend market in Amphawa draws a significant number of visitors throughout the year, both during the high and low seasons.
For a truly immersive experience, consider booking a hotel that offers a view of the enchanting canals or one that is conveniently located near the market. This strategic choice will save you valuable time and allow you to fully immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere on Friday or Saturday evenings.
Note: It is worth mentioning that certain hotels in the area may have increased prices on Saturdays due to the popularity of the market.
Our selection of hotels in Amphawa
A hotel nestled in the heart of the market, it offers cozy and tranquil “bungalows” for accommodation. While the rooms may not be spacious, they are incredibly comfortable. The major advantage of this hotel is its prime location, allowing easy access to all the vibrant activities happening in the city. The best part? The price is quite reasonable, considering the convenience of staying right in the heart of the action without the need for transportation. It’s a true bargain!
Rimrabeang Amphawa Cafe and Suite
Amphawa’s iconic hotel is situated right at the heart of all the action. It boasts a direct view of the bustling floating market from its balcony, offering a truly immersive experience. The hotel showcases a unique and distinctive style, exuding a cozy and warm ambiance. It is an absolute delight for those who appreciate antique furniture and a touch of nostalgia. When it comes to the price, it’s worth considering that the hotel itself is a souvenir, embodying the essence of the destination. So why deny yourself the opportunity to indulge in such a remarkable experience?
Réservation : Booking - Agoda
Our selection just outside the city centre
Asita Eco Resort
A beautiful establishment in a natural setting with spacious rooms overlooking a canal. Great care is taken here, making it perfect for both exploring the region and relaxing. Enjoy a cozy atmosphere, along with the added bonus of a spa and swimming pool. Treat yourself and indulge in a memorable experience.
Réservation : Booking - Agoda
A truly cozy and inviting place awaits you. Experience the comfort of spacious rooms that are beautifully designed to provide utmost relaxation. This establishment sets a high standard and offers a peaceful and charming environment. Its ideal location makes it a perfect base for exploring the surrounding region. As for the price, with its exceptional design, serene ambiance, and ample space, it’s easy to overlook the cost and simply indulge in the experience.
Réservation : Booking - Agoda