Right from the start we were very impressed with Bank. His English was superb, he was polite and very knowledgeable. He also had a great sense of humor, which added a lot of fun to our day!
It was an hour and 15 minutes to our first stop, the Train Market in Maeklong, a small town in Samut Songkhram Province, southwest of Bangkok. We enjoyed visiting with Bank during the drive, and he answered our many questions.
We arrived in Maeklong, and as we drove through the small town to park the car, I noticed the roads were filled with water. Bank explained that the tide was in, so therefore the roads are flooded. but the market would be dry.
We parked the car, and walked toward the market. Bank had a pair of plastic sandals to loan David, but I just had to take my shoes off, roll up my pant legs and wade right in! The water was a bit over my ankles at the highest. Here I am with Bank, wading through the water on the way to the market:
Sure enough, as we got closer to the market the streets were dry. Here's the beginning of the market, looking down the tracks:
We had been wondering just WHY the vendors set up their wares right on the tracks. Bank explained that this was a very old market, and as the town grew, there was no more space in the original market for new vendors. So new vendors used the closest available space, which just happened to be right on the tracks!
The Maeklong Station is the end of the line for this train, which runs 8 times each day. It chugs into town very slowly, a whistle blows as it approaches the market, giving the vendors just enough time to pick up their wares. It's all done in a flash, and they are very ingenious! Many of the tables are on wheels set onto runners, so they just quickly wheel their table back and pop down their awning.
Here comes the train:
And Frog-on-a-Stick! We resisted these cuties......
Look at the skin on this piece of fish--it looks like a leopard print!
Here I am, buying some fresh young coconut to drink the water:
David eating his bowl of noodle soup:
It was really good:
A Buddhist shrine along the canal:
We paddled by this woman doing her laundry in the canal, right off her front porch:
As we drove back through the small town of Damnoen Saduak, Bank pointed out the street lights with a floating market theme:
We drove through miles of salt farms on the way back to Bangkok. Local families pay tanker trucks to bring salt water in from the sea, pumping it into evaporation ponds. About 2 weeks later, they harvest the salt.
They then package the salt, and sell it in small road-side stands:
Many interesting art pieces:
I liked this one, made of wooden clothes pins: