Bangkok: Side Trips


Amphawa Pierre BETEILLE / top / eyedea
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The klong (canals) were once Bangkok's claim to fame. These days, it's best to avoid most of these sewer-like legacies of the city's wealth of water. Instead, the best place to experience real canal country is in Amphawa, a district in Samut Songkhram province, just over an hour's drive from Bangkok. Its market, part grounded and part floating, is the one most Thais prefer to navigate toward; it properly gets going on weekend afternoons, running practically all night on Saturdays. The surrounding alleys are crammed with craft shops and pubs. Best of all, the market is the starting point for three-hour cruises in covered long boats taking in the surrounding countryside, including many stops at unusual shrines, all for the bargain price of about $1.50. Riverside homestays are available if you want to spend more time in the area.

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