Samut Songkram For those who enjoy cultural tourism and traditional ways of life
The Voice of Chandigarh News | Travel Trade Reporter
The word “samut” originates from the Sanskrit word “samudra” meaning “ocean”, and the word “songkhram” from the Sanskrit “sangrama” meaning “war”. Hence the name of the province literally means “war ocean”
Samut Songkhram is a small province not far from Bangkok. It takes a little more than one hour to the province. For those who enjoy cultural tourism and traditional ways of life, this province has much to offer. For example, the people here earn a living from vegetable and fruit farming, and coconut palm sugar simmering. Furthermore, the floating market at Tha Kha still maintains the traditional way of life of a community by a canal. There is no evidence to indicate the establishment of the city of Samut Songkhram. It is presumed to have been a former district of Ratchaburi called “Suan Nok” (outside garden). Then, during the transition from the Ayutthaya to the Thon Buri periods, it was separated from Ratchaburi and named “Mueang Mae Klong.” Samut Songkhram was historically important during the establishment of Thon Buri as the kingdom’s capital by King Taksin the Great. When the Burmese led an army to Tambon Bang Kung, the king gathered the people to build a fort and prevent the city from the Burmese troops. This was an important act against the Burmese invaders at that time. Samut Songkhram is 72 km from Bangkok, covering an area of 416 sq km. The province is divided into three districts: Amphoe Mueang, Amphoe Amphawa, and Amphoe Bang Khonthi.
How to Reach:
Transportation By car : Take Highway 35 (Thon Buri – Pak Tho or Rama II Road), past the Na Kluea – Maha Chai Intersection. At around Km 63, take the elevated way into the town of Samut Songkhram. 005-050nte5.indd 5 4/19/11 5:30 PM 6
By bus : The Transport Company Limited offers a daily bus service between Bangkok and Samut Songkhram, leaving the Southern Bus Terminal on Borommaratchachonnani Road from 5.40 a.m. – 9.00 p.m. For an air-conditioned bus (Damnoen Tour), call Tel. 0 2894 6355, or visit www.transport.co.th.
By train : From the Wongwian Yai Railway Station, there is a daily train from Wongwian Yai to Maha Chai. Take a boat from the Maha Chai Pier to the Tha Chalom Pier and get on a train from the Ban Laem Railway Station to the town of Samut Songkhram. Or take a bus from the Maha Chai Railway Station straight to the town. For a train schedule, contact the Wongwian Yai Railway Station, Tel. 0 2465 2017, 0 2890 6260, or visit www.railway.co.th.
Amphawa Floating Market is an afternoon floating market by the canal near Wat Amphawan Chetiyaram. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, during 12.00 a.m. – 8.00 p.m., the Amphawa Canal is occupied by vendors who pack their boats with food and drinks, 16 sea mussel, noodles, coffee, O-liang (iced black coffee), sweets, etc.
There are also things for sale on wheelbarrows on the bank. Visitors can enjoy a cosy atmosphere and music broadcast by the community members, explore the market, have food, and hire a boat to see fireflies at night.
To get there By car : Take Highway 35 (Thon Buri – Pak Tho) to Km. 63. Drive through the town of Samut Songkhram to take Highway 325 (Samut Songkhram – Bang Phae). At Km. 36-37, take a left turn toward the King Rama II Memorial Park. The Market is near the King Rama II Memorial Park. By bus : Take the Bangkok – Ratchaburi – Damnoen Saduak bus to get off at Amphawa Market.
Mae Klong Railway Market (Hoop Rom Market)
is a local market in Samut Songkhram Province, commonly called Siang Tai (life-risking) Market. It is considered one of amazing-Thailand attractions in the province. Spreading over a 100-metre length, the market is located by the railway near Mae Klong Railway Station, Mueng District, Samut Songkhram Province. It is a common fresh market selling seafood, vegetable, fruits, fresh and dried food, meats and other miscellaneous goods. Mae Klong Railway Market is open from 6.00 a.m. -6.00 p.m.
The market is called ‘life-risking’ market because its stalls are attached to the Mae Klong-Ban Laem railway, which is a short railway line running from and to Mahachai and Mae Klong. Vendors at the market put out parasols or canvas to protect themselves against the sun. The shelters stick into the railway where visitors walk and do their shopping. When each signal of the arriving train rings, chaos happens: vendors will rush to close their parasols and canvas, along with clearing all goods that will obstruct the coming train at a great speed. Once the train passes, parasols and canvas will be reopened as goods are again put into their usual place next to the railroad. The market, accordingly, is so called ‘Hoop Rom (umbrella/parasol-closing) Market’. The practice is usual for vendors and local people, but not for tourists who will definitely find the scene exciting and enjoyable at each visit. The parasol-closing event happens eight times per day according to the time that trains leave Mahachai for Mae Klong and depart Mae Klong for Mahachai. Trains will arrive at Mae Klong Station at 8.30 a.m., 11.10 a.m., 2.30 p.m. and 5.40 p.m., and depart the station at 6.20 a.m., 9.00 a.m., 11.30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m..
King Rama II Memorial Park
is the project to honour King Rama II by the King Rama II Memorial Foundation under Royal Patronage, for the royal graciousness of bestowing exquisite art and culture as a national treasure, which qualified King Rama II to be praised as a Person of the World by UNESCO. The construction site of the Memorial Park, which was given by Phra Ratchasamutmethi, an abbot of Wat Amphawan Chetiyaram, covers an area of around 11 rai. The area is important since it was a birthplace of King Rama II. Within the King Rama II Memorial Park, there are many interesting spots: King Rama II Museum is comprised of four Thai-styled buildings separated into sections. The Central Hall houses the statue of King Rama II and displays artefacts from the early Rattanakosin era, such as Bencharong pentachrome porcelain, pottery, Khon masks, etc. The Male Room presents the living quarters of heroic Thai men, with a Buddha image and a bed which is believed to have belonged to King Rama II. The Female Room displays living quarters of Thai women in the past, with a dresser, a mirror, etc. The Veranda imitates that of a traditional Thai house, decorated with pots of dwarfed King Rama II Memorial Park 005-050nte5.indd 18 4/19/11 5:30 PM 19 trees and decorative plants. The Kitchen and Restroom display a Thai kitchen with kitchenware and crockery, and a restroom of the middle class. In addition, there is an open theatre and a botanical garden where plants in Thai literature have been collected. A shop here offers local products and young plants. The Park is shady with traditional Thai ambience. It is open daily, from 8.30 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
Ban Bang Phlap Community:
The Ban Bang Phlap Community is in Amphoe Bang Konthi, Samut Songkhram province. Life here revolves around the water, with many canals and the freshwater MaeKlong river running through the community. There are many well irrigated orchards producing coconuts, pomelo, lychee, papaya and other tropical fruits and numerous vegetables and herbal plants. Living on such fertile and the community is almost self-sufficient in food. A teacher Somsong Saengtawan, a resident of Ban Bang Phlap wished to conserve local wisdom and agricultural skills and organized a group of specialists in various areas to share their knowledge with fellow farmers. As a result the learning centre Maha Vitchalai of Local Wisdom of Samut Songkhram was established, leading to a strengthening of the community and an improvement in the quality of the agricultural produce. This development has made Bang Bangk Phlap a model community and it has been recognized as a Green Community, earning the Awards of Excellence in the Tourist Attractions category at the Thailand Tourism Awards 2010 and 2013.
Activities to do: Genuine coconut sugar making, Cycling around the fruit orchards, Re-born fruits and vegetables making.
Ban Benjarong Ban Chang:
The ceramics produced here are of the finest quality and are much sought after by collectors, universally admired for the beauty and grace of their unique form, design, and color. Visitors can learn painting Benjarong.
Mask Painting at Bhutesavara
Vibrantly decorated, Khon masks are considered to be some of Thailand’s most valueable work of art. The masks play a core part in celebrating the stories, color, skills and beauty of the Ramakien epic. They are a symbol of national pride.
Crafting Khon masks is a fine art, which requires great skill and patience, as well as very detailed knowledge of Thai history and legend.
Visitors can observe a demonstration and experience mask painting.
For more information: Visit www.tourismthailand.org