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Mahachai Market, Tha Chalom, Talad Nam Tha Kha & Talad Phlu

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Bangkok is always the best city well positioned in Thailand to be connected to other destinations within the South East Asia. Apart from that, Bangkok also offers a good number of places to explore and there are just so many things to do, see & eat. Neighbouring Bangkok provinces include Samut Sakhon province of which the famous Mahachai Market, a huge & busy seafood market that offers no other than the most fresh sea products as well as Samut Songkhram province which is well known for the various floating markets such as Damnoen Saduak & Amphawa. There is also a lesser known floating market in Samut Songkhram and still a very localised floating market named Talad Nam Tha Kha. I have wrote about Mahachai New Market which was yet another version of seafood market located close to Bangkok city in suburb of Rama 2. As the name suggest, the Mahachai New Market was an extended version of the original seafood market of Mahachai Fresh Market in Samut Sakhon province. In terms of size & the seafood items available for sale, Mahachai Fresh Market offers tremendous number of items & shopping in Mahachai Fresh Market will definitely takes longer time due to the huge selection of items at this market. Mahachai Fresh Market is located very close to the Mahachai train station as well as the Mahachai pier making it one of the most strategically located town within Samut Sakhon province. Getting to Mahachai from Bangkok, the town can be reached by train from Wongwian Yai train station through the Wongwian Yai-Mahachai line also known as the commuter connecting several other towns within the line. From Mahachai train station, you could disembark to get to the Mahachai pier, where a short ferry across to Tha Chalom for a connecting train from Tha Chalom station or Ban Laem station to get to the famous train market, known as the Maekhlong Railway Market. I have also previously wrote about this railway market as I experienced it myself and such market was dubbed as one of the many amazing & unseen Thai travel experience.

MAHACHAI FRESH MARKET & THE FRESH SEAFOOD

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Mahachai is located along the Tha Chin (Chinese pier) river and from Mahachai pier, the town is connected to another town across Tha Chin river, known as Tha Chalom. Tha Chalom is a unique old town in Samut Sakhon province with very close ethnic Thai Chinese connection being well established as can be witness from few Chinese temples & the famous Jao Mae Guan Im (Guan Yin Goddess) Shrine. Exploring Mahachai Fresh Market will be best done through walking around the stalls surrounded the main market area as well as the shops around the market place of which other than fresh seafood, there were also enormous selections of dry seafood, seafood snacks & street food to buy & enjoy. Mahachai also has many old shops dotting the town, just like in Maekhlong town and it was bustling with activities with many traders, locals & visitors flocking to the market & shops in the town to trade & doing shopping.

MAHACHAI TRAIN STATION

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MORE ON MAHACHAI FRESH MARKET & SEAFOOD PRODUCE

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Since Tha Chalom was just across the Tha Chin river from Mahachai, I decided to check out the town and see what it has to offer to those who like to explore places. The short river crossing from Mahachai pier to Tha Chalom pier through the ferry which also transport those with motorbikes, cost THB 3. Once reaching the Tha Chalom pier, there were rows of shops on both side of the covered walkway exiting the pier & I noticed that, some of the shops with canned mackerel fish on display for sale with very low prices. Perhaps there were factories in Tha Chalom that produce canned mackerel fish for export as one of the shop owner was heard saying that the product was even exported to as far as Italy. But judging from the seafood market activity around Mahachai, I believe what was said could be just as true as it was. The canned fish were sold mainly in cartons for as low as THB 75 a carton. Another discovery while I was walking out from the Tha Chalom pier was a wall painting with the picture of a "samlor" (trishaw with its driver). Little did I know actually one of the things to do while in Tha Chalom was to experience the town with the samlor. It was a very interesting & distinctive way to discover Tha Chalom town with samlor visiting some of the Thai & Chinese temples, old buildings & landmarks including yet another train station at Ban Laem.

MAHACHAI PIER & THE FERRY SERVICE TO THA CHALOM

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THA CHALOM PIER, THE TOWN & ITS SURROUNDINGS

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Samut Sakhon province was also known for its Dolphine & Whale Viewpoint & Fishermen Village. Access to the Dolphine & Whale Viewpoint, there were villages around with the main activity here among others was the many aquaculture farms seen within Samut Sakhon province. While there were huge rice fields in the North East of Thailand, in Samut Sakhon province, the main industry being the seafood produce and that was the reason on why many aquaculture farms producing fish & shrimps for export were developed around the villages in this Thai central province. One of the distinguished feature that can be experience while at the Dolphin Viewpoint in Samut Songkhram was walking through the red wooden bridge of which it connects visitors from one point to another to enable a close view on dolphins or whales swimming around the sea. I could see multiple moving objects around the viewpoint area from the bridge but could not ascertained if those were exactly dolphins or whales because the distance from the bridge to the objects were too distanced away. There were some resorts nearby within the sea village and also restaurant serving seafood around the viewpoint area. Before I came to explore Samut Sakhon province, all the above activities were not known to me and now I felt privileged to get to experience what was never known before about this central Thai province.

DOLPHINE VIEW POINT, THE RED BRIDGE & AQUACULTURE FARM

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From Samut Sakhon province, I moved on to the neighbouring Samut Songkhram province, well known for its floating markets. If you are in Samut Songkhram, the main reasons were definitely to visit famous floating markets including Amphawa & Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in which this is must-do thing for those who travel to Bangkok. Since I had been to both markets which were now heavily inundated with visitors, I thought it would be a good idea to discover some of the less visited floating market and still being a very localised floating market. That being said, I headed to Talad Nam Tha Kha (Tha Kha Floating Market). This is a small scale floating market in Samut Songkhram province and it offers sort of authentic floating market experience for those who seek a less hectic, less commercialised environment or atmosphere. Surrounded by coconut plantations & village homes, Tha Kha Floating Market is exactly what those who love natural landscapes, quiet & peaceful as well as the real old days floating market experience were searching for. Unfortunately, the day that I arrived to visit & explore the market, it was not open. Though a little disappointed, I was not exactly deterred as I continue to walk around the market and check out the overall structure of this small yet compact floating market complete with wooden sampans, wooden bridges that connect both side of the markets, some food stalls with banner display on Thai food available and some dining places around the river banks as well as the shops between the walkways to the entrance of the floating market. Because Tha Kha Floating Market was surrounded by a massive coconut farms, one of the main food industry is the coconut sugar which was widely available within the villages in Tha Kha Floating Market. Surrounding the floating market, there were village homes with villages working mostly on coconut farms while there were also resorts, home stays, hotels and guesthouse to cater to local & foreign tourists accommodation needs when travelling to Tha Kha Floating Market as well Amphawa Floating Market. Since there were hotels & resorts around the village,some cafe & bakery shops have been set up as there were demand for such establishments with the increase of tourists to the area. As I exit Tha Kha Floating market,I came across a cafe, Sweet November and decided to try out is coffee & cakes. The cafe was a modern setup in the midst of a quiet & tranquil village.

THA KHA FLOATING MARKET, ITS SURROUNDINGS & ENJOYING COFFEE & CAKE

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Back to Bangkok, ironically, I found myself at Talad Phlu, another train station market of which it offers some of the best Thai street food and sweets if you take some time to discover the place. Talad Phlu literally means Phlu Market situated within Talad Phlu train station and within the Wongwian Yai-Mahachai train line with Talad Phlu being the 2nd station after Wongwian Yai station. I boarded the train from Talad Phlue station to get to Wongwian Yai station just to get some old train ride experience & get the excitement & the fun of such unique local travel experience. Within Talad Phlu train station, there were a number of Thai street food stalls dotted the area around the train station. A short walk out of the station, there were shops selling Thai sweets such as the "kanom chan" (literally translated as layered sweets), "kanom bueang" (crepe topped with coconut cream & shredded salted egg yolk) as well as "kanom gu chai", (a Teo chew style chive dumplings) and some famous plant-based beverages such as lotus root beverage. Another speciality of Talad Phlu was the said to be over 100 years restaurant serving the "mi krop" (crispy rice vermicelli) which legend has it that this dish was a King Rama V's favourite. There are also dozens of old shop houses scattered around Talad Phlu town making it worth to explore to check out the town. There is also a pier located at the edge of Talad Phlu town and motorised boats both passengers & private tourist chartered ones could be seen moving along the canals on both directions.

TALAD PHLU & THE OLD TOWN, THE SWEETS, THE FOOD & BEVERAGE SPECIALITY OF THIS OLD TRAIN CITY & THE TRAIN RIDE FROM TALAD PHLU TO WONGWIAN YAI STATION

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Posted by kidd27 07:05 Archived in Thailand

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