One of the many great things about Azamara is their itineraries including overnights in several ports. Having two overnights in Bangkok allowed us to see the city, do our trip to Siem Reap and also see some of the sights that were a little out of Bangkok.
We met Ms Lek at 7:00am for our second private tour with her. Today we were first visiting the Maeklong Railway Market. We drove approximately 30 minutes outside of Bangkok and our driver dropped us off at a convenient location for us to walk through the inside market. We were informed the market was originally located only inside but as demand grew for additional vendors, the stands started to move outside and sprung up around the train tracks.
Our initial walk through the inside market was fascinating. This market had fruit and vegetables, meat, seafood, snack items, etc. It was really quite large. We stopped at a few stalls to look at some of the specialities of the area – including the vibrant pink eggs otherwise known as Century eggs. This is a delicacy of preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime and rice hulls for several weeks to several months. The yolk becomes dark grey and the white becomes a dark brown jelly. Ms Lek suggested we try one. Once you got past the very different colour, the egg didn’t actually taste much different than a boiled egg – just a little more salty than usual. While I was open to trying it, I don’t think it would be something I would want to have a second time.
Once we made it to a small café on the edge of the train tracks, Ms Lek ordered us cold Thai coffee and fresh coconut water. We also had yummy rice pancakes while we waited patiently for the arrival of the train.
Many tourists visit the market specifically to see the train come down the tracks where vendors have their items laid out. As the train blows it’s warning horn, the awnings are closed and some items are pushed back, however many of the fruits and vegetables are strategically placed so that the train will move right over them without touching anything. It is quite a sight to see. People are also riding the train and hanging out the windows to enjoy the view from up top. This process is repeated six times each day.
Once the train had passed through, we walked the length of the tracks through the market until arriving at the station. The myriad of foods was amazing. From run of the mill veggies to exotic fruits to live fish and grilled frogs – this market had it all. The smells, sounds and sights cause your senses to work overtime. So glad we were able to experience it.
On the way to our next location we made a stop at a Traditional Thai house where we learned about the making of palm sugar. It is similar in method to making maple syrup with a double boiling process. We toured the house and learned about typical life in Thailand, their customs plus an in depth talk about the monarchy and the important role the King has within a Thai family.
Once back in the mini bus, we drove a little further to the Damnoen Floating Market. This was like no other market any of us had ever seen. There was a narrow channel between two buildings where boats navigated back and forth selling their wares. Tourists board the boats and while a brave person paddles them down the crowded river, you are able to look at souvenir items set out along the edges and purchase drinks and food from the vendors on their boats. It is crazy crowded and it seems like boats will crash into each other every few minutes but somehow they slowly creep along until you reach the end where it opens up. The boat vendors here were focussed more on supplying snack items such as plates of fruit or meat kebabs or cans of beer. While the people along the edges had a very large variety of items for sale including clothing, knick knacks, hats, bags, etc. Our ride was truly amazing.
Leaving the congestion of the main river, our captain paddled us to the floating village through the lovely canals that surround the area. Many people live on the water in stilt houses and have intricate shrines, temples and gardens on their small pieces of property. We also passed by a mango plantation and watched as lizards swam through the water and skittered up onto the banks of the river. I certainly wouldn’t want to swim in this water even though we saw many people doing just that.
Our boat ride was soothing after the chaos of the market and we thoroughly enjoyed the slower pace. We also noticed that the locals don’t tend to enter that market but utilize some independent women who would take orders and then paddle it over to the person’s house. Kind of like Grocery Gateway on the water!
On our walk back to the bus, Ms Lek purchased rice waffles and mangosteen for us to snack on in the car. Both were very tasty.
We arrived back at the ship around 1:30pm after an incredible morning of sightseeing and proceeded to Windows Café for a tasty lunch from the grill.
Our afternoon was spent lounging at the pool although it was extremely hot and humid.
We enjoyed a dinner of steak and prime rib. Both were cooked perfectly.
After dinner we watched the entertainment of the cruise director Eric singing his rendition of Phantom of the Opera and the main headliner was Ashley Curruthers who is a highly accomplished piano player.
After a very busy day, we spent the balance of the evening sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine while we sailed along the coast of Thailand.
Adventures in South East Asia - Hong Kong Part 1 - click here
Adventures in South East Asia - Hong Kong Part 2 - click here
Adventures in South East Asia - Hong Kong Part 3 & Onboard Azamara Day 1 - click here
Adventures in South East Asia - Onboard Azamara Day 2 - click here
Adventures in South East Asia - Onboard Azamara Day 3 - click here
Adventures in South East Asia - Onboard Azamara Day 4 - click here
Adventures in South East Asia - Onboard Azamara Day 5 - click here
Adventures in South East Asia - Onboard Azamara Day 6 - click here
Adventures in South East Asia - Onboard Azamara Day 7 - click here
Adventures in South East Asia - Onboard Azamara Day 8 - click here
Adventures in South East Asia - Onboard Azamara Day 9 - click here
Adventures in South East Asia - Onboard Azamara Day 10 - click here
Sharing Our Travel Dreams
Sharing our personal experiences onboard and on the road, along with tips and insight for creating memorable vacations.