Posted by Heliocentrism on March 20, 2010
March 13, 2010
The Market on the Tracks or Too Many Monkeys jumping in my Boat
Mark planned this trip. He loves to feed animals. I was more interested in going to Mae Klong and riding on the oldest train tracks in Thailand.
The icing on the cake came while watching an episode of No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. The episode was on Thailand. It wasn’t far into the show when I realized that Anthony went where we were heading. Here is part of the show. Hopefully it’s still on Youtube when you read this entry. If not, you can watch it on Amazon.
On the show he takes a bus or car to Samut Sakhon, but we took the 10Baht train. We did not eat at the train station so I don’t know if the soup he ate was as great as he said it was. But from what I saw, it looks like the standard Thai soup you can get anywhere. It’s like the Thai equivalent of corn flakes.
Getting to this place was a bit hard. No one seemed to understand what we wanted. Even when we were within a few yards of the place where we could see monkeys, the people we ask were completely clueless and couldn’t give us directions.
I think it might have something to do with the fact that, while feeding monkeys might be a novelty to Mark, John, and me, it was an odd thing to do for them. Maybe it would be similar to some Thai tourist walking up to you and asking you where he could, feed the squirrels. “Why would you want to do that?”
Once we found the temple though, it was no problem getting to the monkeys. The boaters saw our bags of bananas and knew what we wanted. The monkeys knew what was up too. They jumped on our boat and took all the bananas they could stuff in their little mouths and hands… and hand-like feet.
On the Tracks
To leave this town we went to the Mae Klong Railway Station. This is where the local market is set up right on the tracks. To them it doesn’t seem so bad that the train comes through quite infrequently. You walk on the tracks to move around and see what you want to buy. When the train passes by, everyone packs up and everything is moved out of the way.
(Ratcha Anachak Thai)
- You can enter by plane, boat, bus, or train.
- Most citizens from many countries do not need to get a visa before going to Thailand. But, you will need a visa to stay longer than 1 month or if you been to Thailand for at least 3 months already in the past 12 months.
- People of most nationalities will get a 30-day visa at the port of entry.
- To be completely sure, check with the Thai embassy in your country.
- Useful Phone Numbers when in Thailand
- Tourism Authority 662-250-5500
- Emergency Number – 999
- Do not say anything negative about the king or anyone in the Royal family. And definitely do not write anything bad about the king or royal family. This offence could land you in jail. You don’t want to go to Thai jail.
- Don’t use the city ferries in Bangkok during the peak hours. They fill those things past capacity and sometimes they sink. Use them during non-peak hours when they are not crowded.
- Never eat female horseshoe crabs in Thailand. The roe of the horseshoe crab has tetrodotoxin (TTX) which is toxic to humans. It makes people very sick and some people have even died as a result.
How to get there:
- 13°32’46.4″N 100°16’35.6″E
- Go to Wongwian Yai Train Station.
- Go all the way to the last stop.
- The train is pretty old and there is no a/c.
- You should try to sit on the side of the train opposite the sun. This makes a huge difference!
- Tickets cost 10THB for foreigners
- free for Thais.
- The ride is about 1 hour.
- Here is the timetables for the train from Bangkok and back (2010): Wongwian Yai Railway timetable 1.bmp.
- Plan your trip and take careful note of the time.
- The trains do not run very often and the last train is very early in the evening.
- 13°25’36.2″N 99°57’10.3″E
Take a cab.
- The plan was to take the train to Samut Sakhon’s Mahachai Railway Station then take the ferry across the river.
- Then take the Ban Laem Railway train down to Mae Klong.
But the two train systems aren’t in-sync. If we waited for the train to Mae Klong, we wouldn’t make it in time to get the last train home. So we took a taxi to Amphawa for lunch.
Mae Klong Railway Station
- 13°24’27.4″N 99°59’53.1″E
From Mahachai Station,
- go to the ferry (5THB) and cross the river
- get on the Ban Laem Train (10THB).
- The ride is 1 hour. But check the schedule before you go.
- The trains are not in-sync.
- This is the semi-famous train station next to the market on the tracks. They don’t really sell anything a tourist would care for, but that is only because it’s not really a tourist town.
- When on the train, the engineer might let you stand at the front next to him to take pictures. Ask nicely.
- If you are going to use public transportation, you should know that you can walk to the ferry from Machachai Railway station. Stop anyone who isn’t a tuk-tuk driver and ask for directions. You can also use the google map below for help. Just click on the map and scroll down the list of icons or use “ctrl F” and click on “Mae Klong Railway Station”.
Prince of Chumphon Shrine
(Kromluang Chumporn Khet Udomsak Shrine)
- 13°21’43.8″N 100°01’21.4″E
From the Mae Klong Railway Station you can take a taxi or a songtow to a place where you can see and feed monkeys. There are two main spots.
We were advised to go to the one in this flier, Prince of chumphon Shrine. The lady who gave us the advice said that we would see way more monkeys there.
If you go to the place in the flier, you will be dropped off by a temple next to a big street market. You should go behind the temple near the water.
Most likely someone will ask you if you want a boat ride to see some monkeys. If you carry a bag of bananas like we did, everyone will know what you plan to do. We paid 200THB for half an hour of boating for the 3 of us.
We didn’t go very far. In fact if you walk down the road that the temple is on in the direction away from the market and towards the town, you will pass a bridge. This is where the boat took us. You can just stand on the road or on the bridge and find monkeys to feed.
Mu 7 Tambon Hat Sai Ri
- Hey, monkeys don’t sleep!
- Watch out. Some monkeys can get aggressive. Luckily they are tiny little monsters and were scared of a little yelling.