The area around the Amphawa Floating Market in Samut Songkram is full of small traditional homestays. However, nestled on the banks of the Mae Klong river and tucked in along the neighboring canals, they can be a bit difficult to find. A Google search will return pages upon pages of results, most of which are written in Thai. After sifting through a battery of websites, I finally landed on one with a short and enticing English translation, The Ploen Amphawa Homestay.
Their short description revealed a location directly on the canal at the opposite end of the market, 5 rooms available for rent ( both deluxe and standard), lots of local charm and a quick and easy bank transfer to secure a room.
The exterior of the homestay is unassuming and humble. Tall, floor to ceiling wooden doors, slippers lining the entrance and vintage decor give it a relaxed old-fashioned vibe. The matron greeting guests in the lobby sits behind a small desk with a welcoming Thai smile while kids play, splash and make waves in the canal, adding to the family environment.
A standard 2 person room on a regular non-holiday weekend is 1,400 Baht ($47) per night. The price includes a small breakfast of hot chocolate, tea and coffee along with ‘all you can eat’ Pa Thong Ko (fried Thai doughnuts) and steaming bowls of noodle soup from a floating vendor.
Each room comes with a large queen bed, refrigerator (with complementary bottles of water), TV and pillowed sitting area, private bathroom with shower and toilet and a WiFi connection. The doors to each room open to a nice view of the canal with your own private resting area. If you’d like to keep the doors open and enjoy the breeze, but keep peering passers-by out, each room comes with a standing curtain for additional privacy.
The location at the quieter end of the canal is peaceful, and it’s just a short walk to the heart of the market. A few cafes are close by and spring to life in the evening and the rooms here are in close proximity to enjoy the music, food and local nightlife.
In the morning monks make the rounds for alms and for an additional 60 Baht ($2.00) the homestay will create a basket of foods which you can offer to them when they come by. There aren’t many early risers and being so close to the Monks on a one-on-one basis as they walk and paddle by makes for quite a unique experience.
The homestay also offers additional services such as traditional Thai massage, transportation to activities in the area and bookings for an evening firefly boat cruise. The firefly boat cruise is a local tradition and definitely should not be missed.
Combining a visit to the market with a stay at a homestay offers a fun insight into what simple living was, and still is, like outside the big city. If you plan to head to Amphawa it’s best to try and book 2 weeks in advance as rooms fill up quickly with Bangkokians looking for a calm weekend retreat.