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Thoughts of a wandering soul The "IT WAS TIME" Trip!

Amphawa market

THAILAND | Saturday, 8 December 2012 | Views [426]

The next morning (25 Nov) it's still wet, but not raining.

I decide I'm not eating prison food (aka dry, sticky toast) so we head out.

We stop at a diner and Adrian orders a big breakfast and I steal a piece of "real" toast from him. I even get butter and strawberry jam! Oooh! Butter! Yum!

He asks if I want any tea and I'm about to say no, but then think maybe it will keep stomach and headaches away, so I have a cup. It's plain black tea and I can't believe how much of it I've drunk on this trip. Like I said - all those things I "couldn't" do or "wouldn't" do are fast flying out the window. We catch a taxi bus to the place where we need to catch the minivan from to get to the Amphawa market.

The minivan itself is set in a market of sorts. Immediately I'm distracted and want to check out everything.

There's a particular kind of sweet that reminds me of the kind we have in India - I think it's called "moori" - puffed rice mixed with warm cane suger (jaggery) and made into balls. I've always loved these when they're just made and still warm and sticky and chewy. Not so much when they go cold and become crunchy, even though that's how they're supposed to be eaten.

These sweets in the market look the same except they're disc like in shape. They'll have them at the market, Adrian informs me. Okay, plus it's not like I'd eat an entire packet. I only want one!

We get in the minivan and after about 10 minutes of waiting for the van to fill up, we're off! And about five minutes into our journey, it starts to rain. Gah! I'm most distressed, but as we leave Bangkok & head towards our first destination Mae Klong and the sun comes out, I'm infinitely happier.

Ridiculously, in fact! I dunno why, but I'm so happy I want to clap my hands and shout. I miss Miss Pooh - I could totally have done that with her around. With Adrian and a van full of strangers, I'm not so sure. I settle for telling him how excited I am. He seems amused.

We finally reach the city of Mae Klong and get into another taxi bus. And it's actually quite amazing how many people you can fit on one of these things. We have several school girls all hanging off the back, and a few stops down, a lady who looks to be transporting her entire restaurant with bags of vegies and dishes of cooked food in giant steel bowls gets on.

Finally we alight at the market. It seems huge and there's a mass traffic jam. Thankfully we wind our way between the cars quite easily and reach the stalls. I recognise some of the biscuits as the type brought back by staff who went to business trips to Thailand at my previous work.

But then - the real food starts! There's massive woks on either side of the lane I'm walking down and I eagerly check out everything. All the sights and the smells! Everything smells so good!

I wait for the usual disgusting market smell at some point, but it doesn't come. It all smells different, but delicious.

There are also all kinds of fruit (and goodness knows what else!) preserved in sugar syrup. I swear, one pack contained what looked like slugs! There are shredded vegetables and fried meats. In fact in some places, there are just raw meats.

There are sweets and candies and I exclaim as I recognise some candy I used to eat in Singapore. I want to stop and try everything, but the crowd around me makes it impossible. For now I try and move slowly devouring everything with my eyes. We get to the end of the lane and Adrian asks what I want to do. Doesn't he know me at all? Eat!

We walk along the river where there are boats docked, cooking everything you could hope for! People sit on the side, on tables made for children - the children of dwarves!

Even I have trouble sitting - my knees are almost around my ears! But we order the food and when it comes, all other thoughts flee.

We have river prawns, which look HUGE with their long legs and feelers. The actual body of the prawn is smaller in comparison. I break off the head and know I should suck it, but just cannot bring myself to do so. I notice Adrian doesn't either.

But the prawn bodies are big and firm and taste delicious. The dipping sauce we've been given is good - not as good as the heavenly chicken one - but good nonetheless.

We've also got squid - which I've never been a fan of, and unfortunately it still doesn't do anything for me. I let Adrian eat most of it.

We also have Pad Thai which is interesting as just before serving, the lady cooking it dumps a generous sprinkling of peanuts and sugar onto it. It's nice, but not the sugared parts which are too sweet.

I think there were four prawns and I wait til Adrian has finished shelling the last one. Then while he's distracted for a moment, I grab it out of his hand, dunk it in the sauce and take a big bite. It's just too delicious and he can get it here any time I point out.

You're gonna pay for that, he warns me. It tastes so good I almost believe him. We finish and continue checking out the market.

There are a lot of tshirts. And more food. And fruit & vegetables.

It's also getting quite warm so Adrian decides to get an ice cream. I'm not sure how it will be, so I don't order. He's about to get chocolate but then at the last minute changes to coffee - one of my favourite flavours.

The guy piles on what looks like the biggest ice cream cone ever!

Surely Adrian can't finish it all by himself!

I eat some of it to make it easier for him. It is delicious!

We walk along some more and I turn around and the ice cream is melting quite fast.

Oh no, poor Adrian can't eat it fast enough, so I help him out by eating some more.

He doesn't seem as appreciative as I expect.

In fact, next time I turn to help, he holds it out of reach.

Hmf! I jump up and down like a little kid without even realising!

Clearly Adrian thinks so 'cause he lowers it and let's me take another bite.

I bite into the cone for good measure as well.

Eventually the ice cream is finished and we come across the oddest looking things - Nipple Ice Cream!

It's these little rubber balloons filled with ice cream, with a "nipple" kind of protrusion that the lady snips off to release the ice cream. It looks so cool, I want one.

They have a flavour called vodka lychee which sounds interesting but I'm not convinced I would like it or eat it all.

I settle for vanilla butterscotch and convince Adrian to get one as well. I don't have to try very hard.

He gets the vodka lychee. We suck and swap and suck and swap until we're almost at the end of the market.

I'm ready to go home. I tell him we still have plans for Skybar and dinner. Yes, good point.

On the way back, the minivan runs directly to Bangkok. We have almost an hour's wait before the van is due to come. I could explore more, but I'm tired and it's very hot.

So we sit and I watch the girl who sold us the ticket and I swear she's some long lost cousin of Lawrence Fishburne (Morpheus from Matrix).

Once in the van, we are so thankful for the fan, but the couple next to us immediately pull out jackets and hide under them! Ha! So this is what I appear like to people in Australia! The trip back seems long and it starts to rain again. I fall asleep and wake up occasionally to ask if we're there yet.

Finally we get back to the city and we decide to get dinner before heading home. But it's a long and convoluted trip involving the taxi bus, a real bus and then a cab - but only 'cause it's raining and we don't have an umbrella else we would have walked.

Oh, when we get off at the bus stop, Adrian's not convinced that we're at the right place so he goes to check with the stationmaster. I see him ask a question and then the stationmaster takes his hand, either like a little kid or a lover, I can't decide which one, and takes him over to the map board.

Umm...okay...should I leave? Should I stay? Before I can decide, Adrian turns around and comes back. Yup, we're at the right place. We wait for a cab, but no one seems to want to stop. Poor Adrian stands in the rain while I'm at the bus steps under shelter. I offer to swap, but he declines. Finally a cab arrives and we're off to the promised dinner of seafood.

We arrive at what looks like a giant warehouse wrapped in clear plastic with lots of tables and rain and puddles everywhere.


We finally acquire a table and Adrian points out the dish he wants to order for us.

Yes, it looks like baby vomit, but it tastes really good.

No, he's not really selling it, but by now I've learnt to trust his taste in Thai food.

Unfortunately they've run out of crab meat for the dish that costs 270 Bhat, but we can order it with actual crab in shell which would be 700 bhat! Okay, so no crab.

We order it with prawns instead and also black pepper grouper.

The food arrives pretty quick and we waste no time fighting over the giant mushroom in the grouper dish with our forks.

Then the prawn dish, yes, it does look like baby vomit, but tastes delicious. It's like a less sweet version of panang curry with a soft scrambled egg kind of mixture through it.

He takes the last prawn as well. Boo! This is all to get back at me for this afternoon! No, it was an honest mistake he insists.

Finally we finish and he says a taxi from there to home will be about 150 bhat. I don't care I tell him, let's get one. I'm too tired to bus and whatever it. Turns out it only costs us 100 bhat!

It's been a long day, and I'm a touch disappointed that tomorrow will be my last day. For a fleeting moment I think I could live here, but the thought is gone almost as soon as I think it. It's time to pack and get all my scattered clothes in order again.

I go to sleep for the last night in Thailand.

Tags: amphawa market, river prawns, seafood

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