Samut Songkhram is the smallest province in Thailand by area. It is just barely outside of the Metropolitan Bangkok Area, but much of it is rural. The Mae Khlong River cuts through the center of the province and feeds into lots of smaller canals. Much of the province is comprised of coconut plantations irrigated by these canals. Along the coast, ponds take in seawater to be evaporated and Samut Songkhram is a major producer of sea salt in Thailand.
The province is best known for its floating markets, and for the famous Mae Khlong Railway Market. It makes a great day trip from Bangkok and an even better overnight excursion.
There is enough to do in Samut Songkhram that we really recommend it for all types of travelers.
By bus – There is frequent bus service to Samut Songkhram from the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok.
By car – It is a straight shot right down Rama II road (basically a highway) into the center of Samut Songkhram and quite an easy drive.
By train – Going by train to Samut Songkhram is a great way to travel, but it’s not the most straightforward. You have to take two train lines, neither of which connect to the country’s main rail network. Start at Wong Wian Yai Railway Station in Bangkok, which is near the Wong Wian Yai BTS Skytrain station. From there take a train to Samut Sakhon (a province next to Samut Songkhram and with a very similar name). From the station there, you have to take a ferry over the river, then catch another train at the Bahn Laem Railway Station. This line has four trains per day in each direction, all of which pass through the famous Mae Khlong Railway Market.
Where to stay
We find our accommodation on Booking.com by first searching for the town or province and our dates, we then filter out any rooms with a score lower than 7 or 8 (depending on availability) as well as any rooms out of our budget. After this, we open the map and hover over all of the pins in the rough location we already decided we want to stay in. Hovering over the pins gives us the price for x nights plus the review score. We click on each pin to open those hotels in a new tab, review them and book our favorite.
Samut Songkhram has plenty of tuk-tuks and motorbike taxis to take you anywhere you need to go. It’s not uncommon to see Bangkok meter taxis here. There are also plenty of private cars with drivers for hire if you ask at any hotel.
What to do
See life in a fishing village at Khlong Khon – Twenty minutes outside the city, the village of Khlong Khon has done some innovative things around tourism. You can tour the mangrove forests by boat and see the hundreds of crab-eating macaque monkeys that live there. There are also oyster farms, tidal flats full of cockles, and a fun activity they call retro wakeboarding. See our guide to Khlong Khon wakeboarding for more information.
Visit a floating market – Samut Songkhram is most famous for its floating markets. The best-known is Amphawa which takes place from Friday to Sunday every week. Damnoen Saduak is technically in Ratchaburi Province but it’s not far away, and it’s open every day. Amphawa is very touristy but not so bad. Damnoen Saduak is a tourist trap that we avoid. If you really want to see a great floating market, Tha Kha Floating Market is the hidden gem of Samut Songkhram Province but is only open Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Check out the Mae Khlong Railway Market – This is definitely not an “unseen” attraction like it once was. It’s actually quite crowded here now when the train passes through, but we still found it worth a quick look. Check out our Mae Khlong Railway Market guide to see how to get the most out of a visit.
If you’d like to visit any of the above attractions but prefer a tour format, we highly recommend booking through the company Take Me Tour. You can view their Samut Songkhram tours here. Take Me Tour is a central booking engine than handles customer service and payments, and all the guides are local experts. Because the guides are dependent on maintaining a high rating, the tours are nearly always very good.
Head up to Bangkok, or follow the coast south into Phetchaburi which we find to be one of Thailand’s more underrated provinces.