Originally posted: February'2011
Last updated: Nil
One of the highlights in Amphawa is to enjoy an evening boat ride on the river Mae Klong. But first things first, I'm always skeptical about all these guided tours. I remembered once we were holidaying in Taipei, we booked an one-day city tour but a ginseng presentation cum fair was miraculously included in our itinerary! And then there was my very first overseas trip to Penang and Ipoh (in Malaysia), we are made to visit leather and jewelery boutiques. Admittedly, those were yesteryear's, but I doubt things have gotten any better.
Contrary to my past experiences, the Amphawa river tour has only one mundane objective which is to provide city-pumpkins, like us, a chance to watch fireflies. The 1.5hrs long-tail boat ride we booked, suffice it to say is safe (life vests were provided), slow moving and full of novelties. Also, more importantly, we were not coaxed into visiting any gem factory or souvenir shops. The entire experience was largely positive.
** Booking of River Tour **I do not know how many river-tour operators are there in Amphawa, but I find the one we engaged to be reliable. The long-tail boat set-off on time, there are onboard life vests provided and the embarkation point is just around the corner from the shop.
Pointer : If you plan to return to Bangkok on the same day, it is important that you pick the earliest timing so that there is ample time to catch the last departing van/bus. For obvious reason, the 90-minutes firefly-watching trip couldn't commence too early.
We booked our tickets from this counter. You can find them next to the concrete bridge.
The boat ride costs 60B (~S$2.50) / pax and our ride starts at 18:30hrs.
** Itinerary **
The river tour is rather straightforward. Shortly after leaving the disembarkation point, we arrived at our first stop - Wat Chula Manee, a Buddhist temple built by the bank of Mae Klong river. We were given 10-15 minutes to visit this temple. The ordination hall of Wat Chula Manee is a must-see. The hall is small but very impressive.
Pointer : Do not miss the image of a young standing Buddha. It is a rare sight.
Below is an Youtube clip of Chula Manee temple I found on the net.
The sky becomes noticeably darker at 7+pm when we left the temple. With the starry night as backdrops, the firefly-watching tour is officially commenced! The boat gliding slowly and very close to the bank. The boatman stops at every opportunity available for us to marvel at the luminous bugs which dot the mangrove swamp like rows of flickering Christmas lights. I've plotted the route on Google Map (see below). You can see that the boat is actually making a big loop around Amphawa and eventually returned to the point where we set off.
Pointer : Statistically (and habitually, perhaps), the longtail-boat tends to cruise and stop on the starboard side. So you know where are the best seats!
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