The Flooding of Amphawa

While some guests were in town, we took a trip to Amphawa, a town in Thailand’s smallest province, Samut Songkhram, to visit the weekend evening floating market that is there.  We arrived late afternoon and had no trouble hiring a long-tail boat and heading out on a tour of the khlongs, or canals, of the province. 

For those of you who have never been, here is a three-minute video with commentary to give you a sense of what such a boat ride is like.

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Above, a flower vendor about to set out for the market.

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One of the buildings at Wat (temple) Chulamanee.  This building, interestingly enough, was not the main Buddha image hall.  Instead, it was a recently built building that houses the remains of the temple’s former head monk, who was apparently highly revered.

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Inside the building there is an altar like display, a wax effigy of the monk, and his mummified body in a glass coffin.  Uncommon as in Buddhism bodies are normally cremated, but I’ve seen this a few times before.

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Wat Bang Khae Noi, another temple on the western shore of the Mae Khlong River.  This one has beautiful teak carvings on the interior walls depicting the stories of the Buddha’s previous lives.

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A new, more modern arrangement of statues at the temple, overlooking the river.  The kneeling figures are not Buddhas but are disciples, praying to the Buddha image in the center.  On the right is the depiction of a Buddhist angel.  This display wasn’t here last time I was at this temple a year or so ago.

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Bruce and Howie enjoying their ride along the river.

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Sunset along the Mae Khlong River.  (Note that this is not the same as the Ma Kong River, which runs between Thailand and Laos and Thailand and Cambodia.

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The flooding in Samut Songkhram province has been very severe.  They had just experienced three days of heavy storms and the water level was very high.  To get an idea of just how high, notice that in the picture above, the customers at the floating food stalls are sitting on benches that go down one or two steps.  Compare that to the picture below, taken in July, when there were at least ten or twelve steps above the water, consistent with where I’ve seen it on all my previous visits.

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