Amazing Maeklong Railway Market,Thailand
Amazing Maeklong Railway Market ,Thailand
Aside from all the unique and alluring destinations await you in Thailand, a visit to the local Thai market, will get you a taste of real Thai life. One of the amazing markets, the Maeklong Railway Market or Talad Rom Hoop (= Talad Market, Rome = awning or parasol, and Hoop = pull down), based in the city Maeklong district in Samut Songkram province.
Maeklong Market,located in the city of Maeklong district in Samut Songkram province, 75 km southwest of Bangkok, exists for decades. It stayed relatively unimpaired until the later establishment of the Maeklong Railway and, as opposed to what you might see in the United States and in other parts of the globe, there was no eminent domain Act that compels market vendors to move.
Eight times a day, the merchants must interfere with their business, quickly pull down the thatched their shops, drag their goods inside, then stand against their shop fronts breathing - to let a train go by. That is right, a train. A large, steel, rail travel fairly quickly, straight through the middle of the mall. Sounds strange?
Amazing Maeklong Railway Market
Welcome to Mae Klong railway market in a small town in Thailand. The town of Mae Klong is about 72 kilometeres or a casual trip to the south-west of Bangkok. Mae Klong is the local name of Samut Songkhram, the capital of Samut Songkhram province and district. The market is in the center of town, the last 100 meters before the station. More surreal in a casual sort of way, like a movie set. The only place to go in the middle of a rather narrow rail. Small stalls line both sides of each piece of real estate is available used, less plastic bowl of Thai vegetables and colorful fruit including rambutans and mangosteens, piled right steel rails. What happens if the train is through
The market is your veritable one-stop-shop. Spectacular fresh-cut flowers, every fruit and vegetable you can imagine, fragrant spices, cuts of meat, poultry and seafood so fresh, it was being persuaded to stop flapping about by an earnest man wielding a lump of wood. There are kids' toys, clothes, lingerie, thongs of both varieties, dodgy DVDs -- you name it. Makeshift awnings -- tarpaulins, even a bedspread -- cover the stalls. They combine to give the market a temporary roof that is quite low, so I had to stoop to walk through. It was fairly dark under the awnings, with a pungent buffet of unrefrigerated fish, meat and cut fruit, garnished with spices.
Some stalls are essential, others are set correctly. Some people does not have stalls, just sitting beside the tracks with fruit laid at their feet. Then it happened, the shopkeepers quietly, but quickly started folding down their awnings. Most were held up by simple and effective designed poles. The product trays were dragged in, some high-tech version had wheels. It was a chain reaction and it is strange because I have not heard a train whistle or horn, but the timetable set quite well.
The train rounded the corner and roared in the market. There are only inches to spare train and goods on the ground. The two carriages were past in a flash of grey and yellow and milliseconds later, the shopkeepers were on the tracks putting up the awnings, even before the train had disappeared from view. It was as though nothing had happened.
How to reach Maeklong
Maeklong is appx. 70km from Bangkok, but the train is going to do to feel more and more. During the tour of the two train journeys, punctuated by a ferry ride.
The train departs from Wong Wian Yai station which is is near the King Taksin Statue on the non-touristic side of the river in Thonburi which is about 20 minutes run..
The station has only one track that goes along the side of a small lane, so it is not an exact station to find. From here you can take the train to the end of the line at Mahachai.
This train arrives at Mahachai after about an hour. At Mahachai, exit left of the train, then turn right into the market street. It's a fishing port where you will see seafood everywhere. Walk to the end of the street and on your left you will see the river and the ferry terminal.
You now catch the ferry across the river to Ban Laem. At Ban Laem walk through the market and at the street entrance, turn right. Keeping walking down this street for about 10 minutes and you will get to the station. Once again it is a one track station, so the station is not that obvious. This is the train that will take you to Maeklong.
This train also takes 1 hour, and the trip through the market is right at the end, just before the station. It takes about 2 minutes to get through the market. You should start seeing the outer urban area of Maeklong at about 55 minutes, so that would be the time to get ready if you are going to take photos.
I also noticed that a tour group got on the train at the station before Maeklong. They would have been part of a bus tour going somewhere else, and it would certainly be a less time consuming way to do the trip. I haven't seen this advertised anywhere though.
Planning Your Trip
There are only 4 trains a day to Maeklong, so you really need to plan your day here. This is the timetable from Ban Laem to Maeklong.
Ban Laem to Maeklong Timetable
From Ban Laem and from Maeklong
If you get the 13.30 train to Maeklong, then you won't see the train going through the market as you will be back on it as the last train to Bangkok.
The best timing is the following schedule:
8.40 Dep Bangkok Wong Wian Yai
9.30 Arr Mahachai
-Ferry River Crossing--
10.10 Dep Ban Laem
11.10 Arr Maeklong
At Maeklong the station is at the end of the market. You now have 20 minutes to walk through the market and find a good spot to watch the train come through.
11.30 Train departs Maeklong and goes through the market.
You now have 3 hours in Maeklong until the next train arrives. Seafood is a specialty here, so you could look for a nice seafood lunch. That will take up about 41 minutes. After that there's not alot else to do in Maeklong, but hey, you are an intrepid traveller, I'm sure you will make your own adventures.
2.30 Train goes through market again, arrives at Maeklong Station.
3.30 Train leaves Maeklong. Last train to Bangkok. Make sure you're on it.
This schedule will allow you to see the train going in and out of the station, while you are in the market. If you are a professional photographer - or a train spotter - you could get the 7.30 train from Ban Laem, which would give you another two times to see the market run. That would mean a really early start from Bangkok, which is above and beyond the call of duty really.
As you will see from the videos, I was able to film from beside the drivers window when going through the market. The driver and conductor were quite accommodating to passengers who were riding just to see the market. By the way, there were just as many Thai tourists taking photos on the train as there were western tourists, so you wont feel like a total dork.
The train back will get you back to bangkok at around 6pm, making it a full day out day trip
Peoples shopping before the train arrival.
Shopkeepers arranging their shops for train passing.
Train passing from the market
Peoples Shopping at Maeklong Market
Video before the arrival of train.
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