Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Maeklong Railway Market (Thailand, Bangkok)

Maeklong Railway Market
Three weeks before my trip to Bangkok, I spotted a Half-Day Damnoen Saduak Floating Market & Mae Klong Railway Market Tour deal on Deal.com.sg. I was elated as I have been wanting to visit both places. With this deal, I was able to solve all the logistic issues as both places are more than an hour away from where I was staying; Baiyoke Boutique Hotel - Bangkok. After consulting those traveling together with me on this trip, I bought the deal which cost S$26 (624 Baht) per pax.

After purchasing the deal, arrangements were made for the local guide to pick us up at our hotel. The pick up time is typically 7am to 730am.

The Maeklong Railway Market is located in Samut Songkhram is 37 miles (60 km) west of Bangkok. The travelling time from our hotel to this station took around 1 hour 15 minutes (subjected to traffic conditions). In Thai, it is called ตลาดแม่กลอง (Talad Rom Hoop) which when translated means 'Market Umbrella Pulldown'. The Maeklong Railway Market is probably one of the most famous (and unique) open air market in Thailand; popular among locals and tourists. The market is open daily. It is not famous because of the products available, but because a railway train runs right through the market daily - seven times a day! 
Maeklong Railway Station
The tour guide first brought us to the Maeklong Railway Station where the train from Ban Laem Station would stop over for a period of 15 to 20 minutes.
Maeklong Railway Station
It is important to visit the station as it would give an accurate timing of the train arrival. The rough schedule of the train can be seen through the white notice board. However, that schedule is subjected to changes. A more accurate timing was reflected on the red board. As shown on the above photo, the train would arrive at 8.55am. As we arrived at 845am, we had 10 minutes (sufficient time) to make our way to the market which was just next to the train station.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej
The portrait of King Bhumibol Adulyadej; King of Thailand. You can find smaller portraits of the king and the royal family in many Thai places (e.g. restaurants, malls, shops).
Maeklong Railway Market
Upon entering the Maeklong Railway Market, you may notice that it looks just like a normal market with awnings / umbrellas extending out of the shops so that the market is sheltered. A busy thriving market.

There were different varieties of vegetables, fishes, seafood, shellfish, oysters, meat, fruits, spices, handicrafts and even toys available in the market.
Maeklong Railway Market
Well, if you still thought that it looked like a normal market, you will notice that in the above photo, the railway track is actually the pavement which people are using to access the market. It really does look like a normal pavement! The only tell tale sign is the two pieces of metal rail which are at times covered by goods. As you can see, the walking way is actually quite tight and narrow.

Before the train arrives, there would be two 'warnings', both in the form of sirens.
After first siren
After the first siren (five minutes before the train was to arrive) was sounded, a stream of people in the market (mostly tourist) started walking past us as they went about looking for a safe spot to stand. The kiasu and kiasi ones like me would have already chope secure found a safe spot to stand.
The market looked more empty as all the tourist either moved to the sides or move out towards the Maeklong Railway Station. Only the experienced vendors and locals continued with their normal routine as if nothing was going to happen.
After second siren
Once the second siren was sounded. The vendors in the market started moving their stuff that were of a certain height away from the tracks. In addition, they had to shift the awnings / umbrellas. Everything went like clockwork as it was a daily routine for these vendors.
Maeklong Railway Market came to a standstill as the vendors held on to the poles supporting their awnings / umbrellas.
Once everyone got the first sight of the train, there was a sudden and continuous burst of shutter sound!
This was the reason! The background shows the Maeklong Railway Station. Look at the crowd gathered  just in front of the station! Everyone was waiting for the 'star' to 'walk' down the red carpet hoping to get the best shot!
View of the train as it was approaching
The vendors had gone through such routine so many times that they were all experts in this. Some of them left their goods (of a certain height) right next to the track!
Back view of the train that just went past
The train past dangerously close to everyone. Another step forward, we would have been run over by the train. In fact as the train went past us, I overheard someone shrieking 'Oh my god, oh my god, so close!'.

After the train went past, the market was transformed back to its original form in a flash and everyone continued with their usual activities.

So what happened to the train? Well, it was parked at Maeklong Railway Station, where it would stop over for a short while (around 20 minutes) before making its way through the market (again) to Ban Laem Station.
We went on board the train for a short duration to take photos of the interior of the train. Do be careful as the steps were steep and the floor of the train was wet (as it rained at around 8am).
That's all for the Maeklong Railway Market! We continued on with the tour to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market! Watch out for it in the subsequent post!

Maeklong Railway Market (Thailand, Bangkok)
Kasem Sukhum Road, Mae Klong
Samut Songkhram 75000, Thailand

View FoodieFC's Thailand Map in a larger map


  1. Passed by this place but didn't explore in depth as you did. We were more keen in our tour to Saduak Floating market and the best was how were were transported in the boat to reach the place.

    1. I went to the floating market too! Will post on that by end of this week =)

  2. didn't go Chatuchak Weekend Market?

    1. Yes, I went. Will post about it towards the end of this series of Bangkok posts.

    2. which hotel did you stay at? can you post directions & how to get to chatuchak? thanks

    3. I stayed at Baiyoke Boutique Hotel (10 mins from Platinum Mall).
      Chatuchak market is at:
      Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road
      Chatuchak, Bangkok, Thailand

      You can take the train via MRT Blue Line, stop at Kamphaengphet station. or Mo Chit station of the BTS Skytrain Sukhumvit Line. Actually you can just take a cab. Take the pink cabs (they are more willing to on meter compared to other taxi coys)

      For location of the map, pls refer to https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=204978209743035192784.0004e048ba50f5ab00e4e&msa=0&ll=13.800928,100.549686&spn=0.013566,0.01929

      Visit during weekend when most stalls are open. If you need more info, drop me an email. Its easier to communicate via that mode.

      hope this helps!

  3. Gosh, I've heard so much about Maeklong Railway Market & always wanted to visit just to experience the thrill! Hahaha! Sounds real fun! Love the post!

    1. Yes, it was fun! Had to experience it once for myself =)

  4. Hi FoodieFC,

    I also purchase the same deal and will be going BKK next month. Is the guide friendly and easy to converse with?? Thanks in advance for your kind assistance :)

    1. Kathleen,

      yes, the guide was professional, friendly and provided great service. He spoke English and was a safe driver. Our guide's name was Vorn.


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