Located 75 km away from downtown Bangkok, Maeklong Railway Market is a unique Thai market that you should not miss when visiting Thailand. It certainly stands out among all the Thai markets. Why? Because it has a train running through it several times a day, right down the middle and close enough to touch. Hahah! Only in Thailand! 😬
Maeklong Railway Market
This market has literally everything that we’ve seen in Thai markets – fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, snacks, clothing, shoes as well as flowers. There are also food and drink stalls. At first glance, it looks like just another market in Thailand, but it’s the train🚊passing through that most people want to see.
Just a few minutes before the train arrives, a warning bell goes off over the speaker system. Then, the vendors will pull back their poles and umbrellas, pack their stuffs away from the track to avoid being hit by the train. Within 3 mins, the busy market with stalls so close to each other and high human traffic quickly transforms into a previously-unimaginable amount of space to allow the train to pass by. 😮
The train goes from Ban Laem Station in Bangkok to Maeklong Station (through the middle of the market) four times a day, and in both directions. Hence, there are eight opportunities every day to watch the market vendor’s umbrellas close and re-open to make space for the train.
I can’t believe this happens 8 times a day! Interesting, isn’t it? 😀
While the vendors are busy packing their stuffs, the tourists will find the perfect spot and angle to capture the oncoming train. The train’s horn announces its arrival and that’s the sound you can’t ignore. Although this isn’t a fast-moving train, everyone must stay clear of the tracks when the train is coming (for their own safety).
Here’s a short video of the train passing through the market.
Warning: The horn might be loud so turn down your volume!
Once the train passed, the vendors immediately and quite nonchalantly, “undo” all their actions – poles are dropped down, umbrellas are opened, baskets are taken out again. The actions began almost immediately. Everyone returns to normal as if nothing extraordinary has ever happened and it’s hard to believe that tons of metal just rumbled its way through.
That’s the coolest thing about this market, I must say. It adjusts itself and perfectly encapsulates the train as it passes through. The umbrellas are pulled back only as far as necessary. The fresh produces are shifted just enough so as not to be sliced by the train metal wheels. Visitors and vendors stand daringly close to the train. 😮 The distance is just a few centimeters away. Tell me where else in the world you can see this, hahah!
Maeklong Railway Market Train Schedule 2018
Departing from Maeklong Station
6:20 am 9:00 am 11:30 am 3:30 pm
Arriving at Maeklong Station
8:30 am 11:10 am 2:30 pm 5:40 pm
These are the times the train is expected to pass through the market.
Getting to Maeklong Railway Market
The Maeklong Railway Market is about 75 km away from Bangkok. It’s approximately an hour drive. There are several ways to get to this market:
- Book a private taxi
- Take a public van from Sai Tai Kao Pinklao Bus Station
- Join a tour
We would recommend Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour + Maeklong Railway Market Tour (Half Day) from Trazy. It includes hotel pick-up and drop-off, English-speaking guide and long-tail boat ride at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. You can read about our visit to the floating market HERE.
If you have not heard of Trazy, it’s a one stop travel booking website where you can easily find the latest and trendiest things to do in Korea and Thailand at the best price. From travel activities, tours, performance and concert tickets, as well as passes to beauty make-up experiences, Trazy offers hassle-free tours where you can travel with ultimate comfort and convenience.
Our driver picked us up at 7:00 am. We reached Maeklong Railway Market at 8:30 am, just in time to see the 9:00 am train arrival. There’s also an option for you to ride on the train in this tour. We spent about an hour here before we left for Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, which is just a short drive away. The tour ended at 2:00 pm when the driver dropped us off at our hotel. It was an enjoyable tour, definitely not rushed, and comfortable in a clean mini-van. I highly recommend it! 👍🏻
My Concluding Thoughts
This market is a one-of-a-kind experience that you should not miss when visiting Thailand. It’s particularly easy to reach since it’s close to Bangkok. Personally, I find that the most unique part of the experience is the nonchalant manner that the vendors execute their well-drilled routine when the train passes by. Like some kind of standard operating procedures. 😄
But considering that they go through this 8 times a day, 56 times a week, 240 times a month, and up to 2920 times a year, they are already “immune” to it. Needless to say, it’s a very interesting experience for Edison. He was so curious at whether the train will crush on the fresh produces that were so closely laid next to the track. Obviously, they didn’t get crushed. Hahah!
For me, it’s such a thrill to be able to take pictures and video of an oncoming train at such close proximity. Last but not least, we left the market with an unanswered question from Edison: “Thailand is so big, why they want to squeeze a train track in middle of a busy market?” 😏 Well, obviously, to make it stands out among the thousands of markets in Thailand..