Everyone who visited Bangkok says that Maeklong Railway Market is a must-see market. But how bizarre can it be?
Ever since my first visit to Bangkok, Thailand back in 2011, I have always wanted to visit Maeklong Railway Market. Everyone who has been to the City of Angels told me that it is a must to visit the Market. I went to Bangkok in 2011, 2013 and 2015 but never set foot on Maeklong Railway Market. For one, it is not situated exactly in the city, so I did not have the courage to venture that far to visit it.
However, during my trip to Hua Hin with Amira and my daughter, I kept thinking about Maeklong Railway Market. After all, it is just around two hours drive from Hua Hin and the road is toll-free. So, after telling Amira about my long held dream, we decided to visit Maeklong Railway Market after our visit to Phra Nakhon Kiri National Museum.
What is Maeklong Railway Market?
Maeklong Railway Market, as its name suggest, is a market on a railway track. It has been there for years. According to what I understand, the traders do not want to move even after a railway track was built. As a consequence, the Market is now sitting on an active railway track and the traders conduct their businesses on the railway track.
Since it is a fully operating railway track, trains will be passing by the Market a few times in a day. When that happens, the traders will have to move their belongings away from the track to let the trains pass. Once the train has passed, business will resume as usual on the railway track.
Without the train around, the Market is just a usual bustling local market selling local produces. While the locals usually come here to buy their food supplies, most tourists are here for the surreal experience of catching the train cutting across the Market.
How to get to the Market?
There are several ways for you to get to Maeklong Railway Market. Apart from the tours, if you are from Bangkok, you can get here by bus. However, the more adventurous option would be to take the train from Bangkok. If you intend to take a train from Bangkok, you can take the train from Wongwian Yai Railway Station (near the BTS station on the BTS Silom line). It takes around 2.5 hours. You will need to change trains and cross the river by ferry at Mahachai Station (Mahachai Pier). Then, continue your journey at Ban Laem Railway Station straight on into Maeklong.
Alternatively, if you are from Hua Hin and are thinking of visiting Maeklong Railway Market, it is just an easy two hours drive. You just have to follow the signs heading towards Bangkok. Once you see an Exit to Highway 35 (Samut Songkhram), take the exit. The Market is just a few minutes drive away from there.
What time will the trains run at Maeklong Railway Market?
This is one of the most important questions for anyone who plans to visit the Market. If you arrive at the wrong time, you will be left disappointed. Even when we went to the Market, it was a gamble. We did not check the train schedule prior to our visit. We were already happy when we saw the Market with its bizarre concept. Then, it struck us. When will the train arrives?
Luckily, we went to this one coffee house which posted the train schedule on its wall. I looked at my watch and noticed that the train will arrived in 30 minutes times. So, we decided to drink some cha yen or iced tea while waiting.
30 minutes was not that long when you are waiting for something that you have been eager to see for years. I peeked out and saw the traders starting to fold their umbrellas, pulling their baskets and asking everyone to stand behind the line. Then, I heard a long honk and a few minutes later, there it was, a train slowly running onto the tracks. heading towards where I stood.
All the reviews, articles, photos and videos about Maeklong Railway Market that I have read or watched prior to this visit were nothing close compared to the first-hand experience itself. As I mentioned earlier, the experience was totally bizarre, surreal and at the same time, satisfying.
It was amazing to see how the traders gauge the distance between the train and their stalls that they managed to do it easily within seconds. It was also surreal to feel the train so close to me as it passes the Market. Never before in my life had I experienced something like this. In fact, after the train left, everything was back to normal with a blink of an eye. Words simply cannot describe the experience that I had.
Video of the train running through Maeklong Railway Market
Since it was too amazing and great things are meant to be shared, I embed a video of the train running through Maeklong Railway Market so you can have a feel of the wonderful experience that I had.
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