This might just be the most unique and interesting market we came across in Thailand. The Maeklong Railway Market is a traditional Thai market, that sells fresh food, fruits and vegetables. There’s just one thing though – it is located right on a train line!
Eight times a day, a train actually runs straight through the middle of the market. As the train approaches, the vendors lining either side of the tracks pull some of their tables and products back from the tracks and lower their umbrella to let the train pass.
Some of the fruits and vegetables that are in small baskets on the floor and even in between the tracks don’t even get moved, and the train runs seamlessly over them. Incredibly, nothing is damaged or broken and no one is startled, and as soon as the train passes, vendors continue selling as normal.
What To Expect at the Maeklong Railway Market
If you’re visiting for the first time, take a walk along the train tracks and check out as much of the market as you can. There are so many interesting smells and foods to experience at the market, with lots of fresh fish and meat and fruit of all colours.
You will hear the train long before you actually see it, as it moves incredibly slowly through the market. Stall vendors start to very calmly move their goods out of the way of the train and start to pull down their umbrellas that cover the tracks. As the train horn gets louder and you can see the train approaching, make sure you find yourself a good position and settle in and get some amazing photos.
The vendors of the market are surprisingly patient with all the tourists and visitors at the market, and will let you know if you’re not in a good position for when the train is coming. Make sure you listen to the locals to ensure you’re not in the way of their umbrellas or in the line of the train! The train moves along the tracks slowly, but you definitely don’t want to be standing in the wrong spot.
History of the Maeklong Market
The Maeklong Railway Market has actually been around since 1905, in the Samut Songkhram province of Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand. In this area, fishing has always been one of the main livelihoods of the local people, and the market offered them a way to sell their goods and make a profit.
Officials in Thailand decided to build a railway in the area to make it easier to delivered goods to the provinces around Thailand, including all the way to Bangkok. The market has remained though, even though the new train track cut right through the middle of it.
Now it’s a highlight on the market trail in Bangkok, and more and more people visit each year to experience this crazy market life.
Getting to Maeklong Railway Market
The Maeklong Railway Market (also know as talad rom hub in Thai) is about an hour and a half southwest of Bangkok’s city centre. To make sure you’re not there are the wrong time of day make sure you visit for one of the train times on the schedule below:
Maeklong Railway Train Schedule 2018
Departing from Maeklong Station: 6:20am, 9am, 11:30am & 3:30pm
Arriving at Maeklong Station: 8:30am, 11:10am, 2:30pm & 5:40pm
You can actually ride the train through the market, before returning to visit the market from the ground level. Catch the train from the Wongwian Yai Station in Bangkok on the Maeklong Railway Line at 6:45am. This train will take you straight through the centre of the market. Jump off at the last station and walk back through the market.
Jumping on a combo tour to experience both the Maeklong Railway Market and the floating markets around the corner is also a great way to experience this unique market. Check out this deal of a combo tour of both markets in one morning.
Read more: An Essential Guide to Bangkok
Lastly, you can organize a private taxi or shuttle to take you down there. This is definitely the easiest and most direct way to visit the market – it also gives you the freedom to spend as long as you like exploring the market at your own pace.