Maeklong Train Market exposes unique culture

Maeklong Train Market

Maeklong Train MarketThe Maeklong Railway runs between Wongwian Yai, Bangkok, and Samut Songkhram in central Thailand. Visiting Thailand for the first time, it almost seems quintessential to visit certain things, one of them is the culture of the train markets and none are a better display of this authentic experience than the Maeklong Train Market, south east of the heart of Bangkok.

This railway became famous for it’s route through the belly of the Maeklong Train Market, nicknamed Talat Rom Hup, meaning the “umbrella pulldown market”.

It’s one of the largest fresh produce and seafood markets in Thailand, and is centered around the Maeklong Railway’s track.

Visiting this market for the first time, you will be immersed in the culture of years gone by. This is no common market where you see the same items regurgitated over and over again, this is an authentic food market that exists for the Thai people, and welcomes farang visitors.

Maeklong Train MarketWith the train station so close to the river and mouth of the ocean, seafood is the most popular attraction on offer in this covered market.

You will have the opportunity to walk the tracks under the hot Thai sun while the train is not running, loud speakers warn the vendors and tourists in preparation for the trains arrival 6 times a day.

The market runs every day for the Thai locals to purchase their fresh seafood, spices and wide range of produce, with everything from crabs, gigantic tiger prawns to the more off beat gutted and cleaned frogs, fresh and ready to cook.

Maeklong Train MarketBe wary though, if you don’t have a strong stomach as the smell from within the main market can be quite overwhelming with meats and fish drying in the open air as is the Thai style.

With the market a short trip from the Amphawa floating markets, taking the opportunity to do both in one day is quite possible providing you have your own transport or start early enough.

Amphawa is only a ten minute ride from Maeklong. You can catch a songthaew which are located at the main junction in Maeklong and the journey costs less than 10 baht each way.

Maeklong Train MarketWhen the time arrives for the markets along the train line itself to move, loud speakers sound followed by a distant fog horn and market owners prepare their stalls to make way for the huge locomotive.

As the train snuck it’s nose around the bend it rambles through the market at a brisk pace brushing against stalls and baskets of vegetables with inches to spare.

Once the last train car moves through, the market magically unfolds it’s display once again and within moments the market was thriving again with people chattering and you wouldn’t have even known that the extraordinary experience had happened.

Maeklong Train MarketBe very wary though, especially if you have children in tow standing by the side of the train line within the central market as the train passes.

The train won’t stop and in the very confined space, it’s not uncommon for a food vendors stand to be dragged away by the train and unfortunately the day before we visited someone had lost their life to an unforgiving mass of the train.

To get to the market, it is recommended to take a private taxi, though you can get there with a combination of using the BTS, then a songthaew  to that station.

GPS location of the Maeklong Train market.