Home > FAM (Familiarization) Tour, FAM Trip, General, Thailand, Thailand FAM > Maeklong Railway Market, Samut Songkhram, Thailand

Maeklong Railway Market, Samut Songkhram, Thailand

Maeklong Railway Market, Samut Songkhram, Thailand

An amazing market on rail tracks

Also see: FAM tour of Thailand

A hundred miles, a hundred miles,
A hundred miles, a hundred miles
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles

500 miles

Maeklong Rail Market

The train passes through the Maeklong Railway Market, Samut Songkhram, Thailand

We heard the whistle blow, but it was not hundred miles away, in fact it was less than hundred yards away. Vendors and sellers slowly but methodically starts moving their belongings and umbrellas from the railway track, which passes straight through the centre of the market (See: Video).

Maeklong Rail Market 3

The Maeklong Railway Market with the rail track minus the train

As the train chugs in closer the train sounds its horn every now and then warning people of its inevitable passing through the crowded market place. Yes this is the Maeklong Railway Market in Samut Songkhram province of Thailand barely a couple of hours drive from Bangkok.

Maeklong Rail Market 2

Maeklong Station sign

A charming little warning bell goes off over the speaker system just a few minutes before the train comes.

Within a few minutes of receiving the warning, vendors pull back their specially designed awnings before the train comes, sometimes only moments before.

That’s why the market is locally known as the Talat Rom Hoop (ตลาดร่มหุบ) which translates into “Umbrella Pulldown Market.”

Baskets of goods are dragged away from the tracks, the overhead tents are drawn back and the tracks are cleared, making way for the train. Some of the shopkeepers let it be, so sure are they that the train’s metal wheels will not touch their wares. Those hoping to capture a photo are waved back by those who suspect they are a little too close for comfort to the tracks.

Maeklong Rail Market 1

The train enters the Maeklong Station, Samut Songkhram, Thailand

Everything happens so calmly and with such clockwork precision that it’s difficult to fathom it could be a matter of life and death. The train runs so close that you can almost touch it or even shake hands with the engine driver, or “captain”, as they are called.

Maeklong Rail Market 5

Tracks with stalls, Maeklong Railway Market

A total of eight train pass through the Maeklong Rail Market daily. The timing are as follows (6:20 am, 8:30 am, 9:00 am, 11:10 am. 11:30 am, 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm and 5:40 pm) but in Thailand trains don’t usually run in time.

Tourist are advised to reach the market at least half an hour before the train schedule as the market itself is worth exploring.

Food happens to be the main attraction of the market and chilled coconut water along with its tender flesh sells like hot cake during the summer months. Ice creams of different varieties, including coconut ice cream are also in the top selling list. There is even a small cafe next to the track.

Maeklong Rail Market 7

Shoe shop, Maeklong Railway Market

The majority of the shops sells an assortment of fresh raw sea food including giant sized crabs and lobsters.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are also sold in large quantities and so is dried fish. There are also stall selling clothing and accessories, including brightly coloured shoes.

If you reach early take a short coconut break and walk along the track towards the Maeklong Station. It is an interesting walk and the more adventurer ones can try their hand on Dragon Fruit and Durian.

Walk along the meter guage single line rail track and cross a level crossing to enter the Maeklong Railway Station. The market extends into the railway station.  It is best to wait in the railway station for the train to arrive.

Maeklong Rail Market 8

Sea Food stalls, Maeklong Railway Market, Samut Songkhram, Thailand

As soon as the train arrives walk back to the market and find a strategic spot to catch the return train chug past you. It is an exciting photo or video opportunity not only for the people along the tracks but also for the train passengers (See: Video).

Maeklong Rail Market 9

A passenger of Maeklong Railway captures the Maeklong Railway Market  in his mobile camera

Although Maeklong Railway Market can be visited in a day trip from Bangkok it is advisable to stay a night in the Amphawa Region, which will provide an opportunity of exploring the Amphawa Floating Market. An over night tour can also provide the opportunity of experiencing the Khon Mask making at Bhutesavara and the community based tourism at Ban Bang Phalp.

Note: I visited Thailand as part of a FAM trip organized by Tourism authority of Thailand (TAT) and Thai Airways.

Special Thanks:

  • Aso Lori (TAT, New Delhi) and Sajid Khan (Thai Airways, Kolkata)
  • My fellow FAM participants Amit Sachdev (Unique Air Travels), Sanjay Kr Kothari (Just Holidays), Vandana Arya (Gainwell Leisure Holidays), Piyush Banerjee (Discovery Holidays), Asif Alim (Neptune Holidays) and Nandini Gangully (T2, The Telegraph)

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