The Maeklong Railway Market at Samut Songkhram in Central Thailand is a unique opportunity for you to do some serious Trainspotting. You'll also get to experience how one of the local trains in this district pass directly through this extremely busy food market as many as eight times every day.
It's a Thai phenomenon not to be missed. This crazy market south-west of Bangkok is on your way to another popular market known as the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. But the real fascination at the railway market is how the locals go about their business selling their wares, unaware of any potential danger. And what makes this place so remarkable is that it's unlikely you'll come across a market like this anywhere else in the world.
Although the actual food market itself takes up only a few hundred metres, the entire rail line runs for approximately 67 kilometres. (42 miles) The train runs between Samut Sakhon and another district known as Yai Wongwian in Bangkok.
Starting from around at 8:30 in the morning, the train travels between the towns of Samut Songkhram and Samut Sakhon and then on to Yai Wongwian in Central Thailand. There's nothing to stop you from taking a ride on the train, though most tourists coming to the market choose to arrive by tour bus.
It's just as fascinating to watch the
crowds wander around the market taking photos of the vendors and the
produce they sell. But the main attraction unfolds when the train
You would be dead wrong thinking all hell will break loose when the
train does finally arrive at the market. You have to remember that the
vendors here have been practising the delicate art of quickly packing
away their merchandise moments before the train makes its way through
the crowded food stalls.
As the train approaches the market, the driver sets off a warning sound, allowing vendors to quickly remove their produce from alongside the
narrow track and also to fold down any awning that may be in its path. It's a
sight not to be missed.
While vendors pack away their goods and fold down their awnings, tourists wait patiently to take photos before standing back as far as possible so that the train may pass without any incident or accident. From what I am told there has never been anyone injured here, however, it may pay to be on full alert at all times.
It's wonderful to watch as the train goes about its daily routine and it's just as amazing to see the train pass over some of the fresh stock lining the track. Vegetables can even be seen from the sides of the train as it passes through.
As soon as the train leaves the market, vendors scurry around putting
all their awnings up again and carefully rearranging their goods in
their respective places. Before you catch your breath and realise what has happened, everything is back to normal and the shopping begins
in earnest once again. That is of course until the next train arrives
when the whole procedure starts all over again.
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