Maeklong Railway Market
trip from Bangkok
Since I first saw this place around Instagram and the insane videos of locals pulling up their stalls as soon as the train passed, I knew I had to go and check this out myself! If you are in for an adventure and want to be there before the first tourists start to flock in, keep reading!
Existing since 1905 and serving as fish and seafood marketplace for the local fisherman it now has remained growing for over 114 years! The market became famous shortly after opening and officials decided to build a train right through the market to facilitate the exchange of goods to other regions. The nearly 67 km long railway has absolutely no security distance to the stalls and passes right through. It
What to expect
Imagine a market full of local freshly prepared food, tanks full of fishes and seafood, colorful pashminas and all kind of local delicacies.
During the first morning hours, right before the sun goes up, the sellers prepare their stalls for the crowds of people arriving soon. It is very quiet still and you can only hear them laughing and speaking in Thai with each other.
Soon, at 6:20 am, you will hear a horn and will see faint light approaching from the station. The first train of the day is leaving! The sellers pull back the sheets covering the tracks and fold back with careful and experienced hands their merchandise to leave space for the train. It looks like a studied choreography!
The antique train approaches very slowly and gives plenty of time for sellers and the first local’s buyers to stand aside. As soon as the train passes, the market is put back into place and the shopping continues as if nothing had happened.
The best time to go
If you are looking for the perfect shot and exploring at your pace without big flocks of tourists I recommend you to be there at 6:00 am. The last train arrives in Maeklong in the evening and will stay there overnight.
If you arrive there at 6:00 am you will see the market slowly waking up, the sun slowly rising over the railway and locals running their errands at first light.
Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to see the first train departing at 6:20 am. It will come back to Maeklong at 8:30 am. Therefore, I recommend you to stay around, as it is really nice to see both: departure with empty tracks and arrival with a busy market. You can explore for a bit or even get a cup of coffee in the coffeeshops at the end of the railway. It is a spectacle when everything is bustling and the market is full of curious tourists buying local delicacies.
How to get there
You can get a “Grab” taxi (an app similar to UBER) for around 1000 THB from Bangkok. However, there is a cheaper way for those who seek a more local way of transport or are on a low budget. Especially if you are traveling alone like I was.
For only 60 THB you can get a minivan from the Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal (called also “Sai Tai Mai” by the locals). Buses their run every 40 minutes. When you get there, just ask the first person you see for “May-glong” and they will lead you right to it, but it should be waiting terminal number 10!
The duration in both cases is around 90 minutes, depending on the traffic (a very unpredictable thing in Thailand)!
Where to stay and eat
In this case, my goal was a budget short trip from Bangkok, as I was continuing to Pattaya and Phuket afterward. Therefore my first choice was the nearest bed to the railways. I don’t know about you guys, but 5:00 am is not really my favorite holiday alarm time. So… the closer, the better! The “Hometown Hostel” fulfilled this criterion, being only a 5-10 minute walk, the exceptionally good rating on booking.com of 9.4 was also a plus. They offer a typical hostel breakfast and the rooms and bathrooms are clean. The staff was friendly and welcoming and they even have a small rooftop terrace. Price, depending on the dates, is around 200 HKD/25 USD.
For food you can go out and venture to the street food market down the road, there are many stalls offering a high variety of dishes, including desserts! There is a 7/11 to stock up for snacks and water very close to the Hostel as well. There are two well-known seafood restaurants in the area that are more frequented by foreigners: Daeng Seafood or Pawat Somtum Seafood are the best-rated ones amongst Tripadvisor. Find the updated reviews here.
More Posts about Bangkok coming soon!
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