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Parting of the Maeklong Railway Market with a Passing Train Sep 9, 2018

Parting of the Maeklong Railway Market with a Passing Train

Location: Google Maps

Global Sensation
Maeklong Market is unique. You've seen it in several travel shows - even National Geographic and Discovery Chanel. There is a crowded wet market along a train railway. When the train comes, the vendors unhurriedly collapse their huge umbrellas and move their awnings giving way to the slow-passing train. They move everything back after the train has passed. This scene is so unique it has become a Mecca for global travelers visiting Bangkok - which is a good 81 kms away! Now, with Chai, Mar, Christina and Mayet (I fondly refer to as the Amphawa Crew), I get to see it first-hand!

The railway line is 67kms long and originally consisted of 2 stages that merged at the Tha Chin River in 1907 to transport produce from the fishing ports of Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkram to the Bangkok markets. A bus station has since been incorporated to the railway stop to ease traffic congestion coming from Bangkok. This is perhaps Thailand's slowest trains with an average speed of 30km/hr. If you plan to commute on this train from Bangkok to Maeklong, best to be prepared for the long haul. 17 trains pass in each direction daily.

Here Comes the Train
The coming train could be heard long before it comes. It is nothing less ceremonious than an arriving rock star. Visitors ready-up their phones, cameras and videos to catch the moment as they line-up along the tracks. Some stay on the tracks and move out at the last instance. All attention is focused on the train. And with its arrival, it's like a zipper opening up the market as it comes. Some travelers stay so close to the tracks it's almost like their nose is grazed by the slow-moving train. And as you see the train moving away, you also see the tracks being transformed into a market as vendors open-up their umbrellas and spread their awnings back.

Maeklong Railway Market by Renegade Travels

Market Scene
Aside from the parting of the market, the market itself is also something to experience. It is one of Thailand's biggest fresh seafood markets with its center right along the tracks. Walking along the tracks allows you to see goods offered at the market but it's also worthwhile exploring the inner sections for a more diverse seafood offering.

Parting of the Maeklong Railway Market with a Passing Train
the tracks reverting back into a market after the passing train

Philippine Version
We have a Philippine version of this scene but it's not for the faint-hearted tourist. It's not at all for the benefit of any tourist. A market is spawned in the middle of a squatter's area - it's rough and it's tough. When the train passes, goods are moved away just like Maeklong. But this place is chaotic, dirty and perhaps even unsafe.

To put an even interesting spin, garbage is thrown by the squaters on the train tops. Why? Because they are squatters (illegal settlers), there is no government service in place - not even garbage collection. So, how do the squatters dispose of their garbage? By throwing them on the roof of the passing trains. So, when the train arrives at its destination, usually Bicol, there is a cleaning team prepared to haul out the piles of garbage collected from different parts of the Philippines along the train route.

Philippine Version of Maeklong Railway Market

Ending Thoughts
To travelers from first world countries where you see public outrage when high-tech bullet trains run 1 minute late, the Maeklong spectacle is indeed a mind-blower which requires video evidence to convince a disbeliever.

Thank you Chai, Mar, Christina and Mayet for sharing your pictures!

--- TheLoneRider

pictures courtesy of Chai, Mayet, Mar and Christina

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Next stop: Exploring the Tree-Engulfed Wat Bang Kung Temple

Bangkok Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. Yoga Inversions at Now's Fitness Gym Sep 19, 2018
  2. Movie Review: Under Construction (2015) Sep 15, 2018
  3. Walking Tour of Little India Sep 15, 2018
  4. Vinyasa Yoga with Teacher That at Now's Fitness Sep 14, 2018
  5. Abs Workout with Teacher San at Now's Fitness Sep 13, 2018
  6. Vinyasa Yoga with Teacher That at Now's Fitness Sep 14, 2018
  7. Abs Workout with Teacher San at Now's Fitness Sep 13, 2018
  8. Exercise Ball Workout with Teacher Bie at Now's Fitness Sep 11, 2018
  9. Exploring the Amphawa Floating Market Sep 9, 2018
  10. Exploring the Tree-Engulfed Wat Bang Kung Temple Sep 9, 2018
  11. Parting of the Maeklong Railway Market with a Passing Train Sep 9, 2018
  12. Exploring Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Sep 9, 2018
  13. Horse Racing at the The Royal Bangkok Sports Club Sep 8, 2018
  14. Fight Class with Teacher San at Now's Fitness Sep 7, 2018
  15. Exploring the Bangkok Art Book Fair 2018 Sep 6, 2018
  16. Circuit Training with Mild at Now's Fitness Sep 5, 2018
  17. Gentle Flow Yoga with Nuch at Now's Fitness, Bangkok Sep 4, 2018
  18. A Yogi Lost in a Modern Gym - Now's Fitness Sep 3, 2018
  19. Abundance at On Nut, Bangkok Aug 30-Sep 1, 2018
  20. Outside Looking In Aug 29, 2018
  21. Back in Bangkok After 5 Weeks Aug 27, 2018
  22. 15 Days in Bangkok July 10-24, 2018
  23. Peoplescape: Bangkok July 10-24, 2018
  24. Hatha and Yantra Yoga Fusion July 10-24, 2018
  25. Revisiting Terminal 21 Mall, Bangkok July 23, 2018
  26. Rope Skipping, 4mins Full-on July 22, 2018
  27. Sunday Visit to Chatuchak Weekend Market July 17, 2018
  28. Fork on the Road: Abundance or Poverty by Choice? July 16, 2018
  29. Loving Bangkok All Over Again Feb 22-26, 2016
  30. Hotel Review: Adventure Hostel Bangkok July 11, 2018
  31. Hotel Review: Riva Surya Bangkok Oct 20, 2014
  32. Exploring the Shopping Malls of Bangkok Oct 6-20, 2014
  33. Bangkok's Street Food Delight Oct 6-20, 2014
  34. Bangkok Revisited 3 Oct 6-20, 2014
  35. A First Timer in Bangkok December 31, 2005 - January 3, 2006

Google Map

Bangkok, Thailand

hotels in Bangkok HOTEL

Empo Hostel Bangkok - backpacker friendly, bunk beds, affordable, a/c rooms, wifi, laundry
On Nut 30, Bangkok, Thailand
Adventure Hostel Bangkok - N7 BTS train stop, dorm rooms, great for solo travelers, laundry, roof deck, entertainment center, kitchen, all-day tea-coffee, fridge, clean
1541 Phahonyothin Rd. Payathai

gyms on On Nut, Bangkok GYM| gyms on On Nut, Bangkok YOGA

Now's Fitness Bangkok - gym equipment, yoga, Muay Thai, boxing, fitness trainer, cafe, healthy food
726 Soi On Nut 14 Rd, Khwaeng Suan Luang, Khet Suan Luang, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10250

Useful Information

Bangkok Cost Index

as of Sep 4, 2018: US$1 = Baht 32 = Php 53

  • Bht 60 sm, 90 big one mug draft beer
  • Bht 13 1.5 liter drinking water
  • Bht 220 one hour massage
  • Bht 60-80 muesli breakfast
  • Bht 60-80 tom yum soup in modest eatery
  • Bht 25-30 coffee
  • Bht 30-50 pad thai
  • Bht 350 Adventure Hostel lodging
  • Bht 20-30/load laundry, coin operated machine
  • Bht 7 bus ride
Transport Map of Bangkok

You can get around Bangkok using the trains, buses, tuk-tuks or the boat. Here is the transport map to give you a heads-up.

Bangkok to Chiang Mai by Night Train from Bang Sue Train Station
  1. take the MRT train to Bang Sue Station. Take the #2 Exit to the provincial trains
  2. Proceed to Counter 2. You will see an information booth, a train schedule chart and the ticket counter. Choose the train and pay at the ticket counter.
  3. daily train schedule:
    • 8:48am - #7 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 7:30pm, not sleeper, B638
    • 2:06pm - #109 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 4:05am, sleeper
    • 6:31pm - #9 Premium Train, arrive Chiang Mai 7:15am, sleeper, B938 upper deck, B1038 lower deck
    • 7:56pm - #13 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 8:40am, sleeper, B768 upper deck, B838 lower deck
    • 10:22pm - #51 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 12:10pm, sleeper, 3rd class B270 (non sleeper), 2nd class B438, B728 upper deck, B798 lower deck

Currency Converter

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