Thailand is a country in love with shopping and it shows in the several different types of markets you can experience during your visit. The country has shopping malls, floating markets, street markets, night markets, fresh markets, and even markets that sit right in the path of railway trains. The most visited railway market in Thailand, located about 1 hour southwest of Bangkok, is the Maeklong Railway Market and it has been operating for more than one hundred years. A visit to Maeklong Railway Market is a truly unique experience and you are encouraged to capture the magic of this market before it disappears.
The market offers everything you expect a traditional Thai market to have but the Maeklong Railway Market differentiates itself by situating itself on the tracks of a working railway line.
Customer feedback – “When there are no trains around you can easily forget this is actually an operating railway line.”
Walking through the tight spaces of this railway market, shoppers meander at a pace that allows them to fully appreciate the colors and smells of the fresh fruits and vegetables on display. Don’t be surprised when you see many of the sellers dozing off at their stalls as the tropical heat and soft murmurs of the market atmosphere prove powerful enough to lull even the most vigilant. The Maeklong Railway Market is a very relaxed place, that is until the whistle of the approaching train breaks the air of languid leisure and injects the sellers with a renewed purpose.
Market goers hear the train whistle long before they actually see the train. When the whistle and approaching train is heard the sellers start to casually move their goods and shop awnings away from the railway tracks. The action of pulling down umbrellas and drawing back shop awnings has caused this market to also be called Talad Rom Hoop, which, in Thai language, means the closing of umbrellas. When the train does arrive, it is so close that you can reach out and touch it as it passes through the market. Visitors and sellers alike wave to the train’s occupants, providing the perfect moment for a video or picture of this unique market.
Customer feedback – “I liked this market a lot because there was no one here trying to push the usual cheap souvenirs in your face. I was happy enough to see the train coming through the market and to watch the shop owners being so casual about moving their umbrellas and awnings back. It was like they have done it a thousand times before.”
Some of the more unique items you will see, and have the chance to eat, at the Maeklong Railway Market:
- Huge juicy Pomelos.
- Fresh Durian.
- Crunchy Pink Roseapples.
- There’s also a wide selection of Thai deserts available.
- An assortment of freshly-prepared foods and sweet drinks.
At the Maeklong Railway Market you will find mainly food for sale. There are some clothing and accessories available but the majority of sellers at this market are selling Thai sweets, fresh meat and seafood, vegetables, fruits and drinks.
The attraction of this market lies in its novelty that is derived from the spectacle of watching market locals scrambling to accommodate a train passing through the midst of their shops and goods.
Customer feedback – “One minute there is a bustling market under umbrellas with stalls scattered everywhere. The next minute a train passes right through the middle of it all, only to turn back into a market a few minutes later. It really was a sight to see and our kids loved it.”
Maeklong Railway Market can be visited any day from 6:20 am until 5:40 pm. The Maeklong Railway Market opening hours match the first and last train arrivals at Maeklong Station. Your private tour guide will ensure that you get down to the railway tracks before a train is scheduled to arrive.
Market Fee: Free of charge.
Things you should be aware of when visiting the Maeklong Railway Market:
- Comfortable shoes and clothing are highly recommended.
- Photography is highly encouraged along every part of this tour.
- Bring your appetite and your sense of adventure.