Thailand is famous for its bustling street markets and shopping districts. However, the Maeklong Railway Market in Samut Songkhram offers a unique and thrilling experience unlike any other. The market sits on active train tracks, and vendors have to move their stalls and goods every time a train passes through. In this article, we will explore the Maeklong Railway Market, its history, and everything you need to know before visiting.
History of Maeklong Railway Market
Maeklong Railway Market, also known as Talat Rom Hup in Thai, has been around for over a century. The market was established in the early 1900s, and the train tracks were built later to facilitate the transportation of goods to Bangkok. As the market grew in popularity, vendors started to set up their stalls along the railway tracks. Today, the market is a major tourist attraction and draws visitors from all over the world.
Location and How to Get There
Maeklong Railway Market is located in the Samut Songkhram province, which is about 80 kilometers southwest of Bangkok. The easiest way to get there is by taking a minibus or a taxi from Bangkok. You can also take a train from Wongwian Yai Station in Bangkok to Samut Songkhram Station, which is a few minutes’ walk from the market.
Maeklong Railway Market is open daily from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. However, the market is most active during the morning and early afternoon, so it is best to visit during these hours.
What to Expect
As you arrive at Maeklong Railway Market, you will notice the hustle and bustle of the vendors and shoppers. The market is divided into two sections, with the first section being the main market, where vendors sell fresh produce, seafood, clothing, and other goods. The second section is located on the railway tracks, and vendors sell their goods from small stalls or umbrellas. When a train approaches, vendors will quickly move their goods and stalls to make way for the train to pass through.
Tips for Visiting Maeklong Railway Market
- Arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
- Wear comfortable shoes, as the market can be quite crowded and the ground uneven.
- Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings.
- Ask for permission before taking photos of the vendors or their goods.
- Bargain with the vendors for the best price.
- Do not touch the goods or produce unless you intend to buy them.
What to Buy at Maeklong Railway Market
Maeklong Railway Market offers a wide variety of goods, including fresh seafood, fruits, vegetables, clothing, and souvenirs. Some popular items to buy include:
- Coconut sugar
- Thai spices and herbs
- Fresh seafood
- Local snacks and sweets
- Handmade souvenirs and crafts
Food and Drinks at Maeklong Railway Market
The market also offers a variety of food and drinks to try. Some popular dishes include:
- Kanom Jeen (rice noodles with curry)
- Grilled seafood
- Pad Thai
- Som Tam (papaya salad)
- Mango sticky rice
- Coconut ice cream
You can also find several food stalls and restaurants nearby that offer a wider variety of Thai dishes.
Samut Songkhram province has several other attractions that you can visit while in the area. Some of these include:
- Amphawa Floating Market: A popular weekend market that offers a variety of food, drinks, and souvenirs. You can also take a boat tour to see fireflies at night.
- Wat Bang Kung: A temple located inside a banyan tree that was once used as a military outpost.
- Don Hoi Lot: A scenic beach known for its abundance of razor clams.
Safety and Security
While Maeklong Railway Market is generally safe, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings. The market can be crowded, and pickpocketing can occur. Additionally, be sure to follow the vendor’s instructions when a train approaches to ensure your safety.
As a popular tourist destination, Maeklong Railway Market can have a significant impact on the environment and the local community. To minimize this impact, visitors are encouraged to follow the “Leave No Trace” principles and avoid littering or damaging the surroundings. Additionally, consider supporting local businesses and vendors by buying sustainable products and souvenirs.
Maeklong Railway Market is a unique and exciting experience that is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Thailand. The market’s history and tradition of moving goods and stalls to make way for passing trains is a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Thai people. With a wide variety of goods, food, and nearby attractions, Maeklong Railway Market is an excellent way to experience the local culture and way of life.
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- Is Maeklong Railway Market open all year round? Yes, the market is open daily throughout the year.
- Can I take photos at Maeklong Railway Market? Yes, but be sure to ask for permission before taking photos of the vendors or their goods.
- Is bargaining allowed at Maeklong Railway Market? Yes, bargaining is common at the market. Be sure to negotiate for the best price.
- How far is Maeklong Railway Market from Bangkok? The market is about 80 kilometers southwest of Bangkok.
- Is it safe to visit Maeklong Railway Market? Yes, the market is generally safe. However, be sure to be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings.