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Uniquely Thai Maeklong Railway Market in Bangkok

Located 75 km away from downtown Bangkok, Maelong Railway Market is a truly unique Thai experience you should not miss when visiting Thailand.

explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok

Located just 75 km away from downtown Bangkok, Maelong Railway Market is a unique Thai experience that should not be missed. In Thai, this market is known as Talad Rom Hoop – which can be loosely translated to “umbrella-pulling down market”. With such a name, it is not difficult to guess what goes on here! The market is situated right on the railway tracks. Once the train bell rings, hawkers have only 3 – 5 minutes to “pull down their umbrella”, pack their stuff and avoid being hit by the train! What’s more, this actually happens 7 – 8 times a day!

explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok

Before the train arrives, this is no different from any other Thai wet market selling the usual range of groceries and food.

explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok
explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok

Sale of fresh crab at Maeklong Railway Market

The only clue of the market’s unusual trait is the closer-than-comfort proximity to the railway tracks.

explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok
explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok
explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok

Close proximity to the railway track

Some food were even placed on the tracks itself!

explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok
explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok

The entire market was in a mess. With the dangling canvass sheets and the high human traffic, there was barely any space even to squeeze through the crowd. I shiver at the thought of a full train passing by here any moment.

explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok

The magic begins with a simple bell, signalling the impending doom moment that we have been waiting for. Hearing it, the hawkers immediately got down to “work”. Trays and baskets of goods were immediately moved. The poles supporting the canvas sheets were brought down while those huge umbrellas were closed.

explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok
explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok

One of mankind’s greatest inventions – the wheel – was certainly very useful to facilitate with this quick turnaround.

Within 3 minutes, a previously-unimaginable amount of space was ‘created’ – just sufficient to allow the train to pass by.

explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok

Now, the only obstructions in the train path were the hordes of tourists standing ON the railway paths. The hawkers, used to such scenes simply shake their heads in resignation.

explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok

Erm…. Excuse me, the train is behind you!!!

explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok

Within a moment of the train passing by, the hawker immediately “undo” all their actions – poles were dropped down, umbrellas were opened, baskets were taken out. The actions began immediately.

explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok
explore, travel, uniquely thai maeklong railway market in bangkok

This is certainly a unique Thai experience not to be missed. Besides, this is just a short distance from the city centre and will be a good escape from the hustle and bustle. Personally, the most striking feature of the whole experience was the nonchalant manner that the hawkers executed their well-drilled routine when the train passes by. Considering that they go through this 8 times a day, 56 times a week and 240 times a month, 2920 times a year (higher frequency than an average military marching training!), their nonchalance is easily understandable

The only question that still bothers me is: why does Thailand, with 513,120 km2 of land (or 720 the size of Singapore) needs to resort to this?!

How to go Maeklong Railway Market from Bangkok

If you like to rough it out, you can take a van from Bangkok’s Victory Monument directly to Maeklong. This journey will take 90 minutes and costs about THB90 (SGD3.5).

Contributed by TH Nomad.

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