Day Trip from Bangkok to Maeklong Railway Market

Maeklong Railway Market

PrincessyLee found a good deal on Groupon for Bangkok 2 Tour, so we booked ourselves a half day tour to Maeklong Railway Market and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, inclusive of 2 way transfer from/to our hotel. It was an interesting experience as we woke up early in the morning and boarded the chartered van along with other sleepy eyed passengers staying in nearby hotels: there was a family of 5 (3 adults and 2 children), a group of friends, a couple and yours truly.

First purchase off Groupon and the experience was alright

Basically the tour was more of being a chartered transportation than actually being a guided tour, but it was fine. The driver, Tiger, was a friendly guy who alighted each of us at the destination we wanted at the end of the ‘tour’ (e.g. Chinatown, other shopping areas along the way, back to the hotel etc…).

The interior of the van

First stop, Maeklong Railway Market! The van was not too shabby and the seats comfortable enough for napping (it was way too early for us!). The journey took about an hour or so, by the time we arrived it was about 830 in the morning and the sun was already blasting away. Do have your sunglasses, cap, umbrella and whatever you have (and want) to keep the sunrays at bay!

We were alighted some ways before the Maeklong Railway Station and made our way to explore (on our own) down the pebbled path. The Maeklong Railway Market is a vibrant thriving market full of local produce (fruits, fresh fish, seafood etc...). While it might seem like any other market (and similar to our wet markets), since it is located at a railway station, a train runs through the Maeklong Railway Market 7 times a day (7 days a week) and it is a sight to behold!

Maeklong Railway Market
Our drop-off and pick up point
Maeklong Railway Market
It's not call a railway market for nothing. lol This would be what greets you when you make your way into the market.
Maeklong Railway Market
Beyond the drinks and foods is where the market activities take place
The Maeklong Railway Market was a bustling with activity that day: locals shopping for their groceries and (us) tourists roaming around the market waiting the “excitement” to happen. The stalls are actually sprawled along the train rails and were sheltered by low-hanging awnings/umbrellas.

Maeklong Railway Market
The beginning of the market where all sorts of foods are sold
Maeklong Railway Market
Further on the railway tracks appear, with food being sold on both ends of the railway
Maeklong Railway Market
There were all sorts of seafood on display
Maeklong Railway Market
Fishes, crabs, squid and more. They were fresh, some even alive(!), and there were preserved (dried) seafood
Maeklong Railway Market
 Besides an array of seafood, there were eggs (even pink ones!), steam rice, meats (e.g. pork) and many kinds of vegetables
Maeklong Railway Market
For those who have an urgent need to use the restroom, they are available. Not too sure how clean they are, but they exist.
Maeklong Railway Market
A fruit stall with a reminder that the curfew was in place - the tv in the background was a static screen with Thai words

After taking a walk around the market, unsure of what time the train would be passing through, we decided to head back to the station and have a break. It was a nice break and the kind drink stall lady even gave us a 5฿ discount off our milk teas!

Maeklong Railway Market
Chill time!
As we were cooling down with our iced tea and just waiting (should have just asked or checked the schedule of the train’s arriving), some activity was taking place in front of the station – the train was arriving. In a frenzied scurry, we tried to get the best spot to get a glimpse of this ‘phenomenon’ where the market comes alive: one moment transactions between customer and vendors are taking place like any normal market and the next the vendors start to pack and keep their awnings, umbrellas and move their goods our of the train’s way. But unfortunately, the crowd was too much and all I managed to capture were the heads of the people in front of me (haha). This all happened very quickly so there it would have been better if we were more prepared.

Maeklong Railway Market
Everyone ready for a glimpse and capture of the oncoming train!
When the train settled at the station and collected the passengers (which gave us some time to take photos of and with it), it made its journey out again with a new load of passengers.

Maeklong Railway Market
Everyone (well, basically tourists) rushed to the train when it stopped to take a commemorative photo or two
Maeklong Railway Market
The train!

With the departure of the train (from the station), the vendors pushed back their stalls into position and business resumed as per normal without any hint that a train had just passed through. As the train left, so did we as we made our way back to the van onwards to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

While I might not have managed to capture the amazing sight on video (sobs sobs), at least I managed to take photos of the train and caught the action from the video that one of the passengers on our van took enroute to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. He had a good spot and from his angle he captured the moment perfectly. O well, there are similar videos that can be found on youtube and here is one that is reminiscent of it:

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When travel collides with a byte, a unit of information made up of bits, TravelBytez is formed: snippets of ramblings on travel, food, shopping, living and anything else that comes to mind.
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