This is the third post in the Thailand! travel series of my eats in Bangkok. Other posts include Thip Samai, Best Pad Thai in Bangkok? and Raan Jay Fai, Best Drunken Noodle in Bangkok?
One of the most interesting outdoor markets that Bryan and I visited was Maeklong Railway Market. This market, which has been in the same location for generations, ran into a bit of a problem when city officials decided to build a railway that would run right through the market.
Alas, the market decided it would stay put.
That was back in 1905. Since then (yes, for the past hundred years or so!), this market continues to thrive in its original location. The train comes through seven times a day, and it’s quite a spectacle to watch the market during these times.
We planned our visit to coincide with the first train of the day, which comes around 8:40 AM (though times may vary). Here’s the Maeklong Train Station right next to the bustling market. You can see they are selling stuff here too.
But the more interesting parts of the market are across the street from the station, where fresh produce is displayed dangerously close to the edge of the track.
You shop at the market by walking up and down the train tracks. As you can see, there’s really not much space in this tight market! It’s incredible to imagine a train coming through. In recent years, word has gotten around about this interesting market, and you’ll most definitely see tourists hanging out around the times that the train is coming through.
When the warning bell triggers, vendors begin to quickly move their stuff away from the edge of the tracks.
Here comes the train! It moves at a rate of about 15 miles an hour and seriously comes within inches of the market. The vendors have become experts at knowing what they need to remove. In some cases (see above), the produce actually can fit underneath the train as it moves through.
And just like that, once the train goes by, the market returns to normal.
I just can’t imagine ever seeing anything like this in the U.S., which makes this all the more unusual and unique.
The easiest way to get here is to take a taxi (37 miles from Bangkok, about an hour away with some traffic). If you want, you can actually take the train into the market. I’m sure that would be super fun, but we didn’t have time to do that. Instead, we hired a driver for a half day ($80 USD), and he drove us here to hang out for about an hour before heading off to the floating markets at Damnoen Saduak (post coming soon!). It’s on the way, so you can easily do both in a morning if you’re willing to leave Bangkok around 7:00 AM or so).
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