Maeklong Railway Market – A Train Through the Shops

The Maeklong Railway Market is famous for having a train run through it. When the train comes, the vendors scramble to move their wares until the train passes.

History

The Maeklong Railway Market has been around since 1905. It is found in the province of Samut Songkhram, located on the Gulf of Thailand. Fishing was (and still is) one of the main livelihoods of the people who lived here, and the market was another way in which to sell their goods. Officials decided to build a railway in order to better deliver these goods to provinces around Thailand, including the capital. The market remained, however, despite the new tracks that cut through it.

You will hear the train long before you actually see it. Vendors and merchants collectively begin to coolly move their belongings and umbrellas away from the tracks as the train barrels forward, laying on its horn every now and then to warn people of its inevitable passing; this is why the market is also known as the ‘umbrella pulldown’ market.

When the train arrives

Baskets of goods are dragged away from the tracks, the overhead tents are drawn back and the tracks are cleared, making way for the train. Those hoping to capture a photo are waved back by those who suspect they are a little too close for comfort to the tracks. You will be able to spot those who work at the market and those who do not almost instantly; visitors of the market, whether they are Thai or foreigners, will have cell phones in hand, smiles on their faces, and will be shifting back and forth to position themselves for the perfect photo. Those who work there, however, watch this train go by up to eight times a day and get little to no thrill of its passing.

Source: The culture trip

Tips to enjoy the market better

  • It’s quite shady due to the collaborative efforts of a hundred or so awnings, so make sure your camera is set for low light.
  • Bring a fan and some water. This market goes in a single path along the tracks, and although it does branch off to the sides from time to time, there is almost no cross breeze and it gets hot.
  • Arrive early. Or at least, give enough time to walk down the tracks before the next train comes. The perk is that farther you walk, the fewer people there are.
  • The main entrance is crowded. Be mindful of the produce that is near ground level and let other visitors exit the market before trying to go in.
  • Although this isn’t a fast-moving train, it’s a no-brainer to stay clear of the tracks when the train is coming. Don’t stand on or lean over the tracks to get “the perfect shot” or you may get perfectly smushed.

Source:tielandToThailand.com