Mae Klong Railway Market
Samut Songkhram is a quiet town 100 km south of Bangkok, on the road to Hua Hin. The placid town has become famous thanks to its Mae Klong Railway Market, and the spread of its video posted on You Tube. The market, locally known as Talat Rom Hup, meaning the "umbrella pull down market", it is like many other colourful markets around Thailand, where it is sold fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and clothing. The atmosphere is pleasantly cluttered. The customers walk along the stands observing the merchandise, all enriched by the usual strong and penetrating smells of Thai street food. The special feature of this market is that is located inside the railway tracks of a small local line, not connected to the rest of the country's railways, which ends at Mae Klong Railway Station in Samut Songkhram. Local trains run several times during the day with long whistles of a warning when they come, and seem about to engulf the whole market including dealers and customers. Whenever a train approaches, the show is so special and almost unreal that you do not believe. In no time the curtains are withdrawn, the stalls equipped with wheels are moved back from the rails and the trains, which slow down but do not stop completely, pass undisturbed. Once passed the last wagon the stalls are pushed into their original location, the curtains are immediately reopened and everything resumed as usual.
The Maeklong Railway is a rail line that runs for 67 km between Wongwian Yai, Bangkok, and Samut Songkhram, at southwest of the capital. The line consists of two sections: the Mahachai Line, which runs between Wongwian Yai and Samut Sakhon with 18 stations; and the Ban Laem Line, which runs between Samut Sakhon and Mae Klong Railway Station in Samut Songkhram with 15 stations. The two stretches of railway are separated by the Tha Chin River at Samut Sakhon, accordingly the only possible connection between Mahachai, the last station of Mahachai Line, and Ban Laem, the first station of the Ban Laem Line, on the opposite side of the river is by boat. Seventeen trains run daily in each direction between Wongwian Yai and Mahachai, while four trains run daily between Ban Laem and Samut Songkhram. The railway is definitely one of the slowest in all Thailand; the average speed on the whole line does not exceed 30 km/hr.
Get to Mae Klong
There is a minibus service up to Mae Klong from the Victory Monument. In fact it’s a little tricky to find the minivans, due to they are spread around a huge traffic roundabout and also because can easily be confused with those go to Amphawa. Double check to the signboards at the kiosks, or you risk going in a different direction. The minivan fare is 100/120 baht each way and takes around 90 minutes. If you want to see the market from train, you have to leave from Wongwian Yai Railway Station located in Thonburi, on the west bank of Chao Phraya River. The train station is easily accessible by Skytrain, BTS, from the central area of the capital. The nearest station of Silom Line is the homonym Wongwian Yai, which is just 400 meters away.
|Wongwian - Maha Chai||Maha Chai - Wongwian Yai||Fare THB||Time hr|
|06.25 07.00 07.40 08.35 09.40 10.40 12.15 13.20 14.25||11.38 12.43 14.13 15.18 16.19 16.55 17.28 18.25 19.01||25||~ 1.00|
|Ban Laem - Mae Klong||Mae Klong - Ban Laem||Fare THB||Time hr|
|07.30 10.10 13.30 16.40||07.20 10.00 12.30 16.30||10||~ 1.00|
The station is within walking distance of Chinatown, near the bank of Chao Phraya River. It is easily reached by taxi, tuk-tuk or subway...
All trains of SRT that leave northbound from Hua Lamphong Station in Bangkok pass through the station at Don Mueang Airport...