El origen del mercado de Mae Klong se remonta antes de la llegada del tren a Tailandia. Cuando en 1905 se construyó la vía del tren, el mercado, en vez de moverse, siguió operando sobre la vía como lo hace hoy en día, más de un siglo después.
The origin of the Mae Klong market goes back to even before the arrival of the train in Thailand. When the track was constructed in 1905, the market, instead of relocating, continued to operate on the lines just as it does to this day.
The most striking fact about the market is that, despite being visited by hundreds of tourists every day, it's still a 100% local market. You'll find meat, fish, fruit and vegetables - all sold and consumed by locals.
A special place
What makes this market so special is that all the stalls occupy a very narrow stretch of train track. Every time a train passes, it sounds the horn, and all the sellers pick up their wares in a matter of seconds. And as soon as the train has passed, within seconds everything is back in its place, just as though nothing had happened.
How to get to the Railway Market
The Mae Klong market is 90 km away from Bangkok. To get there you have several options:
- Reserve an excursion: if you want to avoid complications, the best way to get to the market is to reserve a day trip from Bangkok. Includes hotel pick up, transport, guide, tickets, tasting and two markets, the Railway Market and the Floating Market.
- Train: If you have lots of time, and would prefer to visit on your own, the train is an interesting and cheap way to visit, but it's complicated. You need to take the train to Maha Chai, leaving every hour from Wongwien Yai station (15 mins walk from BTS Wonwien Yai) then change stations to Ban Laem (walking and crossing the river by ferry) before finally taking the train to Mae Klong. The total journey time is over 3 hours.
- Minibus: Another option, quicker than the train, is to take one of the minibuses that leave from the southern (Sai Tai Mai) and northern (Mo Chit) stations. The price of the buses is about 60 THB (US$ 1.70) per person each way from Sai Tai Mai, and 90 THB (US$ 2.50) from Mo Chit.
- Taxi: You can negotiate a price with a taxi driver to take you there and back. The price is likely to be around 1,200 THB (US$ 33.60).
Although the market is open from 7 am to 5 pm, you'll want to visit when the trains pass.
There are currently 6 trains each day, and they pass at 8:30 am, 9 am, 11:15 am, 11:30 am, 2:30 and 3:30 pm. If you arrive at 8:15, or 11 am, you'll be able to see two trains pass in a short space of time.
Don't forget to check the updated train times before travelling, especially if you want to get there by train from Ban Laem, as there are only 3 or 4 daily trains.