Colorful market hustle and bustle, hurried traders and from afar you can already hear the train, which makes itself heard by incessant touting. The Maeklong Railway Market, also called Talar Rom Hob in Samut Songkhram is something very special and about 100 kilometers from Bangkok is.
For here in the sleepy province, at a market that has been going on for over a hundred years, a train runs. And that in the middle of the market and millimeter past the stalls into the station.
The history of the famous Maeklong Railway Market
The Maeklong Raillway Market has been around since 1905. In the region Samut Songkhram was always fished and the fish had to be sold of course also to the north. So the government has built a railroad line that leads to the north as well as to Bangkok.
This should help merchants sell their wares better and fresher. The route was built through the market, but the traders did not leave the market. but simply became creative and sold weitern at the tracks. And that is what makes the market so special!
By the way, the market is nicknamed Talad Rom Hoob, because of the umbrellas on the stalls. Translated this is called "umbrellas-back-market", because the sellers sometimes have to build back their umbrellas really fast.
The special thing about Maeklong Railway Market market
You hear the arriving train much earlier than you see it. The vendors and traders pack away their umbrellas and canopies of the stalls from one moment to the next and move their stalls that are partly standing on the rails away.
There is also a small marker on the ground (which is also very faded) that shows you exactly where it is safe to stand. On some days the train passes 8 times through the market and for the locals this is already routine.
The tourists and those who work at the market you can quickly tell apart at this moment, because almost everyone who has come to the market because of the train, has a camera or a smartphone in his hand.
The train passes very close to the stalls and again and again you can hear local tourists reprimanding overconfident tourists, because accidents are rare, but can end badly.
Maeklong Railway Market opening hours
The market opens its doors early in the morning for the hungry Thais, who naturally shop here before the tourists storm the market. The market is open every day of the week and attracts visitors from 08:00 in the morning until 19:00 in the evening. The best visit to take photos without many tourists is to take advantage of the last arrival of the train at 5:40 pm.
Maeklong Railway Market Timetable
Trains arrive and depart from Maeklong 8 times a day. The train station is right behind the market and the trains wait a short time to pass through the market again. This way you have the chance to experience the spectacle 2 times in a short time.
Arriving trains: 8:30, 11:10, 14:30& 17:40
Departing trains: 6:20 (the market is not open), 9:00, 11:30& 3:30 pm
What can you buy at the market?
The goods offered at the market are completely mixed. From tourist kitsch to spices, curryypastes and fresh fruits and vegetables, you can get just about anything your heart desires. In between there are always small stalls offering freshly squeezed juice, smoothies and small delicacies.
The part of the market that passes by the tracks is only a small part because on one side there is a big market hall where you can also buy fresh meat and fish. Tourists are relatively rare here, and the atmosphere is still very authentic and relaxed.
From Bangkok to Maeklong Railway Market
From Bangkok you can easily make a day trip to Samut Songkhram. Best with an organized tour with a minivan. The minivans usually leave from Khao San Road and have different prices and departure times. It pays to compare and ask around. If you take a minivan tour you can combine the Maeklong Railway Market with the Amphawa Floating Market nearby.
However, if you want to see more of the region, it is worth spending a night in Samut Songkhram. That's how we did it and in addition we visited three other sights in the corner without any stress. We were on the route with the rented car on the way and can it only recommend to everyone in Thailand times with the own car to drive.
Other places of interest near Samut Songkhram
Wat Bang Kung Temple
If you think a market with a train passing through it is the most exotic thing you have seen, I can prove you wrong! Because the Wat Bang Kung temple was simply built into a tree. This is a small but definitely unique temple that is near the Floating Market and also the Railway Market.
Actually it is a small temple over which an imposing Banyan tree has grown. The roots and the leaves nestle now to the temple and give the scene something mystical.
Amphawa Floating Market
Forget the overcrowded and super touristy Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, because the Amphawa Floating Market is really still authentic. Mostly this market is only visited by Thais from Bangkok who want to spend a weekend in the countryside.
While the market isn't as big and isn't frequented by as many boats as Damnoen Saduak, it's definitely more relaxed here and you're not permanently in a jostling crowd for the best picture.
From the bridge that stretches over the floating market, you have a great view of the market and the old wooden houses that now house relatively expensive seafood restaurants. An alternative are the delicious noodle soups that are offered here at the waterfront for 10 baht.
Market in Samut Songkhram
In addition to the Railway Market, there is a completely non-touristy market in the city, which is visited only by locals. Here it offers itself to make a stop for a lunch. The cookshops in the market usually offer food for under one euro (30 baht). We ate here for 60 cents and enjoyed the authentic flair.
Hardly anyone speaks English here and you are also looked at a bit. This does not dampen the mood, because actually these experiences are what authentic travel is all about.
Overnight stay in Samut Songkhram
Hatthatara Resort is idyllically located in the jungle and on one of the klongs (canals) for which the region is so famous. Absolutely idyllic and authentic. The rooms are decorated in Thai style and there is a small offer of food and drinks in the resort. Our overnight stay in the region could not have been more beautiful – clear recommendation!