Maeklong Railway Market Bangkok, Thailand
It’s no secret that I love exploring markets around Bangkok. There are so many to choose from. You’ll find floating markets, street markets, night markets and, even railway markets!
The Maeklong Railway Market is one of Bangkok’s most unique attractions. It is truly a must-visit destination.
What makes the Maeklong Railway Market unique is that it’s located right on top of a railway line, and trains run right through the market a few times per day.
One minute, stalls are set up all over the railway line as hundreds of people go about their shopping. Suddenly a train approaches as the market literally folds away and lets the train pass through. Then, in a matter of seconds, it unfolds back into a busy market. Crazy right?
This market is not actually located in Bangkok, but about 1.5 hours southwest of the city. You will need to take a taxi and minivan or multiple trains to get here, directions further below.
If you want to keep it simple, TakeMeTour offers day trips to the Maeklong Railway Market with a local guide. The trip includes transport, hotel pickup, drop off, lunch, AND a bonus visit to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. This is one of their most popular trips. Unlike most group tours you’ll find in the city, this is a private trip with a proper local.
Here’s a photo of me sitting in the middle of the market. A couple of minutes later a train rushed through.
The Maeklong Railway Market is a small market on the railway tracks next to Maeklong Railway Station. When there are no trains around, you can easily forget this is actually an operating railway line. When the train sounds its horn, it turns straight back into a railway line.
The market is cramped under the fold-out umbrellas. It is quite hot, and there is a lot of activity going on. The locals walk around slowly, and all over the place. Be patient as you walk through the market, otherwise, you will just get frustrated by the foot traffic.
It is interesting to see how half of the store owners are asleep on the ground behind their shop. I guess there is no better way to escape the midday heat than to sleep through it. Even better, no one will push cheap souvenirs in your face. This is definitely an authentic little local market still.
Explore another great Bangkok market: Ban Nam Pheung in Bang Krachao
What Can I Buy at the Bangkok Train Market?
The Maeklong Railway Market has lots of fresh seafood. For most foreign travelers with nowhere to cook, this probably isn’t of much interest. However I suggest you try some of the dried fish or dried squid, it’s a local favorite, and ready to eat on the go.
There are also loads of fresh fruits grown in Ratchaburi just next door. Be sure to try the crunchy pink Rose-apples and the huge juicy Pomelos. If you’re brave enough you can even try some fresh Durian! These three are some of the most popular fruits in Thailand, and there’s no place to get them fresher than at the markets.
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There’s also a wide selection of Thai desserts available at the Maeklong Railway Market. I’m not familiar with the names of all of these, but they’re definitely worth trying. Some desserts are good, and some are interesting. It’s a lucky dip, so just take your chances.
Around the market, you will also find some small restaurants and cafes. A meal is about 100 THB which is a fairly standard price. Look out for the guy on the corner who sells homemade ice cream, it’s definitely worth a taste too!
You will not find tacky souvenirs or electronics at the Maeklong Railway Market. For these, your best bet is MBK in Bangkok.
Where is the Maeklong Railway Market?
The Maeklong Railway Market is located in Samut Songkhram Province. This is about 1 hour south-west of Bangkok, just beyond Samut Sakhon.
The area is surrounded by small canals and the Mae Klong River which flows out to the ocean in the Gulf of Thailand.
The market is only a short distance from the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, and the busier but more authentic Amphawa Floating Market. They’re both worth checking out if you are visiting the area.
Getting to the Maeklong Train Market
There are a few different ways to get to the train market from Bangkok. The option you take depends on time, budget, and your adventurous spirit. I personally go by minivan, as it is the quickest and cheapest.
Minivan: departs Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai) and the Northern Bus Terminal (near to Mo Chit BTS) for 70thb per person. Minivans depart from the Southern Bus Terminal every 40 minutes or so. The trip takes 90 minutes and drops you off right by the market. Do not go to the Victory Monument bus terminal, services ended in 2016.
Taxi: a driver for the whole day costs about 2,000thb which is economical with a group of 4. The driver can also take you to the Damnoen Saduak or Amphawa Floating Markets for the same fare.
Train: takes about 3 hours in total, one way. Catch a train from Wongwian Yai Station to Mahachai Station. Cross the river to Tha Chalom Pier. Catch another train from Ban Laem Station to the Maeklong Railway Market.
Warning: Thai trains are notorious for running late, therefore, this 3-hour journey can easily take much longer. Trains also have no air conditioning so only choose this option if you are up for the Bangkok heat.
Tour: if all of the above seems a bit too challenging then you can also take an easy day trip to the Maeklong Railway Market from Bangkok. Check out this trip with TakeMeTour, one of their most popular day trips. This tour includes all transport, hotel pickup, drop off and lunch! It’s not a bad way to get around.
Maeklong Railway Market Train Schedule 2020
Trains arrive at Maeklong Station 7 days a week. You can visit any day.
The Maeklong Railway Market train Schedule in 2020 is:
- Train Arrival times: 8.30 a.m., 11.10 a.m., 2.30 p.m. and 5.40 p.m.
- Train Departure times: 6.20 a.m., 9.00 a.m., 11.30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m.
I recommend that you hang around the railway tracks 10 to 15 minutes before the train arrives or departs. Trains in Thailand are notorious for being late, so you don’t want to wait another hour if you miss the train by just a few minutes!
Maeklong Railway Market Opening Hours
The train market is open 7 days a week from 6.20am to 5.40pm.
The Maeklong Railway Market opening hours coincide with the first arrival and last train departure from Maeklong Station.
It is best to visit the market in the early morning. Around midday and in the afternoon the market is hot and uncomfortable, especially in the summer. That’s why all the locals are sleeping! After this market, you can continue on the to the nearby Amphawa and Damnoen Sadauk Floating Markets in the afternoon.
Tip: if you want to discover loads more markets with details of opening hours, days and locations, then consider getting my Bangkok travel guide. There are over 50 destinations in and around Bangkok. That’s way more than you can see even with a full week in Bangkok!
Accommodation near the Train Market
Should you spend a night out of Bangkok near the Maeklong Railway market? Hell yes! It is a great way to experience part of ‘outer Bangkok’ that many other travelers just don’t get to see, a true insight into what the non-touristy Thai culture looks like.
The lifestyle out here is slower than in Bangkok. You can forget about the endless traffic jams, annoying Tuk Tuk drivers and the Khao Sarn Road party scene. Replace that with a laid-back village atmosphere where people live by the canals and still get around by boat instead of a car.
For an authentic experience, I suggest the Bann Reuan Penn Homestay. This small guesthouse is located right next to the canal (klong in Thai), where you can watch the boats go by in the morning and afternoon. It is also within walking distance of the Amphawa Floating Market, perfect for enjoying the bars and restaurants at night without needing to rush back to Bangkok on the last bus of the afternoon.
From just $40 per night for a double room (including free breakfast for two), it is as good a deal as you will find in Bangkok!
Other FAQ about the Train Market
Is the Maeklong Railway Market closed? The market was temporarily closed in 2015 for track repair works. However, the market has since re-opened for visitors every day of the week!
Which other markets can I visit nearby? The closest market is the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Samut Songkhram. You can get there easily by taxi which should cost less than 100 THB.
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