I ride that Famous Train through a market (And how You can do it)

IMG_9440 Have you see pictures or videos of that train which goes through a market in an Asian country?. As the train moves through the market, the market stands are moved out of its way.  Here is the market being set up again after the train has passed through: From the moment, I first saw such a video, I became obsessed with getting to that market. Finally, I have done it! IMG_9431 Location and Orientation

The market is a genuine working market located in Thailand in a town called Mae Klong which is just 70km (40 miles) from Bangkok.  The town has a very relaxed feel.  There are just four trains a day through the market in each direction (eight trips in total) so you need to time it right to see a train.

IMG_9248

That is the entrance to the market behind me! Follow the rail tracks

IMG_9241Get there by 620am and you could see the train go through the market eight times! You would really have to be fanatical about this!

Getting There and Getting Around
The fastest way to get to Mae Klong from Bangkok is to hire a car and driver.   In theory, you could go down and watch the 1110am arrival and the 1130 departure, have an early lunch and head back to Bangkok. Do not cut to too fine or the infamous Bangkok, travel can cause some havoc. If you had a driver it would be possible to combine it with the Amphawa floating market on a Saturday or Sunday.

There is also a mini van service between Victory Monument in Bangkok and Maeklong which costs 70 baht ($USD2) each way. It is much faster than the train combination I describe below.

There are some tours that include the market itself as part of their schedule.

I took the train both ways.  My recommendation would be to take the train in at least one direction so you can experience riding through the market. To get there on the train from Bangkok is not simple but it is pretty straightforward.  It is a fascinating opportunity to experience Thai life first hand. The journey includes:

  1. Train ride Bangkok Wong Wian Yai station to Maha Chai (you will also see this written as Maha Chai)
  2. Ferry ride from Maha Chai to Ban Laem on a small ferry
  3. Train ride from Ban Laem to Maeklong

You need to get the timing right if you want to get there, see the markets, watch the trains pass through and get back to Bangkok that same day.

1 Bangkok Wong Wian Yai station to Maha Chai Wong Wian Yai is a busy residential area with few tourist attractions-and even fewer tourists. Trip Advisor rates the area #203 of 503 things to do in the city so you will find yourself on a fairly unbeaten path. I took the BTS Skytrain across the river to Wangwan Yai from Siam. Following local short cuts down some alleys, the railway station is less than ten minutes walk. The walk provides glimpses of very authentic urban Thai lifestyle. Taking the main roads will make the walk closer to 20 minutes.
I was so paranoid about being late, that I was really early and had plenty of time to explore the area including the King Taksin Statue located in a roundabout near the railway station. IMG_9162

The station itself is a little hidden. It has only one track and the station buildings are built into what looks like a shopping strip. There are three trains to aim for from Wong Wian Yai: 7am , 730am or 835am. The earlier trains will give you more time in Maha Chai or more time to spend in the Mae Klong Market with the chance to see the train go through the market an extra time. I chose the 835am.

IMG_9174

Departure Point

The fare for this section is 10 Baht (29 US cents) in a third class carriage or 25 baht if it is an air conditioned Second Class carriage.   You cannot buy a through ticket. Each section must be bought separately on the day of travel.  Nor can you use your tickets issued by either of the Bangkok Transit companies (BTS or MRT). 2. Ferry ride from Maha Chai to Ban Laem 

IMG_9197

Mai Chai Station

This is the trickiest part of the journey as you may not have a lot of time to make the connection especially if the first train is late. When you arrive at Maha Chai, walk to the front of the train. Turn left to leave the station and you will reach a main street with lots of market stalls.

IMG_9198

Road in Mai Chai from Station to Pier

IMG_9560

Seafood along the way

Turn right at the main street  and walk along the road which ends at a T-intersection. Left at that street and you will see the ferry terminal. It is a small  little half-circle building with a tower topped with a model of a sailing boat. There is only one service from here. Ask if you are unsure.   The ferry costs just four Baht (12 US cents).  People ride their bikes onto the ferry. 3.Train ride from Ban Laem to Mae Klong

IMG_9205

Ban Laem Ferry Terminal

Once across the river at Ban Laem walk through the shops until you get to the street.  Turn right and walk along the road past a school to the station. At this point, I was not alone as a small group of tourists were all headed to the same destination. The station is across a field on a path that can get wet in the rainy season. It is a small rural one track station. IMG_9457 This is the train that will take you to Mae Klong. IMG_9214 The fare to Mae Klong is ten baht (US 29 cents).

The atmosphere in the carriage began to build in intensity, the closer we got to Mae Klong. The train slowed right down to a crawl just outside the city, and emitted several loud blasts of its horn. As a passenger,  it felt like we were royalty as people lined up to wave at us! It is an amazing experience riding the train into the market and I would encourage people to try it. If you have kids, they will undoubtedly love this as much as the kids in my carriage did. IMG_9348

IMG_9395

End of the line

Exploring Mae Klong   There is not a lot to see and do in Mae Klong. What I would recommend is.: IMG_9425

  1. Watch at least one train in and one train out 

    IMG_9442

    It gets a little cozy!

  2. Explore the market  IMG_9307IMG_9315
    IMG_9309

    Amazing that a train runs through here!

    IMG_9326

    IMG_9320

    Yummy Thai desserts

    IMG_9313

    Very fresjh fish

    IMG_9316

    Mango and fish anyone?

    IMG_9323

    Limes and chiles

  3. Enjoy a  seafood lunch – you are pretty guaranteed to get a cheap fresh seafood meal. There are some tourist-oriented food stalls in the station with menus in English. The ones further away are a little cheaper and menus are less likely to be in English. My rule of thumb is follow the locals.
  4. Partake in a massage at one of the (legitimate) massage centres. Cost seemed to be a little cheaper than Bangkok

If you are looking for lavatories, there are some in the train station whcih will cost you a few cents to use. I returned the same way but spent a little more time exploring Maha Chai as it is a nice town with some good food spots. There are a couple of train times for the ride back to Bangkok or you will find a taxi won’t be too expensive. Finally,  you can grab a min van back to the Victory Monument area of Bangkok. This latest train ride means I have now ridden most of the train lines in Thailand. A few small sections to go and I can claim to have ridden every train line in the country! Related Posts

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *