I first saw a video of Maeklong Railway Market on Whatsapp. And I almost refused to believe it. A few months later I was standing at the market known as Talat Rom Hoop (ตลาดร่มหุบ) locally, about to witness the phenomenon myself! The local name means “umbrella pulldown market” as that is what the vendors do when the train is about to pass through!
The market must have existed before the railway line came through in early 1900s. Even today there is gap in the line which has to be covered by ferry between Mahachai and Ban Laem stations. The market is next to the Maeklong Railway Station.
When we arrived, we had a just a few minutes before the 9.45 am train passed. The same train comes back at 10.20 am from the Maeklong Station. To look at the schedule of the trains you can click here and scroll down. Looking at the number of tourists who were there, the market is clearly popular. I could hardly get any room to click pictures!
Before the Train Passes through the Maeklong Railway Market
Before the train arrives at the market, you roam around the market like you will at any other place! There are fruits, sea food, meat and other stuff to be bought. There are a lot of tourists all looking for good pictures too. So yo will be in the frame of many other people, as they will be in your’s!
Just Before the Train Passes through the Maeklong Railway Market
You will see the umbrellas or the awnings of the shops come down! You will also see a few vendors clearing the track. They urge all the tourists to get out and stand on the sides, at least a foot away from the main track! They are quite vigorous in shooing people away and rightly so, because the consequences of staying on the track are not pretty at all!
By the time they make sure everyone is safely off the track, you can already hear the horn clearly. The last of the vendors go off the track just as the train is approaching.
When the Train Passes through the Maeklong Railway Market
When the train passes through, you of course, stay out of the tracks! You also try desperately to keep your camera clear of other tourists. I only partially succeeded in it! And however great the temptation for a good picture, you firmly remain in the place which managed to occupy before the train came in the view.
You have to resist the impulse to yell at the person who put their camera in your frame, because you must be doing the same to the person next to you! From photography point of view I only managed to use my cell phone and Gopro. It didn’t help that I was completely new to GoPro then!
After the Train has Passed through the Maeklong Railway Market
After the train has passed, you go back on the tracks again, the market comes back too! I was vehemently disappointed with my pictures when I clicked them in August 2016. After putting some distance between the event and my pictures, I am a little more charitable towards them.
Maeklong Railway Market was an intense experience for me. How I wish to go back, now that I know what to expect out there! I promise I will come back with better pictures and videos if I ever go back again.
PS. I was invited to Thailand by TAT New Delhi
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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