After seeing it in an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, Mike really wanted to visit the Maeklong Railway Market while we were in Bangkok. I arranged a (private) tour that picked us up at our hotel and took us the two hours or so outside of Bangkok to Samut Songkhram where the market is located. The Maeklong market is the terminus of the railway with the same name.
If you didn’t watch the Anthony Bourdain link above, the market is famous for the train that runs through it. And when I say runs through it, I mean RIGHT through the market. Several times a day, all the vendors pack up their stalls, push their awnings back, and wait for the train to pass through before putting everything back like nothing ever happened.
Why don’t they just move the market, you wonder? Good question, but the fact that I went pretty much answers that question. Tourists like it! (But it is also an actual functioning market.) It was touristy, but also really cool to see.
A brief stop on the way to Samut Songkhram for coffee and some Thai “doughnuts.” I don’t remember what they were called in Thai (EDIT: It was pointed out in the comments that these are called Khanom Krog — thanks!), but they were crispy and hot, and came with two different kinds of fillings: corn and taro.
Some kind of tasty-looking dessert I did not get to try.
Samut Songkhram, near the entrance to the railway market.
The entrance to the market.
The market has all kinds of seafood, vegetables, spices, and prepared things like curry pastes for sale. The interior of the market has more dry goods and stuff like clothes.
As you can see, the stalls are basically right on top of the train tracks.
Shrimp for sale!
The ever-important chilis.
A warning bell sounds when the train is approaching so that everyone has time to pack their stalls up.
Here comes the train!
Mike took a video of the train going through. You can watch above or click to see it on Vimeo: Train Market in Thailand
And then immediately after the train passes through, everything is back to normal like nothing ever happened. Amazing!
Mike couldn’t resist trying out some meat on a stick before we left.
The other end of the train market. Our next stop was the floating market.
Next entry: FLOATING MARKETS. They float! We sit in a boat!