We visited a number of Bangkok’s bustling markets, all unique in their own way, but one market stood out from the rest. The Maeklong Train Market, located in the smallest province in Thailand, Samutsongkram, only an hour drive away from Bangkok, is like every other fresh food market in Thailand, except for one amazing thing!
Packed with fresh and dried fish, prepared foods for takeaway, raw meats and vegetables, and dozens of varieties of dried shrimp and spices, this market has a passenger train line running directly through it. Eight times a day the train rolls through and vendors have become so accustomed to this routine that they collapse their awnings, rearrange their food and move their boxes all within a calm two minutes.
The train arrives on an unpredictable schedule so it gives a three-minute advanced warning to vendors to clear the tracks before it chugs its way through the bustling market, narrowly avoiding displays of fresh fruits and vegetables, not to mention the curious tourists who don’t know what to do with themselves.
Luckily, we had a local guide to show us the best place to stand, which is highly recommended for a safe visit. The train doesn’t exactly come barreling through like you may expect from a typical passenger train, but it does get a little nerve-wracking watching the vendors collapse their awnings, re-position boxes and smooth down piles of produce so the train can safely roll over them. I’m not so sure anyone should be eating those particular vegetables.