Originally during our Thailand planning, Adrienne and I knew we wanted to visit one of the floating markets near Bangkok. After much discussion, we settled on the Amphawa markets as it’s supposed to be a little less touristy than the closer Damnoen. I had read we could get there on our own by taking a bus to the train to the market. It’s less than ideal, but it is very cheap. However, when we arrive at our hotel, we see that they offer half-day tours to the Maeklong Train Market, the Amphawa Floating Market and a boat tour to see the lightening bugs on the river for ~$40/person. Adrienne is sold and convinces me this is the way to go. It may be more expensive, but it’s so much easier and only takes half a day, instead of the full day we originally thought.
Our first stop is the Maeklong Train Market. The van drops us off as close as possible, but we have hustle through some narrow streets and cut through a building to come out on the train tracks. We arrive just as the train is coming through. I’m impressed with how well they timed our arrival.
Quick! Get out of the way!
I wonder what the driver must think every time he comes through. Remarkably the food lining the tracks is completely untouched. The vendors are clearly very adept at knowing exactly where the train ends.
As soon as the train has passed, the awnings come back out and you almost can’t even tell there are train tracks here.
We have about an hour before we have to be back at the van, so we walk along the tracks, doing a little “window shopping”. It feels a bit like we’re entering another world.
The Maeklong market is one of the largest fresh seafood markets in Thailand (according to Wikipedia). It definitely smells like it.
After a short walk, we end up at the Maeklong train station. There are more vendors here, but few travelers, it seems.
If we had taken the train ourselves, this is where we would have gotten off. Seeing it now, I’m glad we went with the tour. It made everything much easier.
If you’re looking for touristy things to buy, the Maeklong station is where to get them. The rest of the market seems to target locals, but the station has t-shirts and elephant pants galore. We’re not buying anything though, so turn around to head back to the van. Can you believe a train is able to get through here?
We slowly make our way back through the market.
I catch this lady mid-yawn. It’s hot and I don’t blame her one bit!
It’s a short stop, but worth it. What a unique thing to see! If you have time in Bangkok, I recommend joining a tour that includes this stop. It is possible to get out here on your own for much cheaper, but it requires a lot of transferring and knowing what you’re doing. A tour simplifies this for you and takes far less time. It’s worth paying a bit more, unless you really like the adventure of doing it on your own.