The Maeklong Railway is a  railway that services the route btween Wongwian Yai, Bangkok, and Samut Songkhram in Central Thailand. The railway is most famous for the portion of it's route through the Maeklong Railway Market, affectionately nicknamed Talad Rom Hoop, or ''Umbrella Pulldown Market', which derives from the action of the stall owners scurrying to pull down and keep the tentages/plastic shelters to make way for the train to pass.

A couple months back the bf and I visited Maeklong Railway market as part of a 2D1N trip from bangkok along with Ampawa (review here) as we wanted something a little different from the usual shopping/eating Bangkok trip. Despite being incredibly touristy and crowded, it didn't disappoint. 

How to go: There are regular van services from beneath victory monument flyer over. details here. You can also choose to go via bus, train, details here. For a timetable of when the train passes the station, refer here
We visited the market on 2 occasions, once in the afternoon (after 3pm) and another time in the morning, between 9-10am. The first time we visited we didn't manage to catch the train pass through the market, so we briefly browsed the market, then returned to Ampawa to rest at our bed and breakfast.

The market is very lively with many stall offering goods ranging from vegetables, to preserved fish, seafood, spices, and even thai dessert. Here are a couple of photos of the market:

very narrow walk way between two rows of stalls 

child of stall-owner walking about 

spices, seasoning, vegetables for sale

fresh and preserved fish 

If you walk along the market towards the right (direction away from the 7-11 where the bus from victory monument will drop you), at the end across the road you can see the train terminal. 

train terminal 

At the train terminal you can find a board that lists clearly the timings that the train will depart and arrive at the station, as well as delays if any and the estimated time. 

ticket booth with arrival/departure timings 

The morning we arrived from checking out from Amphawa, we walked to the train booth to see the following sign announcing that the train arrival would be delayed to 950am. 

train delayed to 950 am

As we had some time to spare, we decided to walk around to see if there was anything interesting to capture on film, or anything to buy for snacking on the long journey back to bangkok later. While walking through the market, we chanced upon a procession of monks going about their daily alms. 

asking for alms

monk leading the procession of alms

Majority of the thais, including tourists/customers who passed by and stall-owners, were very gracious and gave alms to the monks. They bowed their heads in respect, and placed their palms together while the monks chanted their prayers. 

alms-giving at Maeklong market

Following that the monks left the market and walked around the other neighbourhood stores and continued asking for alms. One of the stall-owners, a kindly-looking middle-aged lady, stopped what she was doing and immediately left her store to give alms to the monks. It was very touching to see how sincere and devout the Thais are to their religion, and how kind they are towards the monks. 

giving alms, body and head bowed in prayer

Along the same stretch of road right across from the 7-11, we found a cake shop selling cakes and pastries. I was delighted because I hadn't see cakes made like this in a long while, at least not in Singapore – old-style, fresh cream cakes, with shiny gelatin/jelly toppings. I was really excited and immediately  decided to buy some. The bf isn't a fan of cakes so I just bought one so I could taste it on the van ride back. We then quickly made our way back to the railway market as it was nearing 950 am and we couldn't wait for the moment when the train would pass through the station!

old style cakes 

in rolls, in cubes, in slices... 

At about 950am an announcement tone/sound, similar to the kinds you hear in school indicating that lunch break is over, sounded through the speakers, and the stall owners started to clear their stalls and pull away the tents/shelters to make way for the train to pass through. 

waiting for the train to arrive

pushing the tents/shelters backwards to clear the way for the train

As we stood near one of the stalls with fruits lay directly next to the train tracks, the stall owner repeated montioned and called for us to shift backwards on the other side of another stall. We were confused as we didn’t understand what she meant, thinking that there was ample space for us to stand there. In her frustration, she shoved us, and a couple of other tourists, far behind a stall. Just seconds later, we heard the sound of the train arriving! 

To our astonishment, when the train passed by, it’s carriage moved narrowly over some of the stall owner’s fruits and vegetables! 

think it's safe to stand here?.... 

Finally, the train's here!!!!

it's not safe! if you stood here you'd be run over!

The pathway was taken up almost entirely by the train, with just a little space for our hands to stick out to take photos of the train passing! And it was barely 3 minutes? before we realized it was over. 

train returning to the station 

train at the station

Though it was only a short moment, it's an interesting once-in-a-lifetime experience and for a mere 70-80 Baht one can journey here from Bangkok in less than half a day to see it. I would highly recommend you include it in your next trip to Bangkok and experience it for yourself! 

After following the train back to it's terminal, we then slowly made our way to the van terminal to take the mini van back to victory monument in bangkok. Some photos of the terminal below: 

right outside the van terminal

view from the van terminal entrance