Out of all the places in Thailand the Maeklong railway market impressed me the most. Not only the place but long captivating return back to the hostel. I loved staying in Bangkok because there is so much to do within a two hour journey of the city. I could stay here for a long time and not get bored.
So my journey started this morning when I got a minivan to the town of Maeklong. I set off from the extremely busy and protest ridden Victory Monument at about 8am and I was rammed into the back of some tiny mini van (6 foot 6 tall in seats designed for Thai’s isn’t nice). 80 mins later, the minivan kicked me out on some motorway hard shoulder and pointed in some direction, I hitched a ride on some local’s motorbike who proceeded to ride the wrong way down a hard shoulder, but I got there pretty quick I guess.
If you didn’t know this town, you wouldn’t otherwise know there was such a market. First impressions are that it looks like your average rural Thai town.
Maeklong Railway Market
On arrival of the town there were no tourists, and nobody spoke english which was a good start. Going around the market is interesting, there is just a bunch of canopies that I was way too tall to walk under, I must have looked like a right mug walking about. Some big ass white man with a camera taking pictures of cabbage or something.
You would think the place is just the same as any other market in a little town until you look at the ground; there are train tracks stretching the length of the market and what happens 8 times a day is crazy — the market folds up to allow for trains to run through.
After I was at this place for a while, waiting for a train to turn up with a big jug of ice tea, sitting next to some plates of smelly squid; a loud siren goes off. All of a sudden the awnings are pulled back and then slowly the train creeps through. The gap between the sides of the market and the train is so small that you barely can stand at the side. I was unlucky and a load of tourists ended up standing next to me and almost spoilt my video. Somehow a load of tourists just turned up out of nowhere.
After the train had gone through the market stalls are wheeled back out and awnings swung back down in a matter of minutes. I decided to take the train back to see the Thai countryside once again, despite the 3 and a half hour journey time. I think Guniess World Records need to contact the Maeklong Railway people about the bumpiest railway in the world because this was bumpy as hell, it was like that scene off Mr. Bean where he changes the ride at the theme park and people are flying everywhere. After about two hours the train just stops and I was told to walk down the road to a ferry crossing and get on another train.
I think the ferry crossing was in a town called Samsut Sakhon. I was getting some dodgy looks from the locals and some old woman laughed at me but was probably because a random English man was in some random town in Thai. Oh well.
Although I wouldn’t want to do it all too often, the long slow train routes are cool because you go nice and slow and see some of the country and small villages; something that would otherwise be missed by just taking a minivan or bus. I don’t know names of what birds I saw (saw some blue & white kingfisher though) but you see all sorts if you look.
To save this post from being way to long, next post I will continue with some pictures I took from the train window en route back from Maeklong and it was if I had an epiphany. I had plenty of time to think about life.It was an interesting train journey indeed.