Mae klong railway market

by sam on 2nd December 2014 8 comments

The first image for blog - Mae klong railway market

The Mae klong market, also known as the Risky Market, the folding umbrella market and the Train market, has been on my bucket list for a long time. It's not that it's massively spectacular, to the point that we ummed and Ahhed last night about whether it was worth the taxi from the Homestay to the Victory monument on the other side of Bangkok, to get the minivan to take us an hour and a half ish, to see a train, that would take about 2 minutes... It sounds ridiculous right? But we timed it well enough that we got to see it twice, so 4 minutes for 3hrs effort... No, still sounds daft!

The first image for blog - Mae klong railway market

Almost ready for the train

The market was there first, since 1905, and then government decided that the train line needed to go right where the market is. The market traders decided they didn't want to move so 6 times a day, every day for the last 42 years apparently, they push back everything when they hear the first siren, 3 minutes before arrival, and then stand well back (it's a wide old beast!) when the 2nd siren signals... Unless you are either one of the hardcore traders that are so blasé you don't even start moving until the 2nd siren, or a foolish tourist on a death wish quest to get epic film footage!

The first image for blog - Mae klong railway market

The train sat at the bed of the line

It comes through, blasting it's horn, sometimes slow, sometimes quite fast, but either way when it's there, a foot or so away from your face, it feels fast. The vendors are very clever as knowing exactly what needs to move grapes are harmed in the process. They remove the stuff right next to rails for the wheels to grip over properly and everything else, so long as it's low enough for the overhanging carriage part to pass over, stays exactly where it was. And literally, the second the train has gone past their stall, the strings holding the canopies are released and the tables wheeled back into position and without a word, as if nothing ever happened, business instantly resumes.

The end of the trainline is just 20 metres after the end of the market, so after it went through the first time we could go nosy at the parked train, buy Liss a tacky tshirt, grab some noodle soup and then reposition ourselves ready for the 2nd passing through.

The first image for blog - Mae klong railway market

Lissa's freebie for today...not tried yet, or got a clue but it smells nice :)

The market itself, aside from the one tacky tshirt stall, is very un-touristy, we were, surprisingly, one of maybe 15 tourists there. Perhaps as you need to get yourselves there on public transport in the week (tours run at the weekend I think) then that puts people off. Admittedly it did take us a little while of searching/signing at locals to find the return mini van spot... Absolutely no where near where we got off!!

There was every kind of fruit, veg and fish you can think of, lots of spices and street food cooking. We bought a few new things to try... Some really good (jack fruit) some not so good (weird orange sweet string things... No idea what!) We skipped the fried frogs on sticks completely, and the kids equally weren't keen in the eels still writhing in the bucket.

Taking a couple of small blonde people with you really helps with the budget though, they have offered things free to Liss if she smiles and points at something on their stall, our one word of Thai (cretins, I know!) is Thankyou and they seem very happy with that and wave us on our way :-)

The first image for blog - Mae klong railway market

J and Liss

So was it worth the effort? For sure! It's definitely not something you see everyday,or anywhere else, and if we came back in 10 years, health and safety would probably have changed it all and stuck up barriers at the very least... And we wouldn't have these smalls with us, looking in absolute thrilled/scared/perplexed wonderment at what was happening :-)

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by Granddad on 2nd December 2014

Great pics, the kids all look well. Good to see Adam eating healthy and wearing his wrist beads. Nice one Ads. Another good write up. Hope you didn't try the fish!!

by Jane on 2nd December 2014

Wow, looks like you're all having an amazing time and making some wonderful memories. Can't wait for the instalment of your adventure xxx

by Andy B on 2nd December 2014

Good too see you are making Liss earn her food on the trip. Good to see you all smiling. Kids wish you all love, can't wait for the next update x

by Nan's Hub on 3rd December 2014

Fascinatingly scary. How do the Thai's survive without "Elf & Safety"? It's obviously a totally different world out there. Keep safe.

by Eileen on 3rd December 2014

We love trains anyway so would definitely have made the effort - markets are good fun too!!!! The photos are great.

by Vicky on 3rd December 2014

If anyone (the kids) proves with a photo that they have tried something we wouldn't normally eat in this country I will give them a fiver :-) who will try a fried tarantula? Xxxx

by Nic barnes on 6th December 2014

So loving the stories, think this is my favourite so far as sounds so totally random! So glad u r living your dreams xx

by Days on 6th December 2014

It was totally random, Nic, so cool to see it in real lie, the most surreal bit was just how cool and calm they are about it all! Definitely trying lots of new foods, but will have to start snapping more pics to prove it Vic, and they all look like traveller kids now with multiple wrist beads!! Xx

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