Friday, 6 February 2015

Mae Klong Train Market

Eila was telling me about the Mae Klong Train Market near Bangkok and how unique it is. She even showed me pics.

So during my trip to Bangkok last month we joined a tour because we were too lazy to find our own transport to the market. Cost of the tour was THB 1,100 which covered the Mae Klong Train Market, Amphawa Floating Market and a firefly colony (which is a boat ride from the Amphawa Floating Market).

Before I tell you the story about the train market, let me share with you another story about poor planning.

When we booked the tour with our hostel, the receptionist told us to be ready by 11.00am the next day.

The next morning we went to one of the stalls near the hostel for a breakfast of noodle soup.

As we were walking back to our room at around 10.30am, the receptionist informed that the guide would pick us up at 11.30am instead of 11.00am. We were happy because that means an additional 30 minutes to laze about and get ready.

However about 10 minutes later, the receptionist was knocking at our door to inform that the guide was already downstairs. We were annoyed and rushed to get ready.

By 10.45am we were downstairs and hopped into the waiting van. Geesh, talk about poor timing and planning. Maybe it was a communication breakdown.

According to Google Maps, the Mae Klong Train Market is a 1 hour 15 minute drive from our hostel in the Sukhumvit area in Bangkok. However if you join these tours organised by your hostel, be prepared to sit in the van for hours as the driver drives from one hostel to the next to pick up guests.

Be prepared to wait even longer if you're the first guests the driver picks up, if the driver can't find any of the other hostels or worst if the guest is still sleeping!

In the end, the supposed to be 1 hour 15 minute drive to Mae Klong Train Market turned out to be a 3-hour long journey, sigh ...

I snapped this pic at one of the hotels while we waited for the guests to come down:

I thought this was creative. Not sure whether these car lots are actually being used by the people mentioned :-)

Ok now back to the Mae Klong Train Market.

People casually walking on the tracks. When the train is about to pass the area, bells will ring and the traders will remove their shades to allow the train to pass.

The train passes the market twice a day at 1.45pm and 2.30pm (in the opposite direction). 

Note : The lady in black tights was not trying to commit suicide by jumping in front of the moving train.

After passing the market, the train stops at the Mae Klong Railway Station for a short while before making its journey back.

There were many people at the station that day. Maybe because it was the year end holidays. Photo by Angie Tan.

It was amusing to see people jumping onto the tracks after the train had passed to snap a selfie.

But while jumping onto the tracks or even standing by the side to watch, people forget that the width of the train is much wider than the tracks, thus putting themselves in danger.

This is how wide the train is:

Photo by Angie Tan using her new Olympus Pen. A point-and-shoot camera like mine will never be able to take such clear shots of a moving object.

Photo by Angie Tan.

We were told that just a few weeks before we went to the market, a tourist got dragged by the train because he/she was standing too close. Must have been quite a scare to be dragged like that. Luckily the person didn't perish in the incident.

So remember, don't stand too close to the tracks.

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