Mae Klong


The unassuming town of Maeklong (more commonly known as Mae Klong) in Samut Songkhram province attracts tourists with one unusual attraction. Take a day trip from Bangkok and experience adrenaline-pumping shopping in the marketplace, with a railway line running through its centre.

Although the railway market in Hanoi, Vietnam is more famous, the Thai one is definitely worth a visit too. Take a train ride, discover the authentic Thai countryside, experience a train passing just inches away and even take a short trip to the nearby Amphawa floating market.

Market right on the tracks

Maeklong (often mistakenly referred to as Samut Songkhram province on maps) is a vibrant town where fishing and farming are the economic mainstays. And it is in the centre of Maeklong that local fishermen and farmers sell their produce every day.

As space is generally an issue in Thai cities, the market has somewhat spontaneously sprung up on a relatively underused local track leading to the town of Ban Laem. Every time a train approaches, the market vendors briskly move their stalls out of reach of the carriages, and shoppers move behind the red-marked line to avoid being run over by the train. After the train passes, the stalls are put back in place, even if there are only 20 minutes between passages.

The market is open every day from about 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, but some stalls are sold out after noon.

Trains pass through the market 8 times a day. Four times in one direction and four times in the other direction.

What time does the train pass?

Although the railway to Mae Klong is operated by the state-owned Thai Railways SRT, you won't find a timetable for this route on their official website.

However, the times of passage have changed only minimally over the years, we are transcribing the current timetable from 2023, which will probably be valid for the years to come.

  • Departure from Ban Laem (reverse terminus): 7:30, 10:10, 13:30, 16:40
  • Arrival Mae Klong (passing through the market about 2 minutes earlier): 8:30, 11:10, 14:30, 17:40
  • Departure Mae Klong (passage through the market about 1-2 minutes later): 6:20, 9:00, 11:30, 15:30
  • Arrival in Ban Laem (opposite end): 7:20, 10:00, 12:30, 16:30

What to buy at the market?

Maeklong Market is one of the largest fresh fish markets in Thailand. Obviously this is not a very practical item for tourists, but you can also buy fresh fruit, drinks, sweets and also ready-made meals ideal for a light lunch or snack.

A trip to the floating markets of Amphawa or Damnoen Saduak

Maeklong is close to the Amphawa (7 km) and Damnoen Saduak (19 km) floating markets, two of the most famous in Thailand. Both markets are open daily from approximately 7:30am to 5pm.

A much easier route leads to the closer Amphawa market. Blue songthaews (open vans that function as shared taxis) leave from a station near the railway market(exact location on the map) about 1-4 times per hour, depending on how full they get. Just tell the driver you're going to Amphawa and he'll helpfully direct you to the correct songthaew. You pay the driver after you get off and the price should be 15 thb.

There is also a minivan that runs once every two hours on the Mae Klong - Amphawa - Damnoen Saduak route from the main bus station(location on map). The cost is 30 thb to Amphawa and 50 thb to Damnoen Saduak.

How to get to Mae Klong?

There are several options for getting to the "train market" in Mae Klong.

Organized with a travel agency

The vast majority of tourists book a group day trip with a guide from one of the hundreds of local travel agencies scattered around Bangkok (especially around the main sights, but also the major hotels).

Most of these trips include the "railway market" and "floating market", sometimes just Amphawa, sometimes Damnoen Saduak. You will always travel by air-conditioned van, departing from designated hotels within Bangkok.

Prices vary but should be in the range of 60 usd to 75 usd.

On your own by train

The train journey is the most fun and you will see the most during it. From Bangkok it will take you about 2.5 to 3 hours and you will have to change trains once using the short ferry. But in addition you will see the lively fishing town of Mahachai completely free of tourists and the beautiful quiet town of Tha Chalom, where there are also few tourists.

First you will take the train from Bangkok to Maha Chai. Trains leave from Wongwian Yan station(how to get here) once an hour throughout the day. The first service from Wongwian Yan leaves at 5:30am, which will easily catch the first connecting service on the next line. The journey to Mahachai takes less than an hour.

In Mahachai, stroll through the marketplace right by the station and in 150 metres get on the ferry across the river, which runs about once every 5 minutes throughout the day. You pay 5 thb at the ticket office via boarding.

The boat drops you off on the other shore at the town of Tha Chalom, which you can walk through or head straight to the station called Ban Laem depending on time. There are quite clear signs that lead you to it, which are also in English.

Trains run from Ban Laem to Mae Klong 4 times a day (see times above).

You can always buy train tickets at the ticket office at all stations. From Bangkok to Mahachai and from Ban Laem to Mae Klong each cost 10 thb. 25 thb. And that's about 45 times less than the price with an organized tour...

On your own by bus/minivan

Many tourists opt for a quicker bus connection for a single trip (usually back to Bangkok). Some connections are catered for by smaller minivans/vanpools. However, the vehicles are always air-conditioned and relatively modern.

The bus station in Mae Klong is about 250 metres south of the train one(location on the map), and tickets can be purchased from the kiosks under the concourse. Just ask at the first booth where to buy tickets to Bangkok and the vendors will helpfully direct you to the nearest departure.

In Bangkok, all minivans/buses stop at South Bus Station and some leave from Mochit Station (see the Bangkok guide for information on connections to the city centre).

The ticket costs 70 thb and is always cash only.

Accommodation Mae Klong

The journey from Bangkok on your own takes between 4 and 5 hours there and back, so if you want to enjoy the market and the town to the full, stay one night here. You won't find much accommodation right in the centre of Maeklong, but there are dozens on offer in the surrounding area and especially at the Amphawa floating market.

We would recommend these accommodations:

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