Planes, trains and automobiles: A welcome diversion on a day trip to the floating markets.
We arrived at the Maeklong Railway Market via minivan around noon and began following the tracks across the street that led into the narrow alleyway. Beneath colorful canopies and patterned blankets sat local vendors selling fresh produce, fish and everything in between with barely enough space for one person to pass through in any given direction.
The railway market is alive with jovial locals shopping for groceries and tourists snapping photos of the novelty of it all. Pungent smells fill the air, wafting in and out every few steps on the beaten tracks laid before uneven rocks. It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind experience.
The End of the Line
Mae Klong Station proper resides at the end of the market (more a wooden sign than an actual train station) where food stalls and a view of the Mae Klong River invited us to sit for a spell and take in the scenery. Before long we looked for a place to grab some lunch. The name of the place was all in Thai and the crispy fried pork with rice was delicious.
Platform Nine and Three-Quarters
Walking through the market once more to reach the beginning of the tracks where we first came through (is this an allegory for my life?), we stopped into Long Ma Dude for some ice cream treats to watch the 2:30pm train pass through. The train literally rides through the market where just moments before baskets of fruit and vegetables sat up against the tracks. What sorcery is this? How did we not see the carnage wrought by the train’s passing? We may never know. The ice cream was crazy delicious though.
One Floating Market to Rule Them All
While appreciating this quirky little detour, we were definitely ready to see the main attraction we trekked out two hours from the city for. But there was nary a tuk tuk in sight. Thanks to the almighty internet, we found a few songthaew parked and waiting across a bank with some sketchy characters already loaded up in the back. Because your first songthaew experience in Thailand wouldn’t be complete without sitting next to a schizophrenic local grabbing at his hair and talking gibberish to himself.
The price of the ride: 7 baht. That feeling of your life being endangered by a crackhead seated next to you? Priceless.