Looking for the famous train that goes through Bangkok market?
Then you will have to travel out to Mae Klong.
The most interesting way to travel to the Bangkok train market is on your own tour.
You can board one of the commuter trains that are running on the Mae Klong line and have an interesting journey out to the market, rather than going on one of the organized tours that lets you enjoy Bangkok's often horrendous traffic jams, from the seat of a cramped minibus..
Trains to Mae Klong don’t leave from Bangkok main train station known as Hualamphong, but from Wongwian Yai Train Station.
In Bangkok you can also choose to board your train at Talat Phlu Train Station which is around 1.5 km away from Wongwian Yai.
The Mae Klong line runs for approximately 70km from Wongwian Yai in Bangkok (on the left bank of the Chaopraya River), to Mae Klong in Samut Songkhram (สมุทรสงคราม).
It is used daily by locals to commute from Samut Sakhon and Samut SongKhram (South-West of Bangkok) to get to the Thai capital.
It is also used by Thai and foreign tourists to go to visit the famous Mae Klong Train Market, as well as the nearby Amphawa Floating Market.
The line is made of two sections that are divided by the Tha Chin River (แม่น้ำท่าจีน) :
The commuter trains that run on the Mae Klong line are very slow (average speed 30km/h) but also really inexpensive (or even free for Thai citizens).
The total cost from the origin station of Wongwian Yai to the destination station of Mae Klong is only 20 THB!
There used to be Air-con coaches running on the Mae Klong line but at the moment there are only Fan coaches.
Phone number: 0-3441-1003
Maha Chai (มหาชัย) is a small fishing town located by the Tha Chin River and is worth a visit for its market and its atmosphere.
There are market sellers displaying their products (fresh veggies, fruits, seafood...) along or even directly on the railway tracks and once a train approaches the vendors swiftly clear the tracks to let the train pass by.
Every day there are 17 commuter trains going to Maha Chai and 17 commuter trains coming from Maha Chai.
On the Wongwian Yai - Maha Chai section the price of a ticket depends on the number of travelled stations and goes as follows:
3 THB – 5 THB – 6THB – 8THB – 9 THB – 10 THB
Warning: If you go to Maha Chai in order to visit the “Train Market” make sure to check at what time the next train from Ban Laem to Mae Klong is departing as there are only 3 daily trains running on the 2nd section from Ban Laem to Mae Klong.
You should also take into account that you will need altogether around 15 – 20 minutes to cross the river and reach Ban Laem Train Station.
The walk from Maha Chai Railway Station to the Ferry boat crossing pier takes about 5 – 10 minutes.
It takes around 5 minutes to cross the river and a ticket costs just 3 THB.
Once on the other side of the river you have to walk for another 5 - 10 minutes to reach Ban Laem Train Station (just follow the English road sign)
Phone number: 0-3449-8055
Ban Laem is a very small station but not without a certain charm.
There are only 3 daily commuter trains running from Ban Laem to Mae Klong.
The photo above is now out of date and departure times have changed a little.
The new Mae Klong train timetable 2016 is below.
On the Ban Laem to Maha Chai train, the price of a ticket depends on the number of travelled stations and goes as follows:
3 THB – 5 THB – 6THB – 8THB – 9 THB – 10 THB
As we already wrote, you should plan your trip beforehand and give yourself enough time to reach the railway station in order not to be left stranded at Ban Laem.
Phone number: 0-3471-1906
Mae Klong Train Station is unique as it also operates as a fresh food market (veggies, fruits, all sorts of seafood and fishes…).
It became world famous for the spectacle it offers 6 times per day, when market stalls have to be quickly removed from the railway tracks to give way to one of the oncoming trains.
The approaching train blows its horn to signal its imminent arrival, but the market vendors don't bother clearing the track untill the last minute and the 2nd horn!
As soon as the train is gone the stalls and products are moved back on the tracks as if nothing happened!
Actually the Thai name of the market is “Talat Hoop” (ตลาดร่มหุบ) which literally means the “Market Closed Umbrella”.
The name comes from the fact that while a train is approaching vendors hold on to the poles that support their canopy roofs and wait till the last moment to give way to the train!
Obviously the train is running at low-speed, but it is still impressive as it almost touches the market stalls and different products that have been removed just far enough to let the locomotive and coaches squeeze through!
When coming by train from Ban Laem as you approach Mae Klong you will be able to observe by the train windows: market stalls, umbrellas, house walls that are being brushed past by the running coaches as well as people that awkwardly stands waiting for the train to pass them by or taking pictures of the spectacle.
There are only 3 daily commuter trains running from Mae Klong to Ban Laem.
Train timetable Mae Klong to Ban Laem 2016 :
Train employees working at Wongwian Yai train station or Talat Phlu often advise travellers to use the train number 4311 which leaves Bangkok at 06.25 and arrives at Maha Chai at 07.27, leaving enough time for travellers to catch the train number 4381 that leaves Ban Laem at 08.00 and reaches Mae Klong at 09.45.
The other convenient option that is being advised by train employees, is to take the train 4323 that leaves Bangkok at 10.40 and arrives at Maha Chai at 11.39 and allows the connection at Ban Laem with the train number 4383, which leaves at 12.00 and reaches Mae Klong at 13.45.
These two options are fine, but note that they will leave you with just enough time to make the connection and will definitively prevent you from exploring the small fishing town of Maha Chai.
We thought that the “Bangkok Train Market” was kind of a tourist trap, but maybe it is just that we have been in Thailand too long!.
It is pretty crowded with foreign tourists that are wandering the market and trying to position themselves to take pictures of one of the 6 daily trains that arrives and departs at / from Mae Klong railway station.
The package tours “Mae Klong + Amphawa Floating Market” probably sell like hot cakes at any Bangkok travel agencies.
For us, by far the most interesting part of the trip was the almost 3 hour commuter train trip to get there, as it provides a good and authentic Thai experience and nice scenery.
However, many people seem to enjoy this day trip from Bangkok, so if you would like some other peoples opinions of the Bangkok Train Market, you can :
The other interesting part of the trip is the fishing town of Maha Chai, for its lovely and alive market streets and its atmosphere.
These days a lot of tourists are actually travelling by vans or buses all the way up to Mae Klong or choose to hop on the train at Lat Yai or Bang Krabun which are the last two stations before the “Train Market”.
If you do that, in our opinion, you are actually missing the best part of the trip!
Our piece of advice would be to wake up early and get on the train number 4303 that leaves Bangkok at 05.30 and reaches Maha Chai at 06.23.
The connecting train number 4381 at Ban Laem doesn't leave before 08.00 and so you have plenty of time to explore and wander the streets of Maha Chai.
By boarding train 4381 you will reach Mae Klong at 9.45.
Walk around the “Market Closed Umbrella“ for around 30 minutes and get yourself prepared along the railway track for train number 4382 that leaves for Ban Laem at 10.20.
As you are getting closer to the train departure time, note how the market transforms itself and enjoy the spectacle offered by the vendors that remove their stalls in the blink of an eye and hold on to the poles of their awnings untill the very last minute to let the train sneak in.
Because there are so few trains running on the Mae Klong – Ban Laem section of the line and because there aren’t any evening trains (the last train leaves at 14.30) most people choose to go back to Bangkok by minibus / van.
There are minibuses running back and forth from Mae Klong to different places in Bangkok:
To / From Victory Monument (อนุสาวรีย์ชัยสมรภูมิ)
To / From the Southern Bus Terminal: Sai Tai Mai (สายใต้ใหม่)
To / From the Phra Pinklao Lotus shopping centre (near Central Plaza Phra Pinklao เซ็นทรัลพลาซาปิ่นเกล้า )
To / From Chatuchack (จตุจักร) in front of the Northern Bus Terminal: Mo Chit (สถานีขนส่งหมอชิต)
It costs around 80THB and it takes approximately 1 hour 30 minutes to reach the Thai capital.
If you choose to go to Mae Klong Market by minibus instead of going by train, you can always use the minibus service at Victory Monument.
As shown on the picture above the 1st van leaves at 05.30 and the last one at 21.00.
There is also a minibus service running from the Southern Bus Terminal known as Sai Tai Mai to Mae Klong (60THB).
A lot of people who travel to the “Bangkok Train Market” also choose to visit the nearby “Amphawa Floating Market”.
To know more about Amphawa Floating Market and how to get there click here>>>