Day Trip While in Bangkok: Maeklong Railway Market and Amphawa Floating Market

Maeklong Railway Market

In the summer 2016 when we went to Bangkok for a couple of days, we wanted to go to Maeklong Railway Market and Amphawa Floating Market. That time we didn’t have the time to go however. So we decided to visit the market the next time we were in Bangkok, which is now. We did some research and found out that Maeklong Railway Market is located very close to Amphawa Floating Market.

So, we decided to make it into a day trip and visit both in the same day. After some reading we decided that starting with Maeklong would be the best way to do it. From Maeklong it was only a 10 minutes ride with a local bus for 8 baht to Amphawa Floating Market. So yesterday we woke up at 7.00am, packed a small backpack and took the BTS towards Maeklong Railway Market.

Maeklong Railway Market

About Maeklong Railway Market

Many Thai markets offers very similar food, snacks and goods. That doesn’t mean every market is the same though. There is one market in particular that stands out from the rest; Maeklong Railway Market. Here there’s a train that passes through the market 8 times per day. If you’re able to catch the train passing the market, you’ll stand a few centimeters from this huge train together with the local vendors, all their goods and other tourists.

Part from the train, Maeklong Railway Market is a traditional Thai market that offers lots of fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, snacks and cooked food. If you’re in Bangkok and you’re going to visit Amphawa Floating Market (more about that further down), you simply can’t skip Maeklong Railway Market.

Best Time to Visit Maeklong Railway Market

Maeklong Railway Market is open all week. The market opens around 6.30am and closes shortly before the last train arrives, so around 5.30pm. We arrived around 11am on a Saturday and the market was swamped. A suggestion would be to go there either early in the morning or in the afternoon.

The train passes through the market 8 times per day, you don’t want to miss this. Therefore, make sure to be at the market for at least one of the times. A good suggestion is to arrive to the market a while before the train is supposed to arrive. In this way you have some time to explore the market and find a good spot from where you can watch the train pass.

Train Schedule

Departing from Maeklong Station

6.20am 9.00am 11.30am 3.30pm

Arriving to Maeklong Station

8.30am 11.10am 2.30pm 5.40pm

How to Get to Maeklong Railway Market

Option 1

You could pay for an organized tour that takes you both ways or just crab a taxi that will cost you about 1500-2000 baht. This way is the fastest, easiest and most convenient way to go from Bangkok to Maeklong Railway Market. It is however, also the most expensive and the least exciting and adventurous way to go there.

Option 2

This way is the second fastest, second easiest and second most convenient way to go from Bangkok to Maeklong Railway Market.

Travel Time: It takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes in total, depending on where you start from. 1 hour and 45 minutes is from Mo Chit BTS Station.

Price: This option will cost about 103 baht per person. Again depending on where you start from. 103 baht is the price from Mo Chit BTS Station.

How To Do It:

  1. Go to Mo Chit BTS staion.
  2. Go from Mo Chit BTS station to Mo Chit Bus terminal. From Mo Chit BTS station, you go with bus number 3 (13 baht).
  3. Find the minibus/van that goes to Maeklong (90 baht). If you can’t find it, just ask one of the many drivers there for Maeklong. We asked about 5 of them before we found the right bus. The bus leaves every 40minutes.
  4. Get off a Maeklong and walk for about 4 minutes until you start to seeing big masses of people and the big train station.

Option 3

This is the slowest, most complicated and probably the most uncomfortable way to travel to the market. However,  it is also the cheapest, most interesting and authentic way of traveling. This way also includes taking the train through Maeklong Railway Market.

Travel Time: It takes about 3 hours from central Bangkok to Maeklong Railway Station. This is from Wongwian Yai Railway Station to Maekling Railway Station.

Price: This options costs 25 baht per person, counted from Wongwian Yai Railway Station to Maekling Railway Station.

How To Do It:

  1. Go with BTS to Wongwian Yai Station.
  2. Walk or take a taxi to Wongwian Yai Railway Station.
  3. Ask for the train to Maha Chai and jump aboard (10 baht).
  4. Get off at Maha Chai and find the pier for the small boat that will take you across the river (5 baht).
  5. Go with the train to Maeklong Railway Station (10 baht).

Option 4

Do option 2 one way and option 3 the other. We chose option 2 to the market and option 3 back. Afterwards, it’s clear that it would’ve been better to do it the other way around to avoid stress. The last train leaves from Maeklong Railway station at 3.30pm, and the minibus/van operates until 8.00pm during weekends and 6.00pm during weekdays. Keep in mind that there can be many people waiting to go with the bus, so don’t arrive in the last minute.

Therefore, our suggestion would be to do option 3 to Maeklong and option 2 back to Bangkok.

What to Do in Maeklong Railway Market

Watch the Train Pass Through the Market

So obviously one of the main things to do at this market is to watch the train pass through. In the middle of the market there’s train tracks running all the way through the market. People are walking all over these tracks into the last minute. Right before the train is arriving or departing, a little warning bell goes off and the vendors start preparing for the incoming train.

Maeklong Railway Market
Maeklong Railway Market
Maeklong Railway Market
Maeklong Railway Market

Within seconds after the alarm goes off vendors has pulled back their awnings and moved their baskets of goods and groceries just enough to make room for the huge train coming in. They shuffle curious tourists behind the red line drawn on the ground, so that they won’t risk being mushed by the tons of metal passing by.

Maeklong Railway Market

The local vendors sits and waits, just centimeters away from the moving train, until the train has passed. Within 30 seconds afterwards, everything is back to normal, as if nothing extraordinary had ever happened. In just a few moments everything goes back to its original spot; awnings, baskets of fruit and tables with snacks. After the train is out of sight, it’s hard to believe that a huge, moving train, filled with passengers waving to tourists squeezed into shops, just passed.

Maeklong Railway Market

Grab a Smoothie (or something else) and Get Front Row Seats For When the Train Arrives

After seeing the train passing the first time we realised that we needed a good spot to get a good shot. We found a perfect place where they sold some drinks, that was located precisely from where we wanted a photo. We bought a passion fruit smoothie (delicious!) and sat down and waited.

This is a great way to do it. We got front row seats for only 35 baht!

Enjoy the Cheap Snacks and Food (I’d recommend the fresh coconuts)

It’s surprisingly cheap at Maeklong Railway Market. Most of the things available was a lot cheaper than what it is in Bangkok. You can find everything from dried fishes to fresh, cooled coconuts. If there’s anything you’ve seen in Bangkok that you’d like to try out, this is the place. Since it’s relatively cheap it isn’t a disaster if you wouldn’t like it.

Maeklong Railway Market

Walk Along the Train Tracks and Enjoy the Market

It’s a pleasure to just walk along the market and see what the vendors have to offer. You can find everything from cooked Thai food to clothes. As I mentioned before, a lot of people tend to visit this market. So be prepared for this. You won’t be able to walk through the market quickly.

Maeklong Railway Market

Ride the Train Through the Market

It is one thing to watch the train pass from the outside, but it’s a whole other thing to ride the train through the market. You will be able to see how the vendors moves their things and pull in their awnings seconds before you pass by, how tourists squeeze and struggle to get the perfect shot and you will experience the local way of traveling from the market.

Maeklong Railway Market
Maeklong Railway Market

Passing through the market in the train is only part of the experience. Riding the train in general is also a great experience. It is nothing like the train Pajam and I are used to. This train is going on average 30km/h and maximum 40km/h. There’s no comfortable seats, only hard benches. There’s no AC, only some fans that doesn’t do much of the work. We were almost melting away from sweating. All the windows are open, which gives you the opportunity to hang out the window and enjoy the stunning surroundings. The train tracks have been used a lot so the ride is very bumpy.

Maeklong Railway Market
Maeklong Railway Market

When we rode the train, we were the only non-Thais. That is a true sign that what you’re doing at the moment isn’t any kind of tourist trap. It’s authentic and real. We love that. Choosing to go back with the train instead of the bus turned out to be an amazing decision. The experience was wonderful.

Maeklong Railway Market

Amphawa Floating Market

About Amphawa Floating Market

Amphawa is the second largest floating market in Bangkok, right after Damnoen Saduak. Amphawa is, however, less touristy, more authentic and more popular among Thais. The majority of the visitors are Thai and the area is a popular for weekend trips for Thais. One of the reasons to why this market still has kept its authenticity is because it’s located about 63 km outside of Bangkok and many tourists chooses to go to one of the floating markets that are located closer to Bangkok.

Best Time to Visit Amphawa Floating Market

Amphawa is a weekend market, which means it’s open Friday – Sunday. If you want to experience the market for real, you shouldn’t be there earlier than 3pm (or at least stay longer than 3pm). We’ve seen that many other sites recommends to arrive early to avoid the crowds of people. However, the market doesn’t really get going until 3pm, this is when the canal starts to wake up. Before that the number of boats and vendors are very limited and there isn’t a lot going on.

Even though the amount of tourists is low, during weekends the market gets swamped by people and it’s almost tricky to get through the masses of people in some places of the market. Therefore, either be prepared for standing in line to cross bridges, stand and wait behind people buying food or snacks and to bump into other sweaty people, or go there early and settle with experience the market before it has really started.

How to Get to Amphawa Floating Market

Option 1

You could pay for an organized tour that takes you both ways or grab a taxi for about 1500-2000 baht, just like with option 1 for Maeklong Railway Market. This way is the fastest, easiest and most convenient way to go from Bangkok to Amphawa Floating Market. It is however, also the most expensive and the least exciting and adventurous way to go there.

Option 2

This option includes going to Maeklong Railway Market (which we highly recommend). It is the second fastest, second easiest and second most convenient way to go from Bangkok to Amphawa Floating Market (and Maeklong Railway Market).

Travel Time: From Mo Chit BTS Station, it takes about 2 hours to get to Amphawa Floating Market.

Price: From Mo Chit BTS Station the price is 111 baht per person.

How To Do It

  1. Go to Mo Chit BTS staion.
  2. Go from Mo Chit BTS station to Mo Chit Bus terminal. From Mo Chit BTS station, you go with bus number 3 (13 baht).
  3. Find the minibus/van that goes to Maeklong (90 baht). If you can’t find it, just ask one of the many drivers there for Maeklong. We asked about 5 of them before we found the right bus. The bus leaves every 40minutes.
  4. Get off at Maeklong.
  5. From Maeklong Railway Market, find the 7eleven where there’s several small cars looking like tuktuks. These cars are called songthaew, costs 8 baht per person and takes 10 minutes to Amphawa Floating Market. They tend to fill these cars as much as possible. When we were on our way to Amphawa Floating Market, the car was full, so they told us to stand up.
Amphawa Floating Market
This is the songthaew that takes you to Amphawa Floating Market

Amphawa Floating Market

Option 3

This option includes going to Maeklong Railway Market (which we highly recommend). It is the slowest, most complicated and probably the most uncomfortable way to travel to the market. However, it is also the cheapest, most interesting and authentic way of traveling. This way also includes taking the train through Maeklong Railway Market.

Travel Time: From Wongwian Yai BTS Station it takes about 3.5 hours to get to Amphawa Floating Market.

Price: From Wongwian Yai BTS Station the price is 33 baht per person.

How To Do It:

  1. Go with BTS to Wongwian Yai Station.
  2. Walk or take a taxi to Wongwian Yai Railway Station.
  3. Ask for the train to Maha Chai and jump aboard (10 baht).
  4. Get off at Maha Chai and find the pier for the small boat that will take you across the river (5 baht).
  5. Go with the train to Maeklong Railway Station (10 baht).
  6. From Maeklong Railway Market, find the 7eleven where there’s several small cars looking like tuktuks. These cars are called songthaew, costs 8 baht per person and takes 10 minutes to Amphawa Floating Market.

Option 4

This option does not include going to Maeklong Railway Market. If you’re only interested in going to Amphawa Floating Market, this is the best option for you.

Travel Time: From Mo Chit BTS Station it will take you about 1 hour and 45 minutes to get to Amphawa Floating Market.

Price: From Mo Chit BTS Station the price will be around 93 baht per person.

How To Do It:

  1. Go to Mo Chit BTS staion.
  2. Go from Mo Chit BTS station to Mo Chit Bus terminal. From Mo Chit BTS station, you go with bus number 3 (13 baht).
  3. Find the minibus/van that goes to Maeklong (90 baht). If you can’t find it, just ask one of the many drivers there for Maeklong. We asked about 5 of them before we found the right bus. The bus leaves every 40minutes.
  4. The bus will go all the way to the entrance of Amphawa Floating Market.

What to Do in Amphawa Floating Market

Eat Delicious Food cooked in Wooden Boats

Seafood seems to be the most common food to find in Amphawa Floating Market. You can buy all different kinds of seafood grilled freshly on the wooden boats. There are, however, alternatives to seafood. We ate some delicious veggie fried rice and Som Tam. It is also possible to get fried noodles and other barbecued foods. The food is cooked on order, so everything is very fresh. Once finished, the food is brought directly from the boats onto really tiny tables were you can sit and enjoy your food.

 

Amphawa Floating Market

Amphawa Floating Market

Amphawa Floating Market

Explore the Surrounding Streets

Due to its popularity, the market has expanded and is now stretching far out into surrounding streets. The vendors on land also offers cooked food, but mostly you can buy fruits, vegetables and snacks from these food stalls. These vendors also offers clothes, bags and other accessories.  We were surprised to see the comparatively low prices here. We found coconut ice cream for 35 baht and fried rice for 30 baht, which is cheaper than most places in Bangkok.

Amphawa Floating Market

Amphawa Floating Market

Take a Boat Tour Around Amphawa

It’s possible to get a boat tour around Amphawa in one of the many longtail boats. It costs 50 baht per person and lasts for about 1.5-2 hours and gives you the opportunity to explore the surrounding canals and rivers. This tour might be a nice relief once you’re done trying to get through the market on foot.

Explore Temples Located in the Area

If you choose to go on a boat tour, they will take you around to see the temples located around the canal. We didn’t take the tour, but it seems like they take you around to see all of the most famous temples in the area; both big and small.

Amphawa Floating Market

Enjoy the Surroundings

Amphawa is a really cozy area with beautiful surroundings. Make sure to make some time to walk around in the area and explore it. The parts outside of the crowded market is wonderful. Amphawa has a stunning riverside scenery with a lineup of waterfront guesthouses and locals minding their businesses.

Amphawa

One Reply to “Day Trip While in Bangkok: Maeklong Railway Market and Amphawa Floating Market”

  1. Very good tips, guys! Thank you =)

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