The Railway Track Market of Samut Songkhram

  • Image: via travelpod

    Train approaching

    Every day in the Thai province of Samut Songkhram, about 70 km southwest of Bangkok, a unique market is held whose vendors need feet as quick as their minds. Why? Because much of the market is located directly on a set of operational railway tracks. Eight times daily, a train runs through without care for stopping, sending vendors and visitors to action stations before business as usual resumes.

  • Image: Austin Bush Photography

    Samut Songkhram’s morning market

    Thailand has its fair share of interesting fresh markets offering a slice of day-to-day Thai life – be it night bazaars serving insect delicacies, or floating markets bobbing on canal boat platforms. Still, the market at Samut Songkhram, known locally as Mae Klong, has to bring home the bacon when it comes to unbridled excitement.

  • Image: via Phil Travel Guide Bangkok

    Train just visible through awnings

    As the two-carriage train arrives, everybody acts quickly to let it to pass without somebody getting mowed down. The market traders move at the double, pulling their produce and awnings back from the tracks, while less practiced shoppers must also have their wits about them. Then, with the train gone, it’s straight back down to the business of buying and selling.

  • Image: via Phil Travel Guide Bangkok

    Train passing

    For visitors, there’s more to the experience than braving the railway tracks and dodging the occasional train. Another attraction is the sight of all the goods on display along the 100-metre length of track near Mae Klong Station. From fresh fruit and vegetables to newly caught seafood, it’s all shielded from the blazing sun by canopies of the stallholders’ own making.

  • Image: via Bangkok Daytrips

    Fresh fruit at Samut Songkhram market

    There is a fascinating aesthetic to it all and a real ingenuity of design. When you consider the fact that Samut Sakhon is Thailand’s tiniest province – covering an area of just 416 sq km – it’s no surprise that it is also one of the country’s most densely populated areas. Given these circumstances, talk about a cleverly economical use of space – a commodity which must surely be at a premium.

  • Image: via Bangkok Daytrips

    Market on the railway tracks, train in view

    And, while the market sellers may expend energy regularly packing up shop, and coping with an ever-present occupational hazard, it’s evidently worth it. Just think of the passing trade they get, as well as the ease of access for people expressly taking a trip there.

  • Image: via Bangkok Daytrips

    Tracks receding into the distance

    Even if they don’t hit you like a freight train, the environmental messages of the railway track market of Samut Songkhram are certainly there to be chewed over.

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Karl Fabricius
Karl Fabricius
Scribol Staff