The world-renowned Mae Klong Railway Market, situated in Samut Sakhon, Thailand, has recently introduced a set of safety protocols. This market, famed for vendors trading their wares right on the railway tracks, now requires stalls to be positioned at a minimum distance of 40-70 centimeters away from the rails. This strategic move aims to alleviate congestion and prevent potential accidents when trains pass through. The market, which has preserved its tradition of trading even before the train’s arrival in 1905, remains a local marketplace despite attracting hundreds of tourists daily.
The historical significance of the Mae Klong market is rooted in its resilience. Instead of relocating when the railway was constructed in 1905, the market continued to operate along the tracks, a tradition that continues to this day. The market primarily caters to locals, offering a variety of products, including meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables.
One of the most distinctive features of this market is the iconic parasol-folding action. Vendors meticulously remove parasols and canopies when a train approaches, a practice that has earned the market the nickname ‘Rom Hoob,’ which translates to ‘umbrellas folding.’ Despite the new stall placements, vendors are still allowed to place parasols over the track and close them when trains approach, preserving the market’s authentic charm.
The new stall arrangement not only ensures the safety of visitors but also provides additional space for them to explore and capture memorable moments. While the market operates from 7 am to 5 pm, the most sought-after moments are when the trains pass through. There are six trains daily, scheduled to pass at 8:30 am, 9 am, 11:15 am, 11:30 am, 2:30 pm, and 3:30 pm. Timing is crucial for witnessing two trains passing in quick succession, making the periods around 8:15 am and 11 am particularly intriguing. Travelers planning to reach the market by train from Ban Laem should check the updated train schedule, as there are only three to four daily trains available.
The Mae Klong Railway Market’s commitment to preserving its historical roots while implementing safety measures ensures that both locals and tourists can continue to experience the unique charm of this iconic market safely. Visitors are encouraged to plan their trips carefully to make the most of this cultural and historical gem in Thailand.