Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Maeklong Railway Market - Amazing Bangkok Trip #5

Although the trip was less than a month ago, I'm still feeling nostalgic especially when I'm blogging about it *overreacting*. I feel like I want to leave all worries of finding a job behind and continue to travel.

Of course it was just me fantasising again. There are always useless thoughts as such that swim across my mind. I know clearly the reality is to work hard first and reward yourself later. ; )

Back to the trip, this is my 5th post about Bangkok but I'm only just starting to blog about the various places that we have visited during the trip. I keep reminding myself to blog as detailed as possible to preserve all the fun travel memories whenever I decide to read back. Thus explains my lengthy paragraphs especially when it comes to travel posts.

On our 2nd day in Bangkok, we signed up for a private tour package to Mahachai which is a place at neighbouring provinces of Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkhram. There are famous tourist destinations in Mahachai such as Maeklong railway market and Amphawa floating market. You can sign up for the package with Visit Beyond at Lub d. The price is very reasonable (1800 baht per pax) and the tour guide is friendly enough to make your trip fun and memorable. =)

So this is the itinerary of our one day trip:
It's easier to let the private tour agency do the planning because obviously these places are out of Bangkok and are not accessible by train alone. You need to take mini vans in between places and it's a bit intimidating for unexperienced tourists like us.

And also you need one whole day for this trip because by the time we reached our hostel, it was already 6 to 7pm. Just in time for our late dinner.

Would like to keep my post short so today I'm just gonna blog about Maeklong Railway Market first =D.

As the name suggest, the market is located on a busy railway track with train coming back and forth every 15 minutes (depending on the train schedule, you can ask the local people just in case the schedule changes).

Our personal tour guide, Apple, told us it was once a small market near the railway but has gradually gained popularity when more and more local people are setting up stalls on the railway track.

The highlight of the place is when the market vendors start pushing their shop back in order to let the train pass. It is a very unique sight for the tourists to experience so the market continues to flourish as a famous tourist destination.

Maeklong market even has a cute nickname called 'Umbrella Pulldown Market' which is named after the scene of market vendors pulling down the umbrella and moving the shop back from the rails whenever the train approaches. Very interesting indeed so whenever you travel to Bangkok, don't forget to visit this market as it is an experience not to be missed (we even recorded a one minute long video which you can watch at the end of this post).

I made a mental note to visit this market ever since I saw an instavideo of tourists taking turns to pose in front of the moving train. So it was very exciting for me to see and experience this myself.

*Important note here: bring enough sunblock with you as you will be exposed to harsh sunlight a lot.

Took this photo by imitating another tourist who was squatting down on the railway track to capture that perfect in-depth photo. The track was cleared within seconds after the loud honk signalling the start of the train journey. You can see some vegetables were left next to the railway track. 

I actually wanted to wait a bit longer for the train to come nearer but some concerned market vendors who worried about my safety kept urging me to stay away from the track at this point.

It's a very old station, older than any existing commuter train statins I have seen in Malaysia. But the train is still a main transportation for the local people to travel between provinces.

When I took this photo I was only inches away from the train itself. This train was nearing towards the last station which is the Maeklong station. So we waited for another 15 minutes to watch another train depart from Maeklong station. 

I would advise to set a timer and find a strategic spot earlier so you can get your camera or recorder ready. The space between stalls is very narrow so you might find yourself rubbing shoulders against other tourists.

Meanwhile, we were strolling along the railway track and even bought ourselves some fresh Thai lychee to eat. They were sweet and yummy.

If you are wondering how they do it, these are the specially made wheels so their shopfront can be pulled back from the track within seconds. If you are not attentive enough, you don't even see it happen because they are quick like that. And in the left upper corner of the photo, you can see small baskets of salted mackerel. Thai people love their salted mackerel and you see it almost everywhere even on some random streets. We didn't know whether we were supposed to eat those on the spot or bring back home for cooking so we didn't even think of buying it. Haha.

Was still very excited and this is us happily posing with the chopped-into-halves coconut.

Fresh coconut to quench our thirst. There was a constant need to replenish ourselves with cold drinks in Bangkok. 

We took group picture with the train! Luckily we have Apple who is skilled enough to take nice pictures of us.

Another one at the back of train! If you walk further from the station, you can see the river separating the two provinces of Samut Songkhram and Samut Sakhon. 

So here are the videos as promised!

The first one was taken when train departed from Maeklong station.

The second one was just us happily waving to Jacqueline's camera and talking weird stuff. Haha.

All videos were recorded by Jacqueline! I edited the videos using iMovie. Using iMovie for the first time and it's awesome! Actually it took quite some time for me to figure out how to rotate and crop the video but managed to do it in the end!

Next I will blogging about the full trip to Mahachai!


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