http://youtu.be/XjF9pA0xJ9o.. Train coming through and hitting my camera.
There are several sides to this story… First things first… If you are coming here expecting to find out how to get to Maeklong Railway Market… Here you go:
- Bangkok Victory monument station. Exit 2 (before 7 then the minibus terminal is ‘closed’ but go down the drive way).
- On this day (no idea if it changes) at location 4 we got on a minibus. You apparently need to buy a ticket first but I have no idea how this happens and it all turns out OK, the driver will get money from you (70b one way)…. note… If you are over 160cm… don’t do what I did… I ended up at the back of the bus under the AC bent over (the back of the bus has AC vents that make the roof lower) in traffic for 2 hours. Very uncomfortable for me and OMG I feel sorry for the very small Thai lady on the window side who was squished in to the window by my ever increasing arse…. Another note…. Might be worth while not taking 20Kgs of camera equipment too…. Thank god no one knew English, I’m sure if they knew how to ‘tut’ in English there would have been plenty of that going on too (tripod never wins friends).
- Theoretically 1.5 hours later you are dropped off at Maeklong. Behind the bus, over the road is where you get picked up to go back (Victory Monument written in English) and in front of you is the main street. Head to the main street and look left. The boom gates are there, the station on the right on and the market on the left. If you go to the station there is a sign that tells you when the next train is.
So the market…. It was amazing. I have been to a heap of markets all over the world from chickens getting killed and plucked in front of you in Egypt to English fish markets that make you sign a waver before you can take any photos (highly recommended by the way). This was something else. Even in Bangkok standards this was a little out there. Very little ice to be seen, a lot of flies to be seen and even the occasional animal (excluding the tourists), mainly cats. It has live fish, killed and prepared in front of you, frogs on their backs and the market’s signature dish, mackerel in a bamboo steamer (you don’t get to take the steamer home). The big attraction is the fact a train runs through the middle of the market. A bell goes off, the stalls finish their transaction and then they start pulling back the fruit, veggies and various animal products from around the tracks. Second bell goes off and the activity becomes fierce as the slow ones now they have seconds. The rich stalls move their trollies back along little tracks that move them back just enough to be out of the way of the train. Tourists get yelled at by the stall holders to get back (constantly) and the train rattles through centimetres from your chest. Once the train is past everything is put back and everyone goes on with their day. Photo of the back of the train is here.
For those of you who are concerned (or just want to see my kit destroyed here is the damage to the camera.
…Damage is beside the lens…
The market has stuff all over the place beside the tracks and, as you can see, heaps to move out of the way in a short period of time (watch the video for real time understanding).
Step outside the market and there’s even more going on. Dried fish, locals looking at Buddha amulets, crepes with savory fillings cooked over charcoal stoves (all photos below) and more but I will put other entries for those.. There is about 4 hours you can kill here and, if you want to stop and talk to anyone (they are all happy to talk) then more.
The one thing I did want to get from the market was a track’s eye view of the train. I hadn’t seen anyone use the perspective of the tracks in their videos so I dumped my camera in the middle of the track and left it there. This disturbed everyone, the market holders (on the right of the shot) and the Japanese tourists next to me. Check it out here: http://youtu.be/XjF9pA0xJ9o
The photos are here:
The market’s traditional fair.. mackerel in bamboo steamers…
There wasn’t any active selling. This lady was just sitting there hoping this lanky Australia would buy something… Sorry
I love the fact this guy’s next ‘customer’ is in the bucket next to him. They are all alive and get chopped up to ‘order’.
And the poor little frogs.. 80b/kg… They come in a lot less than the quail. Probably the same amount of meat:-)
Outside the market there’s still a heap going on. This guy was making savory crepes on a charcoal fire. They are really hard work to make. You create a dough with sticky rice flour, water and egg. Make a flat cake and boil the cake. Takes the cakes and mix them in a mixer to a paste. Spread that paste out in to the crepe shape and thickness and put in the sun to dry. Once dry you stack them, take them to market and so the final step here. They are sweet in flavour but not a sweet (if that makes sense) . Brilliant!!
Dried squid run through a ‘mangle’ to flatten them out for (I can only assume) eating… Enjoy.