Sunday, 10 June 2012

How to Get There: Maeklong Market

 This is for those interested to visit MaeKlong Market.. just outside of Bangkok.

If intending to go visit, this will be a whole day trip especially if you want to photograph the train passing through the market. I do not doubt there are other ways to get there (taxi, tuk tuk) but this will be the cheapest and a well spent relaxing day via train...

1. Make your way to WongWian Yai Train Station 
(It is located near King Taksin Statue & WongWian Yai BTS about 20 minutes walk)
2. Just step up to the counter, and buy a ticket to Mahachai.
There is a train about every other hour. As there is only one train that travels to and fro from WongWian Yai to Mahachai.

Route: WongWian Yai - Mahachai
Cost: 10 baht
Estimated travel time: 1 hour

Just a warning, if you're not a morning person like me, or lacking sleep, do not fall asleep at the ending of the journey. From experience I will tell you it does not stop for long at Mahachai before the train moves back in the other direction. It took me an additional 20 minutes and a motor ride to get back to the ferry.

3. Take a ferry to Ban Laem
At Mahachai, exit the train, and walk through the market.
 when you come into daylight, turn right and follow the road
  Walk to the end of the street and on your left you will see the river and the ferry terminal.
go to the counter and pay for the ticket, 
which would almost immediately be collected after you pass the counter
 board the ferry. 
(make sure is right one.. apparently there is another ferry that goes to another port)

Route: Mahachai - Ban Laem
Cost: 3 baht
Estimated travel time: 5 minutes

4. Catch the train at Ban Laem to MaeKlong
At Ban Laem walk through the market
 and at the street entrance, turn right. 
 Keep walking through the housing and shops. 
you know you're on the right track when you come across this arch.
 When you reach this temple,
you can keep walking straight or turn right
(both leads to different ends of the train station)
 If you turn right, you'll come to this port, take  a left..
 you'll soon come across this gateway
and just beyond that is the train station and the ticketing counter

 (if you had walked straight at the temple,
you'd pass through a gravel path, then end up at this point,
turn right and walk to the end for the ticket counter)
 Take note that the train the photo is exactly the same as the one you would board..
but for some reason this one is just for show.
 Anyhow, buy a ticket to Mae Klong from the counter and wait.

Route: Ban Laem - Mae Klong
Cost: 10 baht
Estimated travel time: 1 hour

About 55 minutes into the trip, it is time to get your camera ready as the train will quickly arrive and pass through the market (I estimate about 2 minutes in total)

Unfortunately there are only four trains a day between Ban Laem to Mae Klong.
 Earliest leaving from Ban Laem is shown as 7:30 a.m.
and last to leave Mae Klong is 3:30 p.m. so make sure you don't miss this train..
(as I found nothing much else in the town except the market and butt load of hair salons) 

Below is a suggested timeline (I found online also) in order to arrive at Mae Klong and catch the train pass through the station twice.

8.35 a.m. Dep Bangkok Wong Wian Yai
a.m. Arr Mahachai
—Ferry River Crossing—-
10.10 a.m. Dep Ban Laem
a.m. Arr Maeklong

At Maeklong the station is at the end of the market. You now have 20 minutes to walk through the market and find a good spot to watch the train come through.

11.30 a.m.Train departs Maeklong and goes through the market.

You now have 3 hours in Maeklong until the next train arrives. 
Other than trying out the food and doing some shopping I really cannot recommend much.
wanted to look for a Thai massage but failed to do so... So just wandered around the town.
It is actually quite a big town, but most of the activity is centred around the market.

2.30 p.m.Train goes through market again, arrives at Maeklong Station.
3.30 p.m.Train leaves Maeklong. 

Last train to Bangkok. Make sure you’re on it.
If you miss it, there are some hotels and guesthouses... but only if you really enjoy their every day life... I recommend going back to Bangkok for the nightlife :)
The process for going back is just the same as above but in reverse.

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