I absolutely love Bangkok as a city, but sometimes between all the rooftop bars and the hectic street food markets, it is a bit too much and you just need a city break. Look no further than a day trip south to the Amphawa Floating Market and the Mae Klong Train Market.
These two markets are located right adjacent to each other about 1 hour south of Bangkok. The two markets in combination make for the perfect day trip to get out of Bangkok. The Mae Klong train market is one of the most famous and iconic things to see in Thailand. Think of an old train passing through a market that’s been built around its train tracks.
This was the perfect day trip for me and I absolutely loved seeing the floating markets as well. This guide will tell you exactly how to plan this trip on your own and how to do the trip on your own.
Mae Klong Train Market Details
The Mae Klong Train Market is similarly one of the most unique and photogenic experiences you can find. Street vendors set up their shops along a function railway track with a regularly scheduled train. Once the train comes, the vendors quickly rush their goods and stalls away from the tracks to let the train pass by.
What you get is a chaotic but beautiful scene where you gasp at how the trains and street vendors can operate in such harmony without all of their goods being run over!
Train schedule for the Mae Klong Train Market
Trains leave from the Mae Klong Train Station 7 days a week at the following times:
The trains run on time and the market is completely free to enter. The times in bold are the times I recommend watching the train crossing as these are the peak hours of the market. The market is generally busiest in the morning hours which makes the spectacle more hectic and generally more interesting. I visited for the 15:30 time slot and it was still very fascinating to watch but I was hoping for a bit more chaos!
Watching the Maeklong train
The train was punctual on the day I went but I’ve heard from others that it can often times be delayed. You’ll want to position yourself strategically for when the train comes because you’ll only have a short window to take photos and such.
The street vendors prepare long before the train comes by bringing their tables inside their shops, as well as carrying and boxes inside. They left some of the boxes out near the train track which made very concerned but it turns out these boxes were the optimal height for the train to pass over.
The train drives very slowly so to make sure it doesn’t run over anything but the street vendors definitely know what they’re doing. The train honks numerous times because adventurous tourists are eager to get a picture with them standing in front of the train. When the train passes you by, you can really get a feel for just how tight of a squeeze it is and again ask yourself how did such a market ever get established in what seems like a less than ideal setting.
Floating Market of Amphawa
The Amphawa Floating Market is one of the most famous floating markets in Thailand attracting thousands of tourists on the weekends. Fresh seafood is grilled on traditional Thai boats before being served to hungry tourists and locals alike.
The Amphawa Floating market is a very popular floating market beloved by locals and tourists alike. This market happens on the weekends (Fridays to Sundays) with the busiest times around the lunch hour.
The market is absolutely massive at almost 1km from end to end. The market is located on both sides of the Mae Klong River with a handful of bridges connecting the two sides.
Both sides are home to countless restaurants, small vendors, souvenir shops, and more. It is quite the spectacle on the weekends to see the hordes of people walking through the market
Restaurant on the boat
Perhaps the most iconic part of this market are the make shift restaurants on the traditional Thai fishing boats. These boats are perched up all along the market and serve grilled seafood directly from the boat. They usually have a small seating area where you can sit in front of the boat with your feet in the water.
The water isn’t particularly inviting so I wasn’t so keen to do this but plenty of others did! Don’t worry, there are many brick and mortar restaurants in the market as well where you don’t need to be so adventurous.
Take a river cruise
There are countless sightseeing boats as well that will take your for a short ride through the Maeklong river. The prices are generally quite cheap at 50 THB per person. The ride lasts about half hour before returning you to the market.
How to get to Maeklong Railway market from Bangkok
To start out the day trip, I’d recommend first visiting the Maeklong Railway Market. If you are going the public transportation route, you will come to Maeklong town first no matter what so you might as well see the railway market first.
You don’t need much time at the railway market (maybe 30 minutes) as the vendors here generally sell raw goods. Go to Amphawa floating market to get a legit lunch and market food.
Bangkok to Maeklong via public transportation
From Bangkok, it is quite simple to get to Maeklong town. You’ll want to get to the Mo Chit Minivan terminal, not to be confused with the much larger Mo Chit bus terminal across the street. The exact address for the Mo Chit minivan terminal is the below map.
In this terminal, you’ll find multiple buildings and you’ll want to go to Building D where you’ll find the minivans to Maeklong. If you’re lost, simply walk into any of the buildings and someone will point you in the right direction. That is what I did in the end!
The tickets are 100 THB one way to Maeklong and the journey takes 90 minutes. The buses run every hour on the hour. This bus will take you straight to Maeklong city and drops you off about 5 minutes walking from the train tracks.
To get to the Mo Chit Bus station, you can take the BTS metro to the Mo Chit station but this is still 20 minutes walking to the minivan terminal. However, this is a long and arduous process and I recommend you to just order a Grab instead. I got a GrabBike for 100 THB from my hotel near Lumpini Park (roughly 10 km away). If you’re two people, get a Grab Taxi for 150 THB which is just a no brainer in my opinion.
Rent a driver for the day
If this is too much for you to coordinate, then you should also consider just renting a private driver for the day. I had drivers quote me 2,000 THB for the whole day which includes driving me to the Maeklong market, and then driving me to Amphawa as well as another floating market nearby. I thought this price was very reasonable given that the drive is over 1 hour each way.
If I was 2-3 people, I would consider doing this for sure. However, my transportation costs for the entire day using public transport was only 250 THB so I can’t complain.
Organized day trip from Bangkok to Maeklong
I saw a few day trip options that combined Maeklong and Amphawa floating market into one digestable day trip. The cost of the trip was around 2,000 THB per person which is about the same as just renting a car on your own. If you’re a solo traveler, I can recommend this but otherwise it’s a lot of money to spend on the tour!
How to get from Mae Klong Railway Market to the Amphawa Floating Market
From the Maeklong Railway Market, you can take a tuktuk or a Songthaew. A Songthaew is a mass carpooling truck with seating in the back. You’ll just need to ask for the Songthaew to Amphawa and someone will point you to the right truck.
The tuktuk is about 100 THB one way and the Songthaew is 10 THB one way. The journey is roughly 7km between the Maeklong market and the Amphawa floating market. It is only 10-15 minutes driving so it’s very easy and almost expected to visit both in one day.
Full day Bangkok to Maeklong and Amphawa Itinerary
Now that you know what to expect from this day trip, how do you go about organizing the trip? I made a few mistakes on my trip like leaving too late in the day so I will list out exactly how I would plan out the trip.
8:00 – Leave my hotel and take a Grab taxi to the Mo Chit Minivan terminal (address above)
8:30 – Arrive at the Mo Chit station. Buy tickets
9:00 – Minivan leaves Bangkok and drives towards Mae Klong
10:30 – Arrive in Mae Klong Train Market
19:30 to 11:15 – Walk around the Mae Klong Market. Not much to see here as it is mostly produce and meats. Get yourself in position
11:30 – Watch the train drive through the market!!
11:45 – Take a tuktuk or Songthaew from Maeklong to Amphawa Floating Market
12:00 – Arrive at Amphawa Floating Market
12:00 to 14:00 – Explore and eat at the Amphawa Floating Market
14:30 – Take a tuktuk or Sonthaew back to Maeklong
14:30 to 16:00 – Minivan back to Bangkok
16:00 – Explore the Chatuchak weekend market back in Bangkok or go to a nice rooftop bar in Bangkok!
Staying overnight in the Markets
It’s very much possible to stay the night (or two) in the Amphawa floating markets. There are a ton of hotels and guesthouses on the river banks for you to stay at.
You can walk out of your hotel and be among the crowds and enjoy the river views.
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