Bad news for tourists: one of Thailand’s better known tourist sites, the Mae Klong railway market in Samut Songkhram will be temporarily losing the main attractions: the trains that pass through the market. The State Railways of Thailand announced they will close the stations from Ban Laem to Mae Klong because of maintenance works along the lines.
According to state officials, the railway between Ban Laem and Mae Klong will receive a lifting: the existing level of the line will be raised as a measure against floods. This means that during the next six months, time needed to complete the maintenance works, no trains will be passing through the Mae Klong railway market, also known as Talad Rom Hoop.
The site will remain open, though, and tourists can still visit it. The SRT said they’ll bring a locomotive in place, for people to take photos with, but it is unknown at the moment where the locomotive will be emplaced. Also, shuttle bus services are to be arranged for tourists who wish to drop by the market while the train services are suspended.
The Talad Rom Hoop market is one of Thailand’s distinctively unique tourist attractions. It’s located around 37 miles west of Bangkok and, to the untrained tourist eye, it looks like any regular Southeast Asian market. In its stalls, locals sell vegetables and tropical fruits, food and spices. The market is almost covered by umbrellas and awnings.
But everything changes the second a siren sounds. The market all but disappears: shoppers fall from view, while the vendors clear up the alley in front of their shops, leaving just enough space for the incoming train moving at about 15 miles an hour. Everything is so tight, that the train almost touches the fruits, vegetables and everything else at the marketplace as it passes through.
Once the train has passed, everything goes back to normal, as if nothing had happened. For the locals, the train is part of their everyday life. And indeed nothing has happened: life in the market is the same, just like more than 100 years ago, when the railway was first built.
Now, tourists will have to wait, though, more than 180 days, for life to return to normal in the Talad Rom Hoop market.