We had such an interesting day visiting these two markets! Actually, neither market is in Bangkok despite their names. They're both located about a two-hour drive southwest of Bangkok.
Bangkok Train Market
We loved the Hanoi Train Street (see our post of the same name), so we wanted to see the train market while we were in Bangkok. We also wanted to visit the floating market, but everything I had read about it indicated that you have to take a small boat to get to it. Since our knees and backs aren't what they used to be, we abandoned the idea.
We had hired a guide for the temples and palace in Bangkok and when I mentioned why we decided not to go to the train and floating markets, our guide told us it wasn't necessary to take a boat to the floating market and that she'd take us there by car the next day. Great news!
So we set off early the next day to fight the intense Bangkok traffic for the 50-mile drive to the Maeklong station in time for the 9:00 am train.
It was a cloudless day, so we were surprised to see flooding on the streets as we arrived. Our guide told us that it was due to the tides of the nearby Mae Klong River. Shades of Venice's aqua alta. Our driver parked the car short of the impassable portion of the road and we walked the short distance to the train market.
The difference between this and the Hanoi Train Street is that there's an active market on these tracks. The vendors deploy awnings to protect from the strong sun, creating a dark canopy. The awnings are pulled back moments before the train arrives.
It's really hard to believe that a train passes through here!
Not surprisingly, this train traveled at a much slower speed than the one in Hanoi. The passengers seemed to be enjoying the experience as much as we were! Notice how quickly the canopies reappear at the end of the video. It was a fun and eye-opening visit!
Bangkok Floating Market
If you want to visit a floating market, there are several markets to choose from in and around Bangkok. One of the best-known is Damnoen Sadauk and since it's not too far from the Train Market, it made sense for us to visit it. It was fascinating and one of the highlights of our time in Bangkok. The canal was bumper to bumper boats filled with locals selling their food and wares as well as tourists experiencing the canal - up close and personal! Shops line the banks of the canal on both sides but our guide told us that they were originally houses whose residents would buy from the passing boats. It was such an interesting insight to life on the water.
Some of the boats had "roofs" and others had colorful umbrellas. There were so many boats that at times it was hard to see the water! Frankly, we were just as happy to watch them from above.
A floating market traffic jam; we had to look closely to see the water!
If you need a hat, this is your boat!
We didn't try this seafood, but it looked really good!
The shops on either side of the canal were full of souvenirs.
There were also restaurants throughout the covered area along the canal. Our guide is in the picture below.
This guy is apparently very photogenic, but as someone whose heart stops at the sight of garden snakes, I gave him a wide berth!
We had so much fun watching and learning about the floating market!
Rush hour on the canal!
We were so glad we were able to witness this slice of life!
➜ Top Tips
Whether you visit this or any other floating market, don't miss it!
Wear comfortable, cool clothing. It was very hot at the floating market, and we remarked that it must have been even hotter on the water.