Watch a train run through Thailand’s incredible Folding Umbrella Market
As far as outdoor shopping venues go, the Folding Umbrella Market in Thailand might just be the most dangerous in the world.
At the very least, it’s definitely one of the most fascinating.
Located at Thailand’s Maeklong Railway Station in Samut Songkhram province, the popular travel attraction is set up on both sides of a 100-meter stretch of train track.
To shelter themselves from the elements, vendors have erected a long row of retractable umbrellas and awnings, which extend right over the tracks.
Visitors walk up and down the line, many taking photos or jostling for a position in anticipation of the coming scene.
Then, the loud horn of a train punctuates the air. This is when the magic happens.
The vendors quickly fold up their awnings, some scooping up the goods touching the track rails. Everyone evacuates the line as the train slides through, with seemingly centimeters to spare.
Then, once the train has safely passed, everything is unfolded and it’s business as usual.
The “folding” market, open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., sits on a small railway line that runs between Mahachai and Maeklong stations in Samut Songkhram.
The majority of the vendors sell fruits, veggies, seafood and meats as well as prepared snacks.
According to Thailand’s Tourism Authority, this wild scene takes place eight times per day, when trains leave Mahachai for Maeklong and vice versa.
Trains arrive at Maeklong Station at 8:30 a.m., 11:10 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5.40 p.m., and depart the station at 6:20 a.m., 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
The station is located about 80 kilometers from Bangkok. Those short on time should hire a private car to make the 1.5-hour journey.
How to get there
The Maeklong Railway Market (talad rom hub in Thai) is about 1 hour southwest of
downtown Bangkok. You can get to the market by taking a train from Bangkok’s
Wongwian Yai Station at 6.45am. The Maeklong Railway Line will take you straight through the market. You can disembark at the last station and walk along the train lines for about 5 minutes to reach the local market.
If you hear the train horn, step aside or into the nearest shop to get your camera ready.
While the train moves through the market at a slow pace, it’s still dangerous so be
aware of your surroundings.