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If there as one trip that Tom and I were desperate to do before leaving Bangkok, it was to see the famous Maeklong railway market and Amphawa floating market. Both of these sit about 1.5 hours from Bangkok, making them a little tricky to get to. There are, of course, ways to do visit these unique places off of your own steam but when I came across an awesome company, Trazy, who offer discounted tours for all over Asia, I knew I had come across the right way to visit for me.
As with lots of places when you’re travelling, I heard how touristy both of these spots were and nowadays that seems to be the thing to actively avoid. But let me give my honest views here, this full day tour was one of the best experiences in Bangkok so don’t be put off by others. Both places are so unique and from speaking with our tour guide, are as popular with local Thai people as they are with tourists. Trust me, you’re going to want to go here! Here’s my review of my tour with Trazy to the Maeklong Railway Market and Amphawa Floating Market to inspire you to go!
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But first, a little more about Trazy…
Trazy is an awesome company founded by 2 ladies in their home country of Korea wanting to showcase the newest, coolest and best things to do and see. They realised that it can be tricky for travellers to keep up with the latest things going on in places so Trazy was born. Trazy is booking site offering the best tours and things to do of not only Korea but a number of destinations in Asia. But not only that, they find the best deals too! What could be better right?
How does the trip work?
Our Maeklong Railway Market and Amphawa Floating Market tour kicked off at a very respectful 12.30 pm. It was so nice to not have to get up and out the door first thing in the morning, and the late start is for a pretty good reason. We were picked up by our guide from our hotel and as there were only 2 of us, we were lucky enough to have our own private car.
We hit the road and started making our way on the on 1.5 hour drive to the Maeklong Railway market. Our guide was super chilled and friendly and pointed out some interesting parts along the way such as sea salt farms. I didn’t even know there was such a thing!
The tour is timed to match the train passing through the Maeklong Train Market and so we had plenty of time at each place before moving to the next. The late start also meant we had the extra bonus of finishing the trip on a boat to see fireflies at Amphawa which is included in the ticket. In fact, the only thing not included in the tour is food but with so much to choose from at the markets, this was no problem. Our full-day tour ended around 8.30 pm where we were dropped off back at our hotel making it completely effortless.
The Maeklong Railway Market
After doing this tour, I can safely say that this is the most unusual market I’ve visited. And trust me when I say I’ve been to a lot of markets! The train passes through this market 4 times a day and we arrived in plenty of time. The market is literally right along the train tracks and you have to walk along them to explore the market.
It’s such a lively market and the narrow layout makes it a bubble of hustle and bustle, but it was great. Whilst this market is popular with tourists, it’s equally as used by local people. There was everything being sold here ranging from fish (some still alive!) to fruit, popcorn, ice cream, soap and household products. It was like stepping into a rustic department store. We spent about 30 minutes walking up and down the busy tracks before finding our pitch ready for the train to come through.
A few minutes before the train is due, there is a tannoy announcement which was the point at which all the stall owners sprung into action. As their stalls are literally on the tracks, they have to pack up every time the train passes. It was insane watching them though! Within a minute all the canopies overhead were drawn in and all their tables were moved out the way. We were told to stand behind a somewhat faded red line to watch the train pass and let me tell you, I wouldn’t have wanted to be even a centimetre over that line!
From around the corner I could hear the horn of the train but really wasn’t prepared for how close it comes! It creeps through slowly and I could see all the passengers in the carriages. If I put my arm out even a little bit I knew I could touch the train which is just crazy! It was awesome to see and bizarre to think that this a normal day for the people working here. As soon as the train passed through, the stalls were put back again within seconds. Our guide had found us while we were waiting for the train and as soon as it passed us we jumped out on the tracks and he took a photo for us.
A quick stop at Wat Bang Kung Temple.
After experiencing the train, our guide asked us if we wanted to visit a nearby temple before going onto Amphawa floating markets, so of course, we said yes. This isn’t technically on the tour but with it just being Tom and I, I figured we must have had some extra time.
This pretty little temple was just about 15 minutes away and was busy with people coming to pray. The temple itself is beautiful and our guide told us that it’s over 300 years old. He showed us around and took us inside to see a big gold Buddha which people were sticking squares of gold leaf onto. I really loved this temple and it reminded me of my recent visit to Angkor Wat. A big thanks to our guide for taking us there!
The Amphawa Floating Market
Just another 10 minute drive from the temple and we had reached The Amphawa Floating Market. Despite having seen so many photos online of this market, it was nothing like I expected it to be but I was so intrigued to explore. By this point, it was around 4 pm so we had plenty of time to look around before our sunset boat ride.
This market is only open on weekends and is not as big nor as touristy as the Damnoen Sudak floating market. As soon as I stepped onto the path along the river edge I was hit by the delicious smell of BBQ seafood cooking on the boats and the sheer size of the market. This market had such an indulgent mix of retro and hipster style cafes next to market stalls and of course the boats.
We had 2 hours to spend at the markets before jumping on a longtail boat to see the fireflies so set about seeing as much as we could. Both sides of the river have restaurants and shops so we started by walking along one side before crossing over one of the bridges to the other. We found that there’s even an arcade in one of the buildings complete with arcade games and fairground games!
At first, I didn’t think the market was very busy but as we walked along one side of the river, we found a more traditional market set up and soon realised that this is where everyone was. This part stretched away from the river down one of the adjacent roads and was heaving! The floating part of the market was unique and brilliant to see and this part is best described as a more traditional market set up. We dived into here and walked past stalls selling clothes, jewellery, toys and plenty of food. I had to stop and get some of these mini ice creams!
After being swept along with the crowd, Tom and I went back to the floating market to try some of the incredible local food. I couldn’t resist trying some seafood so chose a prawn dish which was fantastic! 30 baht for a delicious meal with a waterfront view is something I can’t complain about.
To finish off our day at the Maeklong Railway Market and Amphawa Floating Market with a bang, we hopped onto one of the longtail boats as the sun was going down and drove along the river. It was so exciting to see the markets from this angle as they light up for the night. The sunset was amazing as we went along towards a quiet part of the river to find the fireflies. We spent time hopping from tree to tree seeing the little bugs beaming lights from the branches which was a great experience and something I hadn’t seen before. The boat ride lasted about 45 minutes before heading back to the market to meet back up with our guide.
I was so glad I went on this tour. I had previously looked at the ways to get to these markets independently and although it’s possible, it’s certainly a lot trickier than taking a tour. Both the Maeklong Railway and Amphawa floating markets are things not to be missed whilst in Bangkok and my tour with Trazy was the perfect way to experience them. So to put it simply, if you like to find a great bargain tour where you get serious bang for your buck, I cannot recommend booking a tour with Trazy enough!
Want to book your trip? Click below to take a look at the awesome tours on Trazy!
A big thank you to Trazy for hosting us on this trip. If you’re looking to book a tour whilst in Asia, be sure to check them out! Some of the links included in this post are affiliate links from which I earn a small commission if you purchase through them, at no extra cost to you.