Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Train Trip, Fish market,and Umbrella-Death market!

 We took the commuter train from the Wongwianyai station in Bangkok to Mahaachai in Samutsakorn. 
The destination is well known for the fish and seafood sources and markets.

 Old style looking train time table to Mae klong.

Inside the commuter Thai train, non-airconditioned.

These are the villagers' houses built next to the rail track. You can see also the spirit house on the left side picture. Thai people believe that every house has spirits who protect and keep harms away.
The spirit house is built for the spirits to live and the people pray the spirits every morning next to it.

We arrived to the Mahaachai station. Do you see the street vendors next to the rail track? Or should I say rail track vendors. Here the free space is scarce, so even the rail track itself has been utilized for small business. In fact, where there is a train, there is a village and the villagers make a community. Community brings traffic and trading, and at the end, when there are lots of people, the trading occurs everywhere where it is possible.

The train is leaving from the Mahaachai platform.

Once the train was gone, the vendors started to set up their tables and goods on the rail track again. 

Why to have unused space when the train does not run?!

 Chopping, cutting, fish intestines... everything were processed here right next to the rail track!

 Rickshaw is still one of the common means of moving around the city.
 Fully ecological way of transportation. 

Don't worry if you don't own a car. You can load as many bags as you want on a rickshaw!
The only thing is that make sure you select a fit rickshaw driver!

Mahaachai market used to be one of the biggest seafood retailing market in Thailand. They are also famous for "kapi" (shrimp paste). Kapi is made of many types of shrimps and spices. Thai people use it to make shrimp paste sauces known as naam-prik-kapi, which is widely used in Thai cuisine. The most popular one is naam-prik-plaa-tuu (fish and vegetable with shrimp paste sauce).

Grading, sorting, cleansing and packing the fish. Next to the Mahaachai pier!

Do you know where the salt you consume in Thailand everyday comes from? After Mahaachai, we headed to Mae-klong and here is the answer!

Salt is available to be bought next to the highway.

Call it Umbrella market, Train market or Death market... and the rail track here is not abandoned either, but has daily train traffic. 

Phee-lok canal (in English: Ghost canal), the important canal waterway to the Amphawaa district.

 The biggest Fish and Seafood trading market in Thailand (Thale Thai) at Samut songkhram. We were too late for the fish market. However, we could still see some activities of the fish traders. The fish trading takes place every morning from 2 am to 6 am and many exotic fish such as sharks are laid down in a big hall ready to be auctioned.

Want to know more about the details, route and history in this tour? 
Join us at for the bookings.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Khlong Thom (Black Market), Paak Khlong Talaat (Flower market) and other night markets around Bangkok

We started the day on a Sunday evening about 5 pm by taking the bus to the Worachak neighbourhood. Starting from Thanon worachak, we entered the biggest second hand market in Bangkok. It is also know as the black market of Bangkok. However, in Thai it is called the Khlong thom market.

See the google map below

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In the Khlong thom market, you usually find second hand home appliances, electronic parts, motors, underground CDs, DVDs, sex toys, sport equipments, antiques and so on.

Bargaining is the traditional way of trading here. Even though some products have price tags, people know that the final price is found by bargaining. 

Old men were selling the sewing machines and some strange chairs. Just like that on the street!

Need a golf bag and clubs? We got it! 

This is a very typical Chinese merchant shop with the pictures and the Chinese holy papers on the top of the door frame. Messy piles of stuff - every space of this shop is fully utilized.

Typical street vendor for the Thai sausage, squid and meat ball grill sticks.

After the walk along the Worachak road, at the S.A.B junction, there is the Sing sian yer pao building on Chakkrawat road. Sing sian yer pao is the biggest Chinese newspaper in Thailand and
architecture of the building comes from Europe.

The building was built in 1912 by a Belgian company, which first traded cars and auto parts and had maintenance shops. Later the company expanded its business lines to gold, watches, jewellery, perfumes, crystal glasses, cigarettes and soaps. The company was very successful and famous back in the days.

Spotted graffiti bus on the road.

From the junction, we walked pass Chinatown and Saphaan put bridge and we turned right at the end of the Saphaan put neighborhood to Paak khlong talaat, which is the biggest flower market in Thailand. This market usually start in the evening and run until early morning. It is also the third biggest orchid trading market in the world.

Here you can find many kinds of tropical and imported flowers such as marigold, orchids, roses, many different kind of green leaves for decoration, different kind of jasmins, button flower and so on.

Thai garland, known as Phuang maalai, is used by the Thai people for praying Buddha, welcoming and showing respect to the elders and important guests in festivals and other special occasions. Some hang them in cars for decoration and having a good scent of flowers in their cars. Some think it brings good luck and hang it in order to pray for the spirits that they believe to protect their cars.

The marigold wholesaler.

Multi-colored orchid wholesaler.

Some green leaves for decoration.

Thai garland with the very beautiful setting. Usually this type of garland is used in festivals and ceremonies.

Thai flower artist making the Thai garland. You will need a long needle stick specially for flowers, a plastic rope, flowers and a highly skilled florist!

On the way in Paak khlong talaat, there were traditional Thai desserts for sale as well. 

Colorful night market around Paak khlong talaat.

Usually, in most of the markets in Thailand, there is a shrine dedicated to respected spirits, monks or gods. The locals believe that the spirits help to protect and support their business.

After the Paak khlong talaat, we took a tuk tuk and continued to Thanon phra aathit (literally translated as The sun road). Along this road, there are many old style buildings, full of local restaurants, backpackers hotels and old style shops. On the day we were there, the road was closed for pedestrians with full of street vendors.

Duo Thai classical string band found on the Phra aathit road. In the picture, the instrument on the left is known as "saw" and on the right as "khim".

The Rama VII bridge connects Thonburi and Bangkok. It is one of the modern bridges recently built in Bangkok, opened in 2002. This bridge has no pillars in the river and there is only one big pillar that keeps the bridge hanging with the cables. It is considered to be the longest in the world in its category.

Along the Phra aathit road we spotted the Starbung coffee. Not the sister company of Starbucks, but perhaps the brother.

"Bung" in Thai language refers to the muslim men who live in Thailand. You can see from the logo that there is the star and crescent symbol and the man is wearing the taqiyah cap. The street coffee seller sought something new to boost his business, but perhaps received too much attention as the Starbucks coffee sent the lawyers to talk to him.

We ended the walk and waited for the bus at Thong sanaam luang or Sa naam luang. Before this open green area was used for the funeral ceremonies of the royal families. Nowadays, it is still used for several official events such as the Royal plowing ceremonies, Anniversary of the 200 years old Bangkok city and some of the Royal families funeral ceremonies. However, in the day time, there are lots of kite players and sellers. The wind is strong and the field is big enough suitable for kite playing.

Thank you for reading our blog. If you are interested in this night market tour, contact us at or link to us here ThailandSecretTour.