Trains again are running through the “folding umbrella market” popular with tourists after a nearly year-long service suspension.
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) relaunched the Mae Klong-Ban Laem train line after closing the 33-kilometre-long route on May 13 to repair ageing tracks.
The line is popular with locals and tourists alike who watch as vendors at the Mae Klong market, located on the tracks in Muang district of Samut Songkram, close and reopen their umbrellas as trains arrive and depart the station.
SRT governor Wuthichart Kalayanamitr said at the reopening ceremony at Mae Klong station that the 432-million-baht project improved safety for passengers by upgrading the tracks and adding new sleeper cars.
State Railway of Thailand governor Wuthichart Kallayanamitr (left) rings a bell at Mae Klong station on Friday to officially relaunch the Mae Klong-Ban Laem train line. (Photo by State Railway of Thailand)
Vendors must fold their umbrellas eight times. Trains leave Mae Klong station at 6.20am, 9am, 11.30am and 3pm. They arrive at 8.30am, 11.10am, 2.30pm and 5.40pm.
The market, called talad rom hoop, is a must-see attraction for tourists visiting Samut Songkram, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the TripAdvisor travel website.
The SRT provides a free ride for Thai passengers and charges foreigners from 3-10 baht, depending on the length of the journey.
Passengers travelling to Ban Laem can take a ferry across the Tha Chin River and ride another local train from Mahachai in Samut Sakhon to Wong Wian Yai station in Bangkok.
A trip from Mae Klong to Ban Laem takes one hour.