Life in TransitA Digital Nomad in Asia

Mae Klong and Amphawa (umbrella and floating markets)

The train brushes against my shoulder at the Mae Klong umbrella market in Thailand. The sellers at the market pull apart their shades or umbrellas to make room for the train that passes through the market.

In early October, I took a trip to Thailand with my cousin Joanna. We spent seven days in Bangkok before meeting our friend Ethelene in Phuket.


  • Tickets: 500 baht at Khao San
  • Best to go in the afternoon.
  • Nearby Tha Kha floating market
  • Geard towards the locals, less tourists

Mae Klong

  • Train whizzes by at 1500h

For 500 baht each, Joanna and I found ourselves in a mini bus shuttled to the Mae Klong area to view the famous

Mae Klong is known as the umbrella market as vendors tightly line the sides of a train track, under the shade of umbrellas. There were more tourists than locals in the area, but the locals do shop for their food at the market.

It is just like many other markets, until the train arrives. The magic unfolds when the vendors hustle to push their wares to the side, then start to take apart or fold their umbrellas or whatever types of shade they use.

I squatted by the side of the track to take a picture of the train. I heard the train operator pull the horn as it approached me, thinking I was well clear of the track. As it pulled closer however, it dawned upon me how wide the train was and I jumped to the side and managed to find a gap just wide enough that there was barely four inches of space between my shoulder the train. Needless to say, it was a close call.

As soon as the train passed, it was a sight to see the umbrellas falling back in directly behind the train, like waves filling a gap in the ocean.

When the train passed promptly at 1500h, we made our way to the Amphawa floating market.

According to sources online, this market is geared more to the locals than the tourists. I would agree that there were not many tourists in the area, at least not non asian looking tourists.

Unfortunately, the market also wasn’t as packed this Friday evening. I thought it would a swarming with boats. Aside from a few crowded around tables catering to seafood connoisseurs, the water ways were mostly empty.

The land based night market however, had more activity and we tried some local desserts.

Maybe there would be more boat traffic on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

After dusk, we boarded a boat to view fireflies. It was a long trip and not all that necessary as we could only see the fireflies by the boat. The ride seemed so repetitive that we thought we were taken around in circles a few times. It would have been great if the firefly part of the trip was land based.

Have you been to Mae Klong and Amphawa? Share your experience with our readers!

Please share your answer in the comments below
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Posted in: Features