In Thailand, a train cuts directly through a busy market 8 times a day — these TikTokers captured the chaotic moment on film

Screenshots from the TikToker's video, showing the train passing through the market.
Laura Perruchon and François Gautier are both 23-year-old travel bloggers from France.Laura Perruchon and François Gautier
  • Laura Perruchon and François Gautier are travel content creators from France.

  • They spent 5 months in Thailand and came across a market where a train cuts through the stalls.

  • They captured the moment on TikTok to show how "vibrant and impressive Bangkok is."

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Laura Perruchon and François Gautier and has been edited for length and clarity.

We're a couple who travel together and document our experiences on TikTok to show people who might not have a chance to visit other countries what they look like.

Earlier this year, we traveled around Thailand for five long and wonderful months, discovering so many new things about the country, from beautiful countryside landscapes to modern architecture in Bangkok, the country's capital city.

At almost every hostel we went to in Bangkok, people told us to visit the nearby Maeklong Railway Market — a place where a train carrying fish passes through a busy market eight times a day. We read that market vendors use tented canopies to protect their goods from the rain and start putting them down whenever they hear the train approaching so it has room to pass through the narrow passageway between the rows of shops.

@wildflaneurs Répondre à @kevinaata Phone VS Drone - what my phone sees is that there is enough room between the wall and the train. Would you go to that market? #thailandmarket #maeklong #travelasia #touristattraction #dronevideo ♬ son original - Laura & François | Travelers

The market sounded really exciting and different from anything we'd seen before, so we decided to film an aerial view of the train passing with a drone, so our TikTok viewers would also get a chance to see it. The two videos we posted about it became our most-viewed TikToks, with 40 million views combined.

But many people who commented on the video reacted negatively, saying they thought the market was "dangerous" and supported their view that Thailand is hugely underdeveloped — a view that we disagree with. We believe our videos showed how vibrant and impressive Bangkok is, despite misconceptions that Thailand is mainly rural and full of tropical beaches.

We were blown away by how relaxed the vendors were as the train passed, but our commenters were alarmed

When we arrived at the market, which has been active since 1905, in the Samut Songkhram Province, southwest of Bangkok, we had to wait about an hour before the train actually passed through.

As the train approached, we could see all the vendors packing away all their things in just one or two minutes and then putting everything back immediately after the train passed. It seemed so normal for them, just like watching a car pass by.

We've never seen anything like this in France; there, railways are set up so differently, and you'd typically only see people near a train at a station where lines are often drawn on the platform to keep people from getting too close.

Here, the market stalls were right next to the tracks, yet there seemed to be very few accidents.

In Europe or America, people will likely think it's crazy to stand so close to a moving train, and many people in the comments section wrote mean comments calling the people "stupid" for selling goods there.

A picture of the train passing through the market
Mae Klong Market is located in the Samut Songkhram Province, southwest of Bangkok.tampatra/Getty Images.

From what we saw, the train actually moves rather slowly, at around 19mph, and since the schedule is the same every day, the vendors seem prepared for it and get on with the day so impressively.

Other commenters said they thought it was "sad" that the vendors had to keep putting their stalls away, but from speaking to some local people and reading tourism and history websites, we heard that many vendors choose to keep their stalls open at the market because the train attracts many tourists and customers.

We hoped our video would disprove misconceptions that Thailand is underdeveloped and rural

Of course, we are aware that there are less developed areas in Bangkok and other areas in Thailand, where people live in poverty. But even in France, where we live, there is some level of poverty and homelessness, so we don't think it is fair to judge another country, especially when you're only visiting or haven't been there at all.

A picture of the market with a train passing through.
The train passes through the market eight times a day.Pierrick Lemaret/Gettty Images.

While some people might hold a stereotypical view of Thailand as surrounded by lots of blue water and tropics, we hope our video of the busy market shows a different side to the country, even if some people are alarmed by it. Going there was certainly an eye-opening and once-in-a-lifetime experience for us.

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