This Popular Tourist Market Is The Most Dangerous Market In The World

If you love following the travel adventures of Instagram influencers, you've probably seen the reels and videos posted on the platform of the Maeklong Railway Market located near Bangkok, Thailand. The exhilarating videos posted by influencers and regular backpackers alike show that the fresh fruit and vegetable market operates directly on a railway track. And when we say "directly," we mean that the train passes over the food on display

While it looks like a hoot, and the train seems to moving slowly enough to allow people to move out of the way, that's not always the case. People have to jump back and squeeze against the back wall to prevent being hit. The awnings that hover over the food have to retract quickly as the train approaches before slamming back into place. 

As we see, the train comes within millimeters of not only the food stalls but people, as well. The South China Morning Post reported that tourists are risking their lives when they attempt to take selfies with the train that is whizzing right next to life and limb. Some have gone so far as to dub the Maeklong Railway Market the most dangerous in the world. Is this market perilous, or is it a Thai experience not to be missed on your next Asian adventure?

Tourists have died in pursuit of the perfect selfie

Nation Thailand reported concerns that the amount of tourists visiting the Maeklong Railway Market is adding to the danger factor of the tourist attraction, noting the more tourists flock to this market, the more crowded it gets. Meaning: Someone might get shoved onto the tracks or trip, simply because there's no room to move back. Those concerns are what shut down Hanoi's similar "train street" in 2019 after several tourists refused or neglected to move out of the way of the oncoming train, per VN Express.

Tourists and their quest for the perfect selfie have been at the heart of this debate. In 2018, The UK Sun reported on the intense online backlash to a social media influencer who posted a photo of her standing still on the tracks as the Maeklong train hurtled toward her. The outlet reported the backlash included comments like, "You shouldn't promote this, you are giving the wrong impression of safety, and some people following you might get hurt if they do the same." 

They're not wrong. Vice reported in 2018 on a study that found more than 250 people died between October 2011 to November 2017 trying to take the perfect selfie. In addition, some have expressed that the train kicks up a lot of dust and detritus that then contaminates the fresh fruit and veg sitting on the tracks, making them unsafe for consumption, per Nation Thailand. 

The train comes dangerously close to tourists

Although the train has a reputation for being dangerous, people who live in Thailand don't view it that way. As far as local vendors at the Maeklong Railway Market are concerned, the market is entirely safe and accidents seldom happen. Fruit and vegetable vendor Samorn Armasiri, who has sold food at the market for 50 years, told France 24, "Even though it looks risky and dangerous, it's not dangerous at all. When the train enters, officers sound the horn and everybody packs their stuff — they know the drill."

Although it's unclear how many people have died when visiting Maeklong Railway Market, there have been reports of injuries. A YouTuber uploaded a video in October 2022 of a man getting hit by the train. Don't worry, the video isn't gruesome. The train is moving slowly, however, the man doesn't pay attention to it and we see him not only get hit but also lose his footing and fall to the ground, almost getting stuck underneath the train. 

Injuries like this are not entirely uncommon in Vietnam. Hanoi boasts a similar "train street" where in September 2022, a South Korean tourist was hit by a slow-moving train despite multiple warnings, per Tuoi Tre News.  So while Thailand's Maeklong Railway Market might be popular, never ignore your safety in pursuing that perfect Instagram post.