- Laura Perruchon and François Gautier are travel content creators based in France.
- They spent 5 months in Thailand and came across a market where a train ran through the stalls.
- They captured the moment on TikTok to show just how “vibrant and awe-inspiring Bangkok is.”
This essay is based on an interview with Laura Perruchon and François Gautier and has been edited for length and clarity.
We are a couple traveling together and documenting our experiences on TikTok to show people who might not get 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 landscapes to modern architecture in Bangkok, the country’s capital.
In almost every hostel we visited in Bangkok, people told us to visit the nearby Maeklong Railway Market – a place where a fish train runs through a busy market eight times a day. We’ve read that market vendors use tented roofs to protect their wares from the rain and set them down when they hear the train approaching so there’s room to maneuver through the narrow passages between rows of shops.
The market sounded really exciting and unlike anything we’d seen before, so we decided to use a drone to film an aerial shot of the passing train so our TikTok viewers would have a chance to see it too. The two videos we posted about it became our most viewed TikToks with a total of 40 million views.
But many people who commented on the video reacted negatively, saying they thought the market was “dangerous” and supporting their view that Thailand was hugely underdeveloped – a view we disagree with. We believe our videos showed how vibrant and awe-inspiring Bangkok is, despite the misconception 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 commentators were alarmed
When we arrived at the market in Samut Songkhram province, southwest of Bangkok, which has been active since 1905, we had to wait about an hour for the train to actually go through.
As the train approached we could see all the vendors putting their things away in just a minute or two and then putting everything back after the train passed. It seemed as normal to them as watching a car go by.
We have never seen anything like this in France; The railways are laid out so differently there and you would normally only see people near a train at a station where lines are often drawn on the platform to prevent people from getting too close.
Here the market stalls were right next to the tracks, but there seemed to be hardly any accidents.
In Europe or America, people will probably think that standing so close to a moving train is crazy, and many people in the comments wrote mean comments calling people “stupid” for selling goods there .
From what we’ve seen the train is moving fairly slowly at around 30km/h and as the timetable is the same every day the vendors seem prepared and are progressing with the day so impressively.
Other commenters said they found it “sad” that vendors kept having to move their stalls, but from speaking to some locals and reading tourism and history websites, we heard that many vendors are keeping their stalls open at the market because The train attracts many tourists and customers.
We hoped our video would dispel 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 a certain level of poverty and homelessness, so we don’t think it’s fair to judge another country, especially if you’re just visiting or have never been there.
While some people may have a stereotypical view of Thailand as it’s surrounded by lots of blue water and tropics, we hope our video of the busy market shows a different side of the country, even if some people are unnerved by it. Going there was certainly an eye opener and a once in a lifetime experience for us.
For more stories like this, check out Insider’s Digital Culture team’s coverage here.