When mentioning about markets in Bangkok, Chatuchak, weekend market always tops the list. It is the most famous market in Bangkok for cheap shopping, with an endless variety of products in massive scale. In recent years, other markets soon subsequently sprout around the city, attempting to challenge the authority of Chatuchak’s. But Chatuchak still stands firmly as the mother of all markets.
Covering 35 acres of land area, Chatuchak boasts over 15,000 stalls. This weekend market, as the name states so explicitly, is opened only on weekends, and it is probably one of the most famous markets in the world as well. Exploring this enormous market is no easy task, even with a good map in hand. However, if you do so, you will pretty much find everything here, right in this market. The numbered alleys and lanes are helpful if you happen to lose your way around.
The market is divided into different sections, with a different colour depicting each different zone. There’s a section for clothing, a section for handicrafts, and other sections will include items such as jewellery, antiques, ceramics, pets, vintage magazines, stamps and coins, collector’s items, household goods, arts, plants, wholesale items, and food. Some shops do not always adhere to the goods specified in the stated sections, so most of the time it boils down to our exploration skills. It’s rather impossible to see everything the market has to offer, so just try to explore each zone and you should see most of the products selling in the market. In some shops, you might even see surprises like an old Levi’s jacket that has not been seen in shops for years.
For the best time to be there, it is advised to visit the market early, as the place can get really crowded as the day goes on. In addition, the temperature can rise rapidly as the afternoon sun hangs in the sky, and most likely you will get all wet and sticky and uncomfortable in the high heat and humidity conditions.
Bargaining is a must in this market, and it is considered the perfect location to put your bargaining skills to the test. Thai people even when bargaining, likes to do it with a smile. With a friendly and humorous attitude, and armed with a big smile, they are your best weapons to secure the best possible deal.
As few stalls or shops accept credit cards, it is recommended to bring enough cash along with you. But do be aware and on the alert for pickpockets, as theft is common in this place, and it’s up to us to proper protect our belongings and valuables. It takes just an instant to lose something valuable like our wallets.
There are many novel stalls in the market, as an interesting feature of this market is that many up-and-coming Thai artists and businessman actually started their careers with a stall at this market. So following in their footsteps, there are lots of aspiring talents hoping to emulate previous successes with their innovative crafts. Food and drinks are aplenty all over the market, together with unusual and mind-boggling Thai snacks such as deep-fried insects, scorpions and frogs, mostly heavily spiced. Try them if you dare, and you might just fall in love with them.
Chatuchak is opened from 0800 to 1800 hours on weekends and also Fridays (wholesale day).