If you find yourself in Bangkok over the weekend and love to shop, then you have to check out the Chatuchak weekend market. Documented in many travel books and blogged by the masses, this market boasts close to 15,000 vendors selling their wares. It’s hard to even conceive what 15,000 stalls look like, let alone shop at all those places!
The market is located conveniently by the metro and/or BTS subway system- Mo Chit station. Exit Mo Chit station and follow the signs. You will see there is a big park on one side of the street. Don’t go through the park, unless you want to see the park. Keep walking straight and follow the road. Since this is a also a major tourist area you will see tons of buses on the side of the road and of course the vendors start to market their items from the sidewalk all the way to the entrance of the market. We got more and more excited as we approached the actual market.
There are several entrances to the market so keep track of which entrance you enter. No matter which entrance you go through you will end up in an
enclosed area filled with tiny small stalls selling everything from second hand clothes, jeans, shawls, etc. The stalls are the size of shops in Shibuya in Tokyo, and jammed packed full of stuff. The market is organized into areas; food stuff, live animals, housewares, jewellery, etc. Once you exit the enclosed area there is also a long open lane way with stalls on the outside and then an entire other side of stalls. We ended up going there both Saturday and Sunday to cover off the whole market in the blazing heat. The market is vibrant and colourful. Musicians playing, fresh drinks, vendors watching the crowd and tourists (like me) shopping it up.
A few tips for the market:
• If you see something you like, buy it. You may not remember how to get back there again. This happened to me on Sunday and I spent a good hour trying to find the original stall
• The market closes at 6pm. While some stalls remain open a little past that time, many start closing promptly at 6pm. Don’t show up too late.
• If you are going in the Thai summer (April –
July), ensure you have lots of water and wear good sun screen and/or a hat. It is extremely hot and stuffy in the enclosed areas. The open areas offer no shade so the sun can burn your skin. You can get dehydrated very quickly so drink plenty of liquids. I found ice tea very quenching.
• Bargaining is not like bargaining in other parts of Asia such as India or even China. The market is full of tourists, so hard bargaining is frowned upon. Don’t offer 50% of the price, they may be insulted by the low offer. They know there is another tourist around the corner.
Things to buy at the market:
• Handicrafts are plentiful at the market. There are many vendors that sell the classic Thai wood carvings, Buddha statues, etc.
• Silk materials/ scarves are also plentiful at the market. Beautiful, rich, vibrant colours of scarves that exemplify Thailand. Make sure you feel them so you don’t buy fake silk.
• Jeans in all varieties. Most sizes are for Asians, meaning size 34 or less for Men and 28 or less for women
• Sun glasses
• Jewellery (local) hand made
Plan to spend at
least 3-4 hours in the market. If you only have 2 hours, you will feel cheated because there is really too much too see. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, take a walk through all of the areas. There are so many cool things to see in each area, they will bring back great memories when you think back to remember them.
If you have a free Saturday or Sunday definitely check this place out. You don’t want to miss this! http://chatuchak.org/
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