If you find yourself in Bangkok on a weekend and you enjoy shopping then Chatuchak markets are the place for you. Set on 27 acres or 70 rai for Thai farang or 11 hectares for the decimal literate, these markets are huge and you are sure to find something to slip into your bag to take home either for yourself or as a gift from Thailand.
If you are close to a BTS station (the overhead rail system that is the ONLY way to get around if it’s available) then you want the green line as shown below and you get off when it stops at Mo Chit station. Cost from central Bangkok around 42 THB from memory or A$1.70 each way.
If you haven’t used the BTS before then I covered how it works in this post HERE. Once you get to Mo Chit follow the crowds off the platform and down a staircase to ground level. If you head into the park on your right there is a shortcut to the markets and a much more pleasant and less busy walk than following the street.
The following map gives you a good idea of how the markets are laid out so you can target the areas of most interest. You can see the BTS station bottom right.
There are two main roads through the markets which are only open to stall holders but that still makes them busy. You will be glad to hear that most of the markets are undercover so you get some shade and keep dry if raining. You will find cafes scattered around and eating places mostly facing into the roads, but some hidden stalls in the backstreets.
The following photos will try to give you a taste of the produce available and a feel for how the markets look. Just a slight heads up. If you are looking for genuine handmade crafty type items then you will generally be disappointed. You won’t find much in the way of village produce here reflecting Thai culture or history. Mostly the stalls are stocked with mass produced items probably originating from countries other than Thailand. However there are some gems tucked away so take your time and have a good explore. You never know. The prices aren’t super cheap, but little in Thailand is, however I am sure they are a lot better than wherever home is for you. 70% of the people who visit the markets are Thais, so it isn’t totally a tourist price inflated trap.
Plenty of fresh food options of course. Shopping is hungry business.
The final three photos are of the colourful public transport available. You should try a tuk tuk ride in Bangkok. Often very exciting.
I hope I have motivated you to give these markets a try. They are far more involving and interesting than the big air conditioned and overpriced shopping malls that are a replica of every large mall in the world. You get to use the Bangkok skytrain, browse a huge variety of non-brand stores, mix with Thais and dig into some great street food washed down with a cold beer. Not a bad day out.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. I Now have a Facebook page which is regularly updated with new photos of the little things happening in our Thailand life. Search for Tony Eastmead.