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.

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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 train station looking back from the park. You can see the staircase you come down to street level on behind those trees.

The train station looking back from the park. You can see the staircase to street level behind those trees on the left.

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Follow the signs to the left.

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.

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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.

Rasta gear.

Rasta gear.

A few well presented shops here.

A few well presented shops here. It’s not just market stalls.

Heaps of plastic flowers. I prefer the flower markets of Bangkok, which you should get to see if possible.

Heaps of plastic flowers. I prefer the real flower markets of Bangkok, which you should get to see if possible.

The real thing.

The real thing.

Not so easy to get home. I wanted some for the corner of a room but hard to transport.

Not so easy to get home. I wanted some for the corner of a bedroom in our house but hard to transport on the plane.

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Candles and scented oils. Good looking shop.

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These are little case mostly with a Buddhist theme. You will be surprised how much is geared towards particular monks rather than the Buddha. The message seems to get lost in personality cults sometimes.

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Bags are good value in Thailand. Stock up if that’s your obsession.

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Plenty of fresh food options of course. Shopping is hungry business.

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You see these pork sticks everywhere in Thailand. Give them a try because they are yummy. A slightly sweet sauce usually. 10 THB or A$0.40 each.

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I find often the strawberries look the part but are hard and quite sour. Worth a try though.

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More pork. Crispy skin with a sweet chilli sauce.

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Sit down eating available too.

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A welcome lunch break.

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The Thais are quite “Chinese” in their love of ornate, gold encrusted artwork. Not my style but it takes all types. Finding decent wall art here is difficult.

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Same oh market prints but I loved the King Kong chair.

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Home decoration.

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This is a newer home focussed pavilion, which I think is in zone 26 on the map or certainly in that area.

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More the wholesale aspect of the markets.

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Saves feeding and walking.

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Expensive massage by Isaan standards. 150 THB gets you a one hour Thai massage out our way.

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Buying a silver necklace for Gaun’s daughter’s 16th birthday.

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Three staff and three mobile phones on the go.

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Spot the non-mobile. She’s almost lost in the colours.

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It’s not exactly a Thai cultural experience is it 🙂

The final three photos are of the colourful public transport available. You should try a tuk tuk ride in Bangkok. Often very exciting.

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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.

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