Bangkok, Thailand

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Phahonyothin

Shopping

Chatuchak Weekend Market
Opens: Saturday-Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
A vast, 35-acre indoor and outdoor market with more than 8,000 vendors selling anything and everything under the sun. With the huge number of stalls, a rule of the thumb is to buy immediately if you spot something interesting since you might not find the same stall again. Nearly 200,000 people visit this market in a single day including
a fairly good mix of local residents and foreign tourists.

 
 
 
 
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Getting here is easy, just take the Skytrain to Mo Chit Station or the MRT train to Kamphaeng Phet Station (Chatuchak Park Station is also an option but Kamphaeng Phet Station drops you off at the most interesting corner of the market). Though the market officially closes at 6:00 p.m., it gradually becomes less interesting after 4:00 p.m. Keep an eye on your belongings as pickpockets take advantage when there are crowds and avoid Chatuchak on rainy days as the roofs and drains aren't quite up to for a tropical downpour. Haggling is expected but generally you won't get more than 150 baht off the price.

Chatuchak Market © BrokenSphere/Wikimedia Commons

Orientation at the market is a world of it its own and the only recognisable landmark is the Clock Tower in the middle of the complex. In theory, the market is divided into 26 numbered sections, corresponding to the type of goods sold. Merchandise include antiques, arts, books, ceramics, clothing including silk, handicrafts, home decoration, pets and plants. The pet sections have a cute appearance with puppies and bunnies for sale but controversial for the illegal trade of protected and endangered animals. Furthermore, many animals are kept under inhumane conditions and therefore might want to skip these areas.

Chatuchak is a good place in Bangkok for buying all kinds of traditional Thai handicrafts, silk and antiques. A lot of these stores are congregated in the southwestern corner and prices are much lower than in Silom. Antiques shopping is fun but much of it are fakes as genuine antiques require a permit to be taken out of Thailand. Food stalls selling varieties of Thai are plentiful and are lined up along the western, southern and eastern side of the main road.

Indoor stall at Chatuchak Market by JJ Harrison

Chatuchak Plaza
The two big downsides of the Chatuchak Weekend Market is that the heat is unbearable at times and that it only opens on weekends. Chatuchak Plaza seeks to address these complaints with its air-conditioning and opens through the week. Chatuchak Plaza does a fairly good job but when walking here you begin to miss the chaos of the real thing at Chatuchak Market.

JJ Mall
588 Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd (north of Chatuchak Weekend Market, past the Chatuchak Plaza). Opens:  from 10:00 a.m to 9:00 p.m.
This large air-conditioned shopping mall is well-developed and looks professional. Each floor has different goods on sale with the ground floor selling handicrafts, paintings and home decorations; first floor has clothing, accessories and jewellery; and the second floor has health products and a large food court.

Or Tor Kor Market
Kamphaeng Phet Rd (MRT Kamphaeng Phet exit 3). Opens: daily from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Also known as Aw Taw Kaw Market or Marketing Organisation for Farmers (MOF) Market. The market is located right next to Chatuchak Market. Far fewer tourists come here but is the best place in Bangkok to buy high-quality plants and food produce from the farmers. Prices are a bit higher than at the small neighbourhood markets but Or Tor Kor is cleaner and its products are of better quality.
 
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