Bangkok is well known for it’s many markets which operate day and night. So here is my own take on some of the better known markets which are also easy to get to using the metro in Bangkok.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
This is the grand daddy of weekend markets in South East Asia. It’s also one of the world’s largest weekend markets covering 27 acres and housing more than 8,000 stalls selling merchandise from all parts of Thailand. I always try to schedule a visit to Chatuchak during each of my trips to Bangkok.
The huge size means that you never get to see all of the market at each visit and there’s always something new to see and buy each time I come back. As the name suggests, Chatuchak is open only during the weekends from 6am till 6pm, although some sections of the market like the flowers and wholesale areas are open during selected weekdays too. Even then on weekends, most of the stalls don’t open until 9am.
Chatuchak is easily accessible by the BTS Skytrain (Mo Chit Station) or MRT (Chatuchak Park Station or Kampheng Phet Station). The different stations will put you at different sections of the market. That’s how big this market is.
Having been here many times over the years, I do find that Chatuchak has become more commercialised for the tourists. but even then it’s still very local, and you will be able to find bargains for many of the local items that you see being sold in the shopping malls. Besides the usual market goods like clothing, jewelry and handicrafts, you can also find plants and gardening tools, pets and pets related accessories, books, antiques and collectibles, home decor and furniture, and art.
To me, every visit to Chatuchak is like a mini adventure. The crowds and the heat make it an exercise in physical and mental endurance, and you’ll never know what treasures you’ll find there.
Rod Fai Night Market at Ratchada
This night market at Ratchada is one of the newer night markets to pop up in Bangkok. An offshoot from the original Rod Fai Market at Srinakarin, this one is easier to get to by metro and more compact, meaning that you can just drop in anytime from Thursday to Sunday, 6pm till midnight for a quick browse. It also helps that this is one of the more photogenic night markets that has been featured in many a millennial’s Instagram feed.
For my recent trip, I made it a point to visit Rod Fai Night Market after seeing so many pictures and blogs about the food choices there. So if you are looking for dinner and shopping then this is a good place to start.
Well, ICONSIAM is not your traditional market, but the latest and greatest mega shopping mall to open in Bangkok. Technically, shopping malls are a modern interpretation of the traditional market where sellers and buyers come together to do commerce.
Besides the usual gamut of high end boutiques, electronics stores, lifestyle shops, restaurants and movie theatres, ICONSIAM actually has a sanitised version of Bangkok’s famous floating market in their basement. So if you are adverse to sun, heat and humidity, then shopping and eating in the air-conditioned comfort of this replica floating market would be a godsend for you.
There are many more markets than those that I have here. Each market has it’s own unique stalls and characteristics, and which one is the best is really subjective to your taste and preferences. But each market is a microcosm of life in Bangkok, and I never get tired of visiting them.