Chatuchak Weekend Market
The go to place for anything and everything
Traffic outside the Chatuchak Market
Chatuchak Weekend Market, also known as Jatujak, is a marvelous marketplace to spend your entire day leisurely browsing
around the diverse array of seemingly limitless stalls. If you love
spending quality time strolling through the Thailand Market Scene as I do, then this is a market you should not miss.
only prerequisite you need here is to plan your vacation so that your
stay in the city includes a weekend. Any weekend will do, as the market
is open to the general public on Saturday and Sunday. All other markets
in the city open daily.
Set shopping times for the broader public
is generally from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm or sunset on Saturday and
Sunday. The market is however also open on a Friday for wholesaler
If you are wanting to do some bulk buying, this would perhaps be the ideal time to make your purchases. If it's garden plants you require, then you will find this section open on Wednesday and Thursday from 7:00 am until 6:00 pm.
Although this particular market caters mostly for local trade, it is also extremely popular with tourists. I have shopped at this market on many occasions, but also enjoy the active atmosphere that prevails and there is plenty of that here too.
This lively and engaging market caters for virtually anything and everything. Here you'll find book stalls, music stalls, clothing stalls, handicraft stalls, flower and plant stalls and just about everything else in-between.
There are so many unexpected and startling goods on offer to suit all tastes. The market is as astonishing as it is appealing. It's also an extremely exciting experience of note.
Clothing Stalls at the Weekend Market
Exploring Chatuchak Weekend Market
Chatuchak Market is without doubt, the undisputed king of all the
many markets in Thailand. The sheer size of it may initially
overwhelm you at first, but once you've overcome any form of trepidation
due to potentially crowded places, it is fairly easy to become
accustomed to the friendly and unpretentious ambiance.
covers an area of 70 Rai or 35 acres. Enough space to accommodate
15,000 shops and stalls. More than 400,000 visitors
frequent this market each and every weekend and spend something like 60
million Baht or approximately US$1,500,000. You only need to see this
huge place to believe it.
Just a word of caution when trying to purchase traditional Thai products, particularly any kind of antique items, make sure you fully understand the difference between what is potentially legitimate and what is actually fake.
The majority of antiques on offer are reproductions of bona-fide objects and you may find it extremely misleading at times to objectively recognize the authenticity of any such item.
Some of my friends at the Market
What to expect at Chatuchak
There are a couple of factors you need to be aware of when wanting to
acquire traditional Thai artifacts. One is that genuine antiques
including Buddha Images, requires a permit to be taken out of the
country which in most cases, will not be granted.
In some cases even
replicas can be mistaken for the real thing and can sometimes fool
customs officials. It is more the exception than the absolute rule.
A more important factor of note, is that the majority of vendors at
this market, speak very little English or as in most cases, none at
all. Sign language is the order of the day. It may be advisable to go
with a companion who can speak Thai. For the most part, it's indeed
both a challenging and rewarding experience.
opportunity requiring surprisingly little skill, would be to try your
hand at bargaining. It's mandatory, if not expected. Goods are typically
much cheaper than many of the shopping centers and street stalls around
Silom or Sukhumvit.
You may even stumble across some shops at the
market who have branches in other areas of the city, only here, the
prices are much lower. Go grab your slice.
Cute and Cuddly Dogs for Sale
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Another thing I discovered at the market to my horror, is that it is
even possible for anyone to purchase live animals including some rare
and endangered species. Occasionally you will get to see young Thai
girls selling cuddly dogs as pets too.
It has since come to the attention of a number of conservationists including the World Wildlife Fund that the Chatuchak Weekend Market is a hub for the illegal trafficking of endangered animals.
The Planet in Peril
series as viewed on CNN, highlighted these activities, but
despite the subsequent publicity, Thai law rarely pursues any action
in preventing the illegal trade.
Nothing I've seen surprised me during my travels throughout the east. I've observed dogs being sold as a food in China. I urge you to refrain from entertaining any such practice.
Something you need to be aware of and that is to pay particular attention to your personal belongings at all times as the market is often a hive for potential pickpockets. I have not had the misfortune to detect or to have had to confront any such situation, but there is always a first time.
You don't want to have your outing marred by an unnecessary incidence that could have been avoided. Prevention is always better than any cure. You need to remember that it is wise to be cautious. Pickpockets usually operate in crowded conditions.
Ice Lolly Seller at Chatuchak Market
Getting to Chatuchak Market
One of the easiest ways to get to the market is to simply hop on the train. It is probably best to use the BTS Skytrain Sukhumvit Line and once on board, look out for Mo Chit Station
as this is where you disembark. From here, it's only a 5 minute short
My suggestion is to just follow the crowds. You
can't go wrong. Entrance is on Kamphaengphet II Road. The market is adjacent to the Kamphaengphet station on the Bangkok Metro Blue Line.
If you prefer going by car, then this too is relatively easily
accessible by road. Simply head for Chatuchak Park, (Suan Jatujak). Most
Bangkok taxi drivers know both the park and the market very well.
Although I've personally not used this form of transport, you're welcome
to catch one of the air-conditioned buses that travel to and from the
It is however a lot easier to take a bus from the market than from the city centre. Should you be unfamiliar with the bus routes,
then ask one of the traffic police to direct you to the right
Locals and Tourists at the Market
Finding your way around the Market
The market is divided into sub-zones depending on the type of merchandise sold. Although there are maps freely available for all the designated sections, trying to follow a map around the market, can prove a trifle frustrating.
You could feel disoriented at times, but if this happens, stop whatever it is you are doing and go for as spot of lunch or whatever else may take your fancy. This is definitely not the place where you want to rush into anything in a hurry.
It's best to go as early as possible in the morning as the market can get very hot and humid during the day. There is no air-conditioning here, so it can get a little uncomfortable at times, especially when negotiating the narrow alleyways.
One way to cool down (if that is at all possible) is to find an ice-lolly seller, then buy one or two refreshing frozen suckers. They are perfect on hot, humid days. The invaluable benefits gained in the market outweigh any disadvantages.
Musicians at Chatuchak Weekend Market
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Map of the Weekend Market
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