Normally I’m not a huge shopper and I don’t like to spend vacation time looking for things to buy, but in Asia I totally fell in love with street markets. There’s just something so fun and entertaining about the atmosphere and the haggling. Street markets differ from regular markets/shops/stores in that they are mostly just tables set up with people’s wares, some homemade and some from actual shops around town.
The other big difference between regular shops and street markets is that people are willing to haggle. It can be a lot of fun to try to negotiate a lower price. The more friendly and personable you are, the more fun it is. Troy is really good at joking around with the vendors and getting all buddy-buddy with them real fast. Most vendors will laugh with him and tease while trying to get a better price, yet be willing to go lower because they like him. We had some really great negotiations where they would laugh and tell us we should just pay the higher price because we were nice people. lol. Troy just had a way with them and would tell them, “Come on, you know you want to go with the lower price.” while winking and being all goofy and the vendors would laugh and say okay. It was so fun!
Chatuchak was the first street market we’d ever been to, so we didn’t quite know what to expect. I thought it was just going to be a small, flea-market style operation. Yeah, it’s kinda like a flea market, but this one definitely would not be considered small. When I looked it up on the internet to write this post, I discovered that the Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the largest markets of its kind in the WORLD. Crazy, right?
When I grabbed a brochure from a table outside the market, I looked at the map and thought, “Wow, this is pretty big, but it’s just a street market, so it’s not going to be THAT big.” haha. Little did I know. I didn’t realize that every square on the map was a different vendor.
I think part of the reason this market has gotten to be so big is because it has been around for so long. I couldn’t pinpoint when it actually came into existence, but the closest I could come is that it was created during the 1940’s. The Thai Prime Minister at that time, Field Marshal Phibulsongkram, decided to start local markets in every town in Thailand and the one in Bangkok just took off. They moved it a few times for various reasons, but now it is located by Queen Sirikit Park, the Children’s Discovery Center and JJ Mall.
Our first glance of the market wasn’t entirely impressive. The taxi dropped us off on the opposite side of the street and we had to cross a bridge to get to the entrance. I think this view probably contributed to my thinking that the market wasn’t going to be very big.
It doesn’t look very enticing from the outside, but once you get under all the umbrellas and tarps, it looks pretty neat.
There are a lot of handmade items for sale at the market.
69 baht for slippers? That’s about $2.13. Pretty good deal.
This lady really wanted to sell us passport holders. They’re cute and I thought about it, but we didn’t get any.
This shop was pretty cool. It was an actual shop adjacent to the market, so I don’t think they would have negotiated the price any. But it was fun to look around their shop. They had quite a lot of shiny things for sale.
One thing that is common across street markets is the open-air food vendors. There’s just something about street food that tastes so much better than regular food.
The guy that tried to get us to buy some of these insisted that these were ‘real’ movies and not pirated copies. haha. Nice try.
I do love the variety of trinkets and souvenirs.
There were quite a few really neat sculptures for sale at the market. I love the detail on this one.
Can’t have a street market without wind chimes!
Periodically there will be items with price tags. Those ones can’t be negotiated much, if at all.
There were several jewelry and rock stalls with these really cute figurines.
I really wanted to take these home. They’re so beautiful!
This box is great, too. If I’d had enough room in my suitcase, I would have bought several of these.
Necklaces and strings of beads were items that were EVERYWHERE in the market.
There were a few places where these beautiful lamps were hanging down from the ceiling.
In one section, there were plenty of places for weary shoppers to relax and get a quick massage.
I loved the flower section of the market. It smelled so good!
We found this guy in the middle of a walkway between sections of the market. Nobody could tell us what it was for and I haven’t been able to find anything online. We assume that it has to do with luck or receiving blessings.
Anyone for some reverse cleats?
Feeling peckish? Grab a cup of fruit to keep you going!
If you’re really hungry, there’s always plenty of food ready for you to dig into.
These guys are just too adorable! We ended up buying a bunch of these for all of Troy’s coworkers and for us, as well. There were so many different kinds and they were all just as cute.
What street market is complete without something totally creepy?
This is a common mode of displaying wares. It’s fun and whimsical, but not very theft-preventing.
This market also has a housewares section. You can buy pretty much anything you need in your home here, which is kinda cool.
I think this was my absolute FAVORITE part of the market. I’m a sucker for anything coconut-flavored, so I just HAD to buy some of their homemade coconut ice cream. What made it taste even better was that it came in a small coconut! Yay!
What I hadn’t expected in this street market was the indoors section of it. There are dedicated stations for lamps, silks, tshirts, dresses, pants, dinnerware, furniture, curtains, bed sheets, pictures and all sorts of things you’d find in a regular shopping center.
When we were leaving the market, we came across this Buddha shrine. It’s very interesting that the Thai people have these shrines anywhere and everywhere.
Overall, I really liked the Chatuchak Weekend Market, though I’m not sure it should be called a weekend market. It is open most days, but only for certain sections. The weekend is when the entire thing is open at the same time. So, if you’re in Bangkok on a weekend and want to see something interesting, check out the Chatuchak Weekend Market. You will be sure to find some souvenirs and fun gifts for everyone, along with being able to see some pretty neat wares that the locals produce.
Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Chatuchak, Bangkok,
Chatuchak Market is close to the Kamphaengpecth Station (MRT) and about a 5 minute walk from both the Mochit Skytrain (BTS) Station and the Suan Chatuchak (Chatuchak Park) Station (MRT)
WED-THU (Plants & Flowers) 7:00 am – 6:00 pm.
FRI (Wholesale day) 6:00 pm – 12:00 am.
SAT-SUN (Everything) 9:00 am – 6:00 pm.
As always, if you have any questions or comments or want to share you own take on the Chatuchak Weekend Market, please leave a comment below!