Chatuchak Weekend Market

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Mark Fischer

One of the world’s biggest markets and one of Bangkok’s top tourist attractions. Chatuchak Market (pronounced ja-tu-jak, “JJ” for short) is a must for those who like shopping or just browsing a dazzling array of things for sale. There are plenty of stalls outside and inside you will find a labyrinth of narrow passageways lined with clothes, jewellery, art, crockery, furniture, trinkets, antiques…. You get the idea! Once in there you may feel like you’ve fallen in a treasure trove and there’s no order or way out. It's actually set out into 27 type sections, each with an allotted type of goods. There are maps dotted around the market and available at the information centre near the northern end of the market. The clock tower at the centre of the market can serve you well to get your bearings (at least a little bit). The place is bursting with clothes stalls, with a fair few independent designers of clothes and jewellery here for those looking to get something a bit different. The stalls are often staffed by the designers themselves and prices are still good. Sections 5 and 6 have used clothing which can turn up some interesting finds. Sections 2 and 3 have some good independent designer clothes stalls, while sections 8 and 10 have some cool clothes aimed at foreign clientele. For jewellery try sections 24 and 26 for plenty of silver and semiprecious stone pieces. For animal lovers you can find some adorable balls of fluff in pets sections 13 and 15. Just remember you can’t just hop on a plane with one! Thankfully the illegal animal trade that used to be here has now been driven out. For some non-Buddha related Thai craft souvenirs head to sections 25 and 26, which has a plethora of interesting and quirky items for sale. This market is not just a tourist attraction; you'll be sharing the aisles with plenty of Bangkokorians. However, you will find no shortage of traditional tourist souvenir stalls concentrated near the Mo Chit BTS entrance. It’s also packed around there so if you want to avoid the tourist crowds walk round to gate 3 which brings you in at the funky clothes section. If you get Chatuchak fever and end up buying far more than your luggage allowance will allow, or find a big item you’d love to take home, fear not! There are few international shipping companies located in the centre of the market. Get a price before buying anything too crazy! If you need it there is also an ATM and money changers on site. The market is a full day event which means you will need to eat. Luckily for you, there are loads of great places to get food, BBQs, noodle dishes, pad thai and many other Thai classics on offer. There are some food stalls between section 6 and 8; you can also head to Or Tor Kor market just across Kamphaeng Phet Road which has an excellent food court. The market opens at 9:00am and is quieter and cooler early morning. Although some stalls may not have fully set up until 10:00am. Closing times vary with some stalls starting to close up from 3:30pm, while others are open past the official 6:00pm close. To get here get off the BTS at Mo Chit Station (exit 1) or you can get the MRT to Kamphaeng Phet or Chatuchak stations (exit 1 & 2). *TIP* - Except for food haggling is expected here. Start at half the vendor’s price and haggle away, always with a smile and just pay what you’re happy with. If you don’t like the price just politely decline. *WARNING* - As this place is packed with people it’s a good spot for pick pockets, keep your cash securely away and don’t be flashing big bills all over the place.

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