Bangkok Weekend Market – the ultimate shopping experience
Chatuchak is huge; the last guesstimate showed that there were over 15,000 stalls– even counting the many incense and elephant purse stalls you’ll come across as you walk around. It’s open every Saturday and Sunday, and the easiest way to get there is by either MRT (Bangkok’s rail system) at Chatuchak Park or sky train at Mo Chit station.Er, be prepared. You will find some bathrooms here, but they probably won’t win ‘Bangkok toilet of the year’ (yes, this award actually exists). You will also find ATM points, plenty of bottled water and lots of food stalls. Tasty Thai treats are worth dedicating a bit of exploration time to, especially the coconut ice-cream.
|Hot tip: If you are short on time and want a stress-free market experience, I recommend taking the MRT (subway) to Kamphaeng Phet Station. From here, you can walk along the leafy walkways of section 2 and 3 – it’s less hectic than the rest of the market and some of my favourite stalls are here.|
Many people will recommend going to the market early, but a lot of the stalls are closed at this time. I tend to come in the late afternoon when sun is low in the sky which means you don’t get as hot and people are more willing to offer discounts if sales haven’t gone well.
Bargaining is less aggressive in Thailand than in other countries, but it’s still possible to get a better deal by bartering. I favour the ‘nonchalant walk away’ method, if they are desperate to sell, they will call after you. Sometimes I look a little silly because I walk back anyway – I would rather pay a dollar more for a cute tee than not have it all!
|Hot tip: Everyone will tell you to buy straight away because you may never find the stall again. I say pick up a business card as some of the brands will have another shop in the city centre, much easier if you want more goodies in the same style.|
Shops to check out:
1. Kinnaree Silk and Linen – Sells amazing dresses, jackets and tops made out of fine silk, perfect for hot weather and special events. The colours range from chic black to a bright bubble gum pink and the good variety of styles means it’s suitable for every age. Prices start at 35 USD.
Location: Section 9 / Soi 18
2. Guate Leather – Soft buttery leather bags that are at least half the price they would be back home. The peach bowling bag has been on my wish list for at least six months, and my friend just purchased a large turquoise shopper for only 150 AUD.
Location: Section 24 / Soi 33
3. Anyadharu – If you’ve always wanted to blend your own scent then this pretty perfumery is the place to visit. Using natural oils they can bring together your favourite Thai smells, including galangal and kaffir lime. Prices start at only ten dollars for their pre-packaged selection, and there is a cute iced-tea shop at the rear which is makes the best mid shop pit stop. Location: Section 3 / Soi 3
|Hot tip: I’ll be honest, Chatuchak is a complete maze. But if any map is going to help you, it’s Nancy Chandler’s Map of Bangkok, which has a whole section on Chatuchak, divided by themes and items.|