Chatuchak Market – now that was an intense (but enjoyable) shopping experience.

I’m not perfect when it comes to travel, I make mistakes. Whilst I’m left to organise holidays and trips with friends because I enjoy the organisation and planning part, in practice it doesn’t always work out 100% as I intended.

In April of this year (2013) I spent some time in Laos and Cambodia. When the time came to leave Siem Reap and head back to Bangkok where we’d then catch our flight home, I booked my better half and I a hostel not too far from Hualumphong in the Thai Capital. We were to spend a single night before heading home … only thing is, it didn’t quite work out like that.

In short I got the date of our return flight home wrong. Instead, we had an entire Saturday to spend in Bangkok, but as luck would have it, this turned into a bit of a blessing as my mate @backpackerbecki was in town and she’d asked if we fancied joining her at the Chatuchak Market on said Saturday. Now, I wanted to spend some time with Becki, but the thought of shopping with her, my girlfriend and another girl named Sarah who Becki had met at her hostel wasn’t in truth my idea of fun. You see I am not a fan of shopping, in no way shape or form. I am also not the biggest fan of Bangkok, I find it too much hard work to enjoy, especially the Koh San Road. Whilst I did agree to the shopping trip, I honestly thought that the combination of the two might be the end of me.

2 wrongs = ?

So, Bangkok + shopping = … it pains me to say this … equals a pretty decent day out. There I said it. I enjoyed a day out shopping in my least favourite city. Or what was once one of my least favourite cities. The experience of the Chatuchak Market actually endeared me to Bangkok a tiny bit more, and by the time it came to leave I actually wanted to stay and explore a little, discover a Bangkok that exists outside of the Koh San Road and all its tourist trappings. Next time perhaps.

We arrived at Chatuchak Market later in the afternoon so to miss the midday heat. The BTS (skytrain) station landed us down right next to the market and from the outset it was clear that the market was vast. I mean HUGE! Luckily for us someone had had the sense to number the different sections of the market, and we were quickly able to navigate our way to the designated meeting point and join the others. What ensued next was a market wide search for cute tops, flip flops, designer handbags and other such feminine/cute items, joy! That’s not to say I didn’t get anything out

of my day, in fact I quite liked wandering off and leaving the girls to it every now and then so that I could browse the stalls selling DVD box sets, clothes and trainers. I also took to sampling a few of the culinary delights on offer. Fresh popcorn, ice lollies and spring rolls were all devoured at relatively little expense.

By the time we were finished and came to leave the market it was dark, but yet more people were only just arriving. We also noticed that the Chatuchak market had grown and spilled out onto the surrounding streets. This really was a shoppers paradise, but we were all shopped out. DVD’s and a couple of bits for the girlfriend safely stored in my bag, we headed back to the train station and then on to find some (more) much needed food. Not bad Bangkok, not bad at all.

Chatuchak Market

So to the market, its a biggun’. The 35-acre (68-rai) area of Chatuchak houses more than 8,000 stalls.  Thats a lot of shopping, and no wonder its believed to be the largest market in Thailand, and the world’s largest weekend market.  It’s thought that anywhere up to 200,000 shoppers descend on the market on any given weekend.  I told you it was big!

Luckily for those shoppers, the market is smart and grouped into sections.  In total there are 27 sections and here’s a rough idea of what each contains …

  • Clothing & Accessories (sections 2-6, 10-26)
  • Handicrafts (sections 8-11)
  • Ceramics (sections 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 25)
  • Furniture and Home Decoration (sections 1,3,4,7,8)
  • Food and Beverage (sections 2, 3, 4, 23, 24, 26, 27)
  • Plants and Gardening tools (sections 3, 4)
  • Art and Gallery (section 7)
  • Pets and Pet Accessories (sections 8, 9, 11, 13)
  • Books (sections 1, 27)
  • Antiques and Collectibles (sections 1, 26)
  • Miscellaneous and Used Clothing (sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 22, 25, 26)

 

Chatuchak Market layout

Opening Hours

Chatuchak Market is open …

  • Saturdays and Sundays from 9AM – 6PM, and
  • Fridays 6pm – midnight

 

Directions

The best way of getting to Chatuchak Market is by either MRT or via the BTS …

  • MRT station – Chatuchak Park
  • BTS (skytrain) station – Mo Chit