Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market is famous for its bustling atmosphere, the huge variety of goods (ranging from animals to clothing to art) and how cheap everything is there. What’s a trip to Bangkok without going to Chatuchak? In order to help you make the best out of your trip to the Chatuchak weekend market, here are 11 tips for you.
1. Familiarize Yourself With the Map
Chatuchak has 27 sections and more than 8,000 stalls. To save time and not risk getting lost, look through the map and circle the sections that you want to visit the most before planning your route for the day.
2. Directions to Chatuchak
Chatuchak Market is adjacent to the Kamphaengpecth Station (MRT) about 5 minute walk from Mochit Skytrain (BTS) Station and Suan Chatuchak (Chatuchak Park) Station (MRT). However, taking a tuk-tuk is really cheap in Bangkok, so just hop onto one and you’ll definitely reach Chatuchak in no time (without getting lost).
3. The Vintage Section
If you are into vintage clothing, do check out Section 5-6. The variety of clothing, accessories and second-hand leather goods at dirt-cheap prices will surprise you. Do not purchase anything from the first few stores you see at the start of the section, the real 100-baht deals are hidden away from the front.
4. Bring a Trolley Bag
With all the amazing deals in Chatuchak, you’ll definitely be buying truckloads of goods and lugging them around the market is going to be a chore. Bring a simple trolley bag that you can throw your clothes in and just wheel your precious goods around with ease.
5. Replenish Your Energy
The food in Chatuchak is delicious. From the famous coconut ice cream (look for the stall that not only sells ice cream, but also offers free coconut water), to the typical Bangkok street food to the mixed rice style stalls around, you’ll never go hungry while shopping.
6. Keep Yourself Hydrated
The tropical hot weather will leave you parched and in need of water. Our suggestion would be to bring a bottle of water so you can hydrate yourself wherever, whenever. However if you forgot to bring water, you can just purchase ice-cold bottles of beers, soda and mineral water from the vendors along the open main streets.
7. You’ll Never See the Same Store Twice
If you are hesitant about buying something, don’t put it on hold and think that you’ll come back. The complicated layout of Chatuchak will ensure that you’ll never find the same store again – or you’ll spend hours looking for that same store. So if you really like something, just buy it!
8. After Hours
If you still want to continue shopping after the market closes at 7pm, the pedestrian walkways right outside the market comes alive with clothing and accessories stall till late. The goods offered are cheaper than the market but there’s less variety and less food stalls.
9. Bargain, Bargain, Bargain
As with all the other shopping centres and markets in Bangkok, you have to bargain as much as possible. Do not show too much interest when you’re asking for the price and be prepared to walk away but do not expect a crazy 50% discount. The best you’ll get is a bulk discount.
10. Shipping Companies
For those who simply bought too much, there are shipping companies like DHL and TNT available around the market. They will collect your purchases and send them back to your hotel so that you can continue shopping without any baggage.
11. JJ Mall
If you get tired of braving the crowds in Bangkok’s intense heat, head down to the 4-storey JJ Mall that’s only a 10 minute walk away. The mall is air conditioned with food courts, clothing stores (though slightly more expensive), actual restaurants and massage parlors. It’s a terrific place for cooling down and relaxing after a day of shopping.
Images courtesy of (from top to bottom) Chatuchak.org, TripAdvisor, A Pair and A Spare, Keryhi.Can.Boleh, Uncle Tehpeng, Eat and Treats (6 and 7), BlueBalu, Alex in Wanderland, Man on the Lam, Global Travel Mate.