I simply LOVE markets! I like the vibrant atmosphere and walking around in between the different booths looking at all the strange and useful and sometimes not so useful things they sell. And when I find the perfect thing that I really like, it might be that I can bargain it down in price and make a scoop! If I can walk away from there with a few bargains, then my market trip has been a complete success! 🙂
Bangkok has some of the best and biggest markets in the world, and they are part of the reason why I love the “City of Angels” so much. Paying a visit to a Bangkok market should be part of any trip to here!
BONUS: We have made a free printable PDF and ePUB version of this guide to Bangkok’s best markets. Perfect to print or carry on your iPad!
1. Chatuchak Market
Chatuchak Weekend Market is THE ultimate Bangkok market. It is the mother of all markets, and a real MUST when visiting Bangkok! It is the biggest weekend market in the world (at least one of the biggest…), covering more than one km, consisting of a whopping 15 000 booths selling just about anything you can imagine from every corner of Thailand! And it has been in Bangkok for decades.
A tourist attraction in itself, the Chatuchak market draws more than 200 000 visitors a day! It is popular among both local Thais, foreigners living in Bangkok and tourists. You should come here and have a look even if you are not a big shopper. It is great fun, but can also be a very hot and humid experience.
The market is divided into 27 sections, and you can find things like wood carvings, clay handicrafts, local souvenirs from every part of Thailand, Buddhist amulets, wooden furniture, handmade decorated flowers, ceramic wares, Chinese wares, garden plants, stones, trendy fashions, silk, hill-tribe outfits, paintings of local painters, fluffy dogs, handbags, shoes, jewellery and fashionable Thai design of all sort – All at a cheap prize! It really is spectacular!
We like the art section of Chatuchak the best. It is great fun to walk between all the beautiful and fantastic art and paintings made by talented local artists. Often you can see artists working on their next painting or piece of handcrafted jewelry right there.
You can also eat and drink at nice small cafes and restaurants, or grab something along the way.
And if you shop too much, or very large things, TNT and DHL are present and are more than happy to pack and ship your stuff to your home. At a price of course 🙂
It is very easy to feel a bit “lost” at Chatuchak because it is soooo big and there are soooo many people! Find a map if you can (there are guards handing them out), otherwise just go out and explore.
Of course, the usual tactics in crowded areas apply. Keep a close watch on any valuables. Chatuchak has been known to host a few eager pickpockets, and having your wallet hanging out of your back pocket is probably not the wisest thing to do.
If you are there with friends or family, decide where to meet up if you get away from each other. Half the fun is however to get a little lost, then you can come across some unexpected things that you never knew you needed! 🙂
Don’t underestimate how big this market is! Ditch the stiletto heels, and wear your most comfortable shoes! And remember to drink plenty of water, as it is easy to become dehydrated. I like to use dehydration as an excellent excuse to have another of those delicious strawberry yogurt drinks they sell there (see the photo above) 🙂
Chatuchak is divided into 27 sections. Click on the map below to see what each section contains:
- When: Saturdays and Sundays, 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- What to get there: Well, basically just about everything you can imagine!
- How to get there: Sky train to Mo Chit station, or the underground to Chatuchak station, and follow the stream of people.
- Webpage: http://www.chatuchak.org/
2. Pak Klong Talat Flower Market
The vivid and colorful Flower Market (Pak Klong Talat) is a beautiful and lovely smelling market.
It is such a nice and vibrant market to visit, full of colors and lovely smell! Here you can find all kinds of flowers, vegetables, and fruits.
Though the market is open 24 hours, it is busiest before dawn, when boats and trucks arrive with flowers from all over Thailand.
Here both consumers and wholesale buyers come to buy flowers and vegetables. Many local florists come to the market early in the morning to stock up on flowers to sell in their shops the following day. Also, the poor who make a living out of stringing and selling flower garlands on the streets, buy sacks of jasmine and marigold flowers here.
The market has a long history, all the way back to the reign of Rama I (1782-1809) when it was a floating market here. Later it changed into a fish market before it became the kind of market it is today. It has been a flower market for over 60 years.
If you want to really experience the Thai culture at local markets, you should consider booking one of the tours with The Market Experience. They have different experiences you can join: The 2-hour Flower Market Tour that gives you a guided tour around this Flower Market and an insight into Thai life, culture, and society, Cooking in the Market, a Thai cooking course, Desserts and Edible Art, where you learn to make those beautiful Thai snacks and desserts that look like piece of art, and the Flower Art Workshop, where you make stunning flower decorations. All of these tours and workshops take place inside the Flower Market. They all look like great fun! I would love to do the Cooking course as it would be great to learn how to cook Thai food with flowers.
- When: 24 hours every day, but it is busiest in the evening.
- What to get there: Mainly flowers, but also vegetables and fruits.
- How to get there: The Flower Market is located on Chakphet Road. Take a taxi or use the river Express Boat to Saphan Phut station. From there it is a short walk.
3. Klongsan Market
The vibrant and busy Klongsan Plaza Market is where the local Thais go for shopping after they finish off at work, so don`t expect to meet that many other tourists or to find typical tourist souvenirs here.
The area where this market is located actually used to be a train station.
Here you will find everything from trendy clothes, shoes, jewelry, jeans, accessories…..Yep, basically everything you might need for a new look! Few tourists know about this market, which is a lucky thing because that means they are likely to be charging Thai prices.
You will also find many stands selling food, drinks, and snacks here.
In this market, we also stopped to visit a giant Buddhist monk (not a real one, a doll). Here they also sell amulets that will protect you and give you a long and happy life.
- When: Every day from 7 am. to 10 pm.
- What to get there: Everything from clothing, jewelry and shoes and cheap prices.
- How to get there: Take a boat on Chao Phraya River and leave at Klong San Pier. And you’ll be in the market.
4. Klong Toey Fresh Market
The Klong Toey Market supplies Bangkok with half its fresh food. This market also sells wholesale and retail appliances, and you will find all kinds of meat, fish, seafood, fruits, vegetables, herbs, but also clothes, shoes, clocks etc.
And the food they sell here is REALLY fresh! The fish and crabs are still alive when they are delivered to the market, so they kill the fish when you buy it, the same goes for the chickens.
It is great fun to walk around at this market, even if you don`t plan to buy anything. The market is huge and super busy with local Thais stocking up on fresh food. A fun fact about this market is that according to Wikipedia, in 2010 CNN listed it as one of the most authentic markets in Bangkok, but apparently CNN also said that it is a place best avoided when hung over 🙂
- When: Every day from 6 am. to 2 am.
- What to get there: All fresh food, fruits, vegetables and herbs you can imagine, plus clothes, clocks, shoes….well, basically everything!
- How to get there: MRT Subway to Klong Toei station, and walk out of Exit 1. When you come out, take right, and follow Rama 4 Road east about 10 minutes, and the Klong Toey Market will be on your right-hand side. You can`t miss it, it is so huge!
5. Bangkok Farmers Market
The Bangkok Farmers Market is not only a market but a whole organization working together with and for organic farmers all over Thailand. They have built a platform and community in Bangkok, with a focus on Healthy Living, and bringing people together. They also do Yoga and give back to the communities through education, charity work, and community programs in Thailand.
Every first and third weekend each month they arrange Farmers Market at a particular place/ shopping mall in Bangkok, where farmers, food producers, and artist come together to sell their organic products like fruits, vegetables, food, drinks, beauty products, clothes, jewelry and so much more!
It is a great place to walk around and try different local specialties when it comes to food and snacks. It is so nice to see that also Thailand has started to put a focus on organic products and cherish local producers.
- When: Every 1st & 3rd Weekend of the Month, from 11 am. – 7 pm.
- What to get there: Food, snacks, drinks, jewelry, clothes, shoes…..all sorts of organic made things, everything locally made in Thailand.
- How to get there: It is located different places around Bangkok (mostly inside shopping malls), but usually, it is close to a Sky train station.
- Facebook page (the best place to find out when the next Farmers Market is going to be, and where): https://www.facebook.com/bkkfm
6. Pratunam Market
This is a kind of indoor market, but there also booths out in the alleys and streets around Pratunam. At this Market, you will find clothes, shoes, and accessories like jewelry, handbags and sunglasses, everything at wholesale prices. You can basically find all the knick-knacks you can ever imagine! It sure is a shopping bonanza!
It is great fun to walk around at Pratunam Market, and you can do some real bargains at super low prices! It is located in a popular tourist area, so here you will see a mix of locals and foreigners. It’s a nice market to buy gifts, but also to shop clothes (if you can find your size )and shoes for yourself. And it is also fun to watch the Thai girls and boys go shopping crazy!
- When: Every day 7 am. to 7 pm. (although my impression is that they start to close they booths at around 5-6 pm.). But then the next door Baiyoke Night Market opens (from 5 pm. to Midnight), so just walk over to the next street and continue to shop. Shop til you drop!
- What to get there: Clothes, shoes, jewelry, sunglasses, and all thinkable knick-knacks, useful and not so useful!
- How to get there: Take the Sky Train to Chit Lom station, and walk from there. Follow Chid Lom Rd., till you get to Petchburi Rd which you cross and take a left. Walk on Petchburi Rd till you reach Ratchaprarop Rd., and take a right on Ratchaprarop Rd and you will be right at the Pratunam Market.
Bonus: 7. Dalat Rot Fai
The Dalat Rot Fai (meaning “Train Market”), used to be located around some abandoned train tracks near Chatuchak Market and Mo Chit Bus Station. We have wanted to visit this market many times, but have never gotten around to it. And when we finally went there, it turned out that it had moved! 🙁
At the end of 2013, it moved to a new, more developed location southeast of the city center near Seacon Square shopping center. This is apparently the second largest market in Bangkok, after Chatuchak Market, and sells all kinds of cool and trendy clothes and things. This is not a market that sells typical Thai souvenirs (wood elephants and Chang Beer tank tops), but more hip things that are trendy and popular in Thailand. This is apparently THE place to go for young hipster Thais. Here they also sell second-hand clothes and handmade handbags, plus the market has many cool cafes. I am sooooo going there the next time we are in Bangkok! 🙂
- When: One area of Dalat Rot Fai has permanent shops, which are open Tuesday – Sunday (closed on Mondays). The rest of the market (with booths and stalls on the street) is open Wednesday and Friday – Saturday. Opening hours: 5 pm. till midnight.
- What to get there: Hip and trendy clothes, both new and second-hand, handbags and all sorts of cool stuff. Also, a nice place to hang around at cafes.
- How to get there: Dalat Rot Fai is located southwest of the center of Bangkok, close to Seacon Square shopping center on Srinakarin Road (sometimes spelled Srinagarindra Road) in the Prawet District (NOT close to Chatuchak Market anymore!). If you’re facing the front of Seacon Square on Srinakarin Road, the entrance to Dalat Rot Fai is on the right-hand side. Most taxi drivers know where it is. A taxi from the center of Bangkok to the market cost around 140 baht (5 us$) and takes about 30 minutes. If you want to take the Sky Train and then grab a taxi, get off at “On Nut” or “Udom” Station. A taxi from there to the market will cost about 60 baht (2 us$). If you’re by yourself you might save a few baht, but if you’re going with others it will probably be cheaper (and easier) to take a taxi all the way.
Markets are a big part of the daily life in Bangkok, as they are the main places where people do their shopping. There are sooooo many markets in Bangkok, but these 6 are my favorite ones! They are not typical tourist markets, so here you can shop along with the local Thai people while they are doing their daily shopping. Even if you are not a big shopper yourself, it’s great just to walk around the markets experiencing the atmosphere and get an authentic look at Bangkok’s daily life.
BONUS: We have made a free printable PDF and ePUB of this guide to Bangkok’s best markets. Perfect to print or carry on your iPad!
If you are looking for more shopping in Bangkok, we have written the ultimate shopping guide to Bangkok.
Are you wondering what else you should see and do in Bangkok? Check out our ultimate best-of-Bangkok itinerary.
We visited two of these markets on a Bangkok night tour with tuk-tuk, which you can read more about here
Where To Stay In Bangkok
Bangkok offers a wide selection of accommodation for all budgets, and you will have plenty of choices when it comes to finding the right place to stay.
Bangkok is pretty affordable when it comes to accommodation, so you can get some really good deals and even find five stars hotels very cheap compared to other places in the world. However, accommodation prices do vary greatly with the season. Below are some of our favorite hotels in Bangkok. We have stayed at all of the hotels below.
If you'd like to stay along the river without breaking the bank, the new Avani Riverside hotel is a great alternative to the usual riverside luxury hotels. Rooms are super comfortable with fantastic views overlooking the Chao Phraya river and the fantastic rooftop infinity pool is probably our favorite in Bangkok.
Click here for current prices
If you're looking for a mid-range option close to Bangkok's famous Khao San area, then the Casa Nithra comes highly recommended. The rooftop swimming pool is lovely, the rooms comfortable and the breakfast has plenty of options. It's located in a quiet area, yet Khao San is just an easy walk away.
Click here for current prices
Hotel Icon is a small hotel centrally located on Sukhumvit road. The rooms are fresh and modern, big and comfortable with all the usual comforts such as flat screen tv, aircon, and free Wi-Fi. The rooftop swimming pool is great!
Click here for current prices
For more accommodation options read our complete guide to where to stay in Bangkok.
We used the Lonely Planet`s Thailand travel guide on our trip. You can get that and other great books by clicking on the pictures below:
What is your favorite market in Bangkok? Can you picture yourself visiting any of these markets? Please leave a comment in the comment area below, thanks! 🙂
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