Chatuchak is the world’s biggest open-air market so if you love to shop and visit Bangkok, the market should be on top of your must-see list. You will find practically anything under the sun here. Be prepared to bargain though.
To get to the market, take the Skytrain and get off at Mo Chit station. Then just follow the crowds to the market.
Alternatively you can take the metro and get off at Kamphaengphet station.
The weekend market is open every Saturday and Sunday from 7 AM to 6 PM.
The plant shops are also open Wednesdays and Thursdays too from 7 AM to 6 PM.
What to buy
With 15,000 stalls spreading on 35 acres, Chatuchak is the biggest open-air market in the world. There are maps of the market but it’s more fun to wonder around slowly taking advantage of everything. Things aren’t exactly well organized, but who cares?
To get the best prices you are expected to bargain. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right from the first time, there are a lot of places to try your luck. And after few tries, you’ll find your own bargain style. Smile all the time and offer half the prices they requested. Then you can work your way up to a comfortable range for both. If it sounds too expensive, move to another stall.
If you are looking for traditional Thai handicrafts, this is the best place to buy them from. Considering the quantity offered, the prices are generally low. Candles and ceramics are also a good buy here while hand-crafted stainless steel cutlery is currently the most popular thing to buy.
Just make sure to not fall into the “original” or “antique” trap. Let’s face it: most of the “antique” merchandise is fake while the “designer” clothes are always fake and appeal mostly to young Thai than tourists.
If you get hungry after all the walking and shopping, stop at one of the numerous Thai-style fast food places.
- Stock up on funds before you arrive at the market. It’s quite a hassle to use the ATMs near-by so make sure you have enough cash when you leave the hotel.
- The market opens at 7 AM but it’s better to get there before 9 AM. It’s not that crowded yet.
- It’s hot, humid and crowded in the market so wear light clothes and drink lots of water.
- Like in any crowded places, be aware of the pickpockets and keep an eye on your personal belongings.
- It’s best to avoid the market when it rains. The drainage system is poor and the water on some alleys may be as high as your ankles. Needless to say, leave your good shoes at home and wear some comfy sandals you can find all over Bangkok.