Chatuchak Market, Bangkok

Chatuchak Market, Bangkok

A literally bewildering market in the North of Bangkok, Chatuchak is definitely the largest in South-East Asia and very probably the world. Covering an astounding 35 acres and dissected into 27 enormous sections, Chatuchak can take at least two days to experience properly and even then visitors will probably have missed entire sections. It is strongly recommended that you visit over the course of two weekends in order to enjoy all that the market has to offer.

Chatuchak Market

flickr image by zoonabar

Whether you’re looking to buy antiques, watch a live cockfight, browse through hundreds of stalls selling handmade jewellery or even just enjoy a cocktail in the electrifying atmosphere, there is literally something for everyone at JJ (from the local Thai name of Jatujak). Visitors are given a map upon entry that seems to show an easy journey from colour coded sections to numbered smaller sections designed to make your shopping day easier but the truth is more complex. To walk from one end of the market to the other can easily take 2 hours and that is without browsing through the multitude of stalls. It is recommended to plan what you are looking for in advance as not only is the market sprawling, it is sweaty, smelly and exhausting. Bringing water, food and cash (few places accept credit card) in a backpack is recommended for this sweaty environment as your trusty backpack will also help to store all of the bargains that you can find in this bizarre bazaar.

The pet section has become famous for the strange and sprawling collection of animals on offer; from poisonous snakes to cowboy-hat wearing squirrels to baby stingrays and full sized turtles, everything that you could imagine is available for purchase within the confines of this animal city. There have been numerous reports of abuses and animals which are on the endangered species list found hidden in the market but the Thai police are seemingly making bigger steps in attempting to address these problems. Another hugely popular section amongst local trendy Thais is that which is reserved for designer and second-hand clothes; teams of young hip Thais flock here at the weekend to buy, sell and be inspired by the innovative atmosphere which permeates through this market. This creative air is also extended to the numerous gallery spaces and bourgeois cafes that have popped up in the last few years with many tourists come here to purchase brand new artworks from some of the city’s up and coming talent. It is also possible to send any of your purchases home through one of the onsite international delivery services which allows you to carry on with your holiday without the burden of presents to carry.

The market is so large that it is serviced by three BTS stations; Mo Chit which is the easiest for the main entrance, Chatuchak Park which is further into the market and Kamphang Phet which is close to the flower section. With an enduring and overwhelming popularity – over 200,000 people visit the 5,000+ stalls of this market every day – Chatuchak seems set to continue being one of the most thrilling experiences in all of Asia.

Date posted: 10th January, 2015

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