Chatuchak market is the biggest weekend market in the world. It’s a fantastic way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Bangkok and locals and tourist alike, attend. It’s a site to see really and a great place to buy gifts for friends… or yourself. It’s a worthwhile adventure but is best accomplished with some preparation and tips.
1) Put on walking shoes. It’s miles and miles of booths and standing. You’ll want to be comfortable
2) Bring a List: Chatuchak is a great place to buy gifts- bring a list so you can cross them off!
3) Map: When you arrive at one of the entrances, do your best to pick up a map if you don’t have one already. I didn’t use one the first few times I went, but it can be really helpful, particularly if you’re looking for something specific.
4) Eat Before: All the walking and being out in the sun makes you hungry. You may or may not want to eat the available food at the stalls. If you’re touring and not sure you can stomach the street food, definitely eat before hand to energize you.
5) Put on sunscreen- It’s hot and the sun can be very strong.
Things to Know about Navigating the Weekend Market:
1) While the layout looks random, there is actually a layout. Different types of gifts are in different areas. That’s one of the reasons the map is helpful. If you want to download or print one ahead of time, I recommend this one:
2) The stalls that are on the main road are going to have the highest prices because they get the most traffic. Everything can be found at multiple places so I recommend going to one of the internal stalls to do the actual purchasing
3) Everything is negotiable. Like I said before, lots of the stalls have the same stuff. Negotiate and be ready to walk away. Offer really low prices. They’ll laugh at you but they’ll work with you.
4) If you know ANY Thai, use it! Unlike other cultures, Thai people really appreciate it when foreigners try to speak their language. Even learning the numbers or saying “how are you” in Thai can get you a lower price.
How to get there:
The easiest way to get to Chatachuk is on the BTS (The Bangkok sky train). Take the Siam line to the last stop, called Mochit. There will be tons and tons of people and you can basically follow the crowd off the train and into the weekend market area.