Bangkok has certainly taken on a modern persona. Contemporary, high-rise buildings hug the city on all sides, neighborhoods around the capital are being demolished to make room for the new, and Bangkokians are saying goodbye to anything considered ‘out-of-date.’ There is one market, however, holding true to its vintage vibe. Here, the ultimate guide to the Rod Fai Market in Bangkok, quite possibly the coolest night bazaar in the capital.
Talad Rod Fai, meaning train market, was dubbed this name because of its previous location. Once found near the railroads tracks closest to the BTS skytrain station Mochit, the market was later relocated to make room for an expansion of the skytrain. The new premises of the market opened in 2013, and Bangkokians were delighted to find that the market not only held true to its charm but also almost doubled in size. If anything, the Rod Fai Market became bigger and better than ever with the move.
Rod Fai Train Market
The train market has something for every type of tourist to the capital. It is impeccable in size and is filled with numerous goods and souvenirs. Between these stalls are enough things to see and do to keep visitors preoccupied for hours. Upon arrival, visitors will have to first meander down a long walkway lined with alluring shops filled with enticing goods before coming upon the main section of the market. From tattoo parlors to makeup counters to restaurants boasting of local and live Thai bands, there is seemingly nothing this market does not have.
The market consists of three main zones: Rod’s antiques, the market zone, and the warehouse zone. Visitors should frequent each area before leaving the market, though certainly the most interesting of them all is Rod’s antiques. The classic cars found here are nothing like what city-dwellers are used to seeing off Sukhumvit Road during rush hour. Instead, the ancient automobiles transport visitors to a different era, with vehicles in seemingly mint condition though hailing from a different decade. Visitors are free to explore and photograph the cars, motorbikes, motorcycles, and more … just do not touch anything.
As Bangkok’s ever-expanding urban décor promises more and more high-end and luxurious shopping, we are slowly seeing a decline in available second-hand goods for purchase. The Rod Fai Market is one of the few remaining places in the city that does sell lightly used items, with entire stores smelling of your grandmother’s basement as proof of this. The market zone is equipped with loads of cheap clothing overflowing from metal shopping carts in the middle of the pedestrian walkways, with vibrant and stylish items throughout. Visitors should not expect to shell out one too many baht either, as most vendors are willing to bargain and the items are already affordably priced. Entire rows of clothing with set prices as low as ฿100 eagerly await shopaholics at the Rod Fai Market in Bangkok.
Antique-lovers will certainly be overwhelmed in the warehouse zone. Prepare to fill your suitcases to the max with all of the unique finds here as visitors will be unable to resist the cool items in addition to their even better prices. Market-goers will feel nostalgic as they meander the shops and vendors, as most of the items found here are vintage. Shop owners are equipped with everything from old-fashioned rotary dial telephones to a plethora of Coca-Cola paraphernalia up for sale, with an abundance of interesting finds in-between.
Shoppers will likely build up an appetite while meandering the extensive market. There are food and drink stalls found throughout, however, three main aisles are devoted entirely to patrons’ appetites. Korean, Thai, Western: you name the type of cuisine, this market is likely to have it. Vegetarians will find mushroom soups worth devouring, and carnivores can simultaneously gorge themselves on buy five get one free pieces of chicken. Those with a sweet tooth may instead beeline for the brownie vendor, selling chocolate, Oreo, and cheesecake flavored treats for as little as ฿35 each. Throw diets and healthy eating habits to the wind and indulge in French fries overflowing with cheese, or consciously decide to eat mushrooms skewers, instead. Whatever it is visitors crave, the Rod Fai Market has a food stall ready to please every appetite.
Not your usual market
A visit to the Rod Fai Market is so refreshing in comparison to frequenting any other market in Bangkok. Other than a few food and beverage vendors, none of the people working to sell their goods actually work to sell their goods. The unique array of items seem to market themselves just fine without someone standing next to the foot path trying to convince visitors of the great deal they will get by purchasing whatever item it is they are trying to sell.
New Rod Fai Market
Visitors should be aware that there are not one, but two train markets in Bangkok. This market is not to be confused with the New Rod Fai Market found off the Thailand Cultural Center MRT subway station. Though this market is certainly noteworthy in its own way, we think it simply cannot compete with the original.
How to get there
To get to the Rod Fai Market in Bangkok, visitors must take the BTS skytrain to the On Nut station. From there, you will have to either get a taxi or motorbike taxi to the market. You can tell them, “talad rod fai,” which means train market. There are two train markets in town as mentioned previously, but visitors should be close enough to the original that the taxi driver should know where to take you. It is found on Srinakarin Soi 61 behind the Seacon Square Shopping Mall. The Rod Fai Market is open Thursday through Sunday. Stalls normally start to come alive at 5 p.m., though the market is most noteworthy after the sun has set.