Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the largest bazaars in Southeast Asia. Visitors are bombarded with thousands upon thousands of stalls here, and one could spend an entire day getting lost in the chaos. Here, everything you need to know about the Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, Thailand.
This sprawling market first opened in the 1940s. It came to be thanks to former Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram, who had the goal of creating markets across the capital. Chatuchak Weekend Market called a few different locations home before settling in the area where it is found today because of its ever-expanding size. Its previous locations simply could not keep up with the stalls as more and more vendors came to sell their goods. Today, the market occupies some 35 acres of space in the capital.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
The weekend market is located just adjacent to Chatuchak Park, which is a quaint green space equipped with several walking paths and a lake. The park makes one feel as though they have left the urban décor of the capital behind them and entered a space a bit more tropical, with palm trees lining the walkways.
There are several different entrances to the market, and each one promises to greet visitors with an abundance of new goods and souvenirs. Visitors who take the Phaholyothin entrance, for example, will find themselves bombarded with greenery: gardening tools, hanging plants, fruit trees, and more.
With one too many stalls to choose from, visitors will find themselves shopping until they drop at this expansive market. Chatuchak Weekend Market welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every Saturday and Sunday, and the attraction has become a must-see destination for visitors making their way through Bangkok.
A good central point of the market is the clock tower. It towers (pun intended) above all of the vendors and is a good meeting spot if you are with friends and happen to lose them, which is a very likely scenario at the Chatuchak Weekend Market.
Cool finds at the market
Chatuchak Weekend Market has everything you could possibly dream of in terms of goods and souvenirs. Clothing, antiques, hill-tribe handicrafts, home décor, pieces of art, pets for sale: this market has more than enough things to blow some baht on. The market is also incredibly affordable, so visitors do not have to be in fear of breaking their bank with every purchase. The market is also home to stalls selling both second-hand and counterfeit goods, making for some incredibly cheap price tags.
The market is split up into zones, but these can oftentimes be hard to distinguish when lost in the maze of vendors. There are almost 30 sections to choose from, though we suggest trying to frequent all of them. There are maps available at the main entrance that visitors can grab to help direct them to the different zones, but sometimes it is just more fun to take to the narrow pathways and explore without a destination in mind.
Be sure to barter
As always, be sure to barter anything and everything. We usually go by the golden rule of asking for the item at half the price, then figure out a fair price tag from there. As always, do not take the bartering overboard and be polite when doing so. Knowing a few numbers in Thai will also help you get a better price on items, as well.
Be sure to purchase something you like when you see it. If you decide that you want to return to a vendor later in hopes of finding the same item for a better price elsewhere, for example, there is a good chance you may never find that stall again.
When to go
One of the best times to visit this market is on Saturday and Sunday morning when it first opens at about 9 a.m. Thais can be fairly suspicious people, and many vendors believe that the first sale of the day will bring them good luck. Because of this, vendors are more likely to give bigger discounts in the morning than at any other time.
Stop by JJ Green
JJ Green Night Market is much smaller and less chaotic than the Chatuchak Weekend Market. Visitors will be hard-pressed to find tourists at JJ Green. They will instead be browsing some of the coolest finds in the city amongst cool, hipster Thais who are dressed intimidatingly cool. JJ Green Night Market feels more like a flea market or an outdoor thrift shop than Chatuchak does, and the market does not open until after dark and normally gets very busy closer to midnight.
In addition to goods, one can spend an evening at JJ Green enjoying live music and Thai cuisine from one of the many restaurants and bars found sporadically around the market. Most are local bands playing cover songs, and the market is a cool (and cheap) spot to pregame a night out in the city.
How to get there
To get to the Chatuchak Weekend Market, visitors must take the BTS Skytrain to the Mochit station. From there, take exit one and the market is within walking distance. You can also take the MRT subway to the Mochit station. Chatuchak Weekend Market is fully open on Saturdays and Sundays from about 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. JJ Green Night Market is open from about 7 p.m. until 1 a.m.