Fresh food markets are incredibly popular in Bangkok. The freshest of them all is surely Khlong Toei, where visitors will find everything from conscious produce to fresh fruit and more. Here, a look inside the Khlong Toei wet market in Bangkok, Thailand.
What is a wet market?
Unlike dry markets where vendors sell items including souvenirs, clothing, home décor, and more, wet markets strictly sell things like produce and fresh meat. These types of markets are found across Southeast Asia, though Thailand is especially known for the sheer abundance of them found across the country.
The ingredients sold here are incredibly cheap, and wet markets in Southeast Asia promise locals an affordable way to stock up on groceries each day to cook for their families. Many vendors open their shops before the sun rises and do not pack up until after it has set.
The Khlong Toei wet market
The Khlong Toei wet market is the largest one in the capital. The market is poised to overwhelm even the most adventurous of traveler. From the produce that is slaughtered on the spot to the helping hands which barrel down the narrow walkways with wooden baskets made for carrying produce, it is certainly one of the most stressful places in the city.
There are multiple entrances to the wet market, and each one is seemingly just as abrasive and chaotic as the last as vendors mill in and out. The main entrance is off Rama IV Road. It is here visitors will find locals wheeling to and from Khlong Toei wet market with their latest distributable goods, whether that be animated chickens crammed into a wire mesh cage or barrels of spiky and colorful rambutan.
What to expect
Visitors will find vendors selling a wide variety of perishable items, though the majority of locals sell every vegetarians’ personal nightmare: raw meat. The produce here is so fresh visitors may even get the chance to see an item killed to be made into a meal right before their eyes.
Many of the most popular restaurants in the capital frequent this market to purchase the ingredients needed to make the delicious meals on their menus. Even the most expensive and high-end of eateries will send their staff to this wet market to round up the materials needed to please their hungry customers.
Khlong Toei slum
The Khlong Toei wet market is located in the area known as the Khlong Toei slum in Bangkok. It is here the largest low-income population in the capital resides, which is reflective of the wet markets’ overall cleanliness (or lack thereof). Ironically enough, the city’s most luxurious malls are a mere tuk-tuk ride away.
The slum where the market is found came to be in the 1950s. The slum is some 1.5 kilometers in size and sits over a large, murky canal. Many illegal squatters call the slum home and are found lining the tight walkways selling their produce. The area is also known as the City of Khlong Toei and the Continent of Khlong Toei to those who reside here.
Where is Khlong Toei?
To get to the Khlong Toei wet market, visitors must take the MRT subway to the Khlong Toei station. From there, take exit one and the market is within walking distance. You can also get a taxi or tuk-tuk from the BTS Skytrain station Asoke or Phra Khanong, which are the two closest stations to the market. The Khlong Toei wet market is open 24 hours a day, every day of the week.