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Chatuchak Weekend Market Bangkok

guide and travel tips for Bangkok's weekend market Chatuchak (Jatujak)

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Pictures of Chatuchak Weekend Market Bangkok can be seen here

Chatuchak market (Bangkok, Thailand) is one of the largest markets in the world. Located opposite the old northern bus terminal along Phahonyothin it is a must for any traveller coming to Bangkok who has shopping on his/her mind.

The market is only open at the weekends, Saturday and Sunday from 7am until late. Some of the stalls do open during the week but not sufficient to warrant a visit. One alternative to Chatuchak is the new Suan Lum Night Bazaar which is open daily read our review of Shopping in Bangkok for more information.

Getting to Chatuchak has become a lot easier since the Skytrain system opened and now you can simply take the Skytrain to the end terminal called Morchit which is exactly where the market is located.

WHEN TO ARRIVE: the market officially opens at 7am and we recommend you get there by  around 9am if not a little earlier! The market gets so busy later on that you will be happy for the couple of reasonably quiet, and cooler, hours that arriving early will afford you. Do note that during the hotter months of April and May the market can be unbearably hot, so getting there early is even more important.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: Due to the fact that the market is so large we do not recommend that you go in large groups, it will be easier for you if there is just 2 or 3 of you, rather than a whole gang. Even if you are travelling part of a group cut yourselves up into groups of two or three and make it clear to the others that you are looking after your own pack rather than trying to keep an eye on 8 or 9 people. We also recommend that you do not use Chatuchak as a meeting place, it is highly recommended that you meet your friends somewhere else (such as a hotel in Bangkok) and then travel to Chatuchak together rather than try and meet them there. It is also recommended that you have a plan of action in case you get separated and cannot find each other.

SECURITY: Thailand is, on the whole, a very safe country, many expats living in Thailand claim that they feel safer in Thailand than they ever could if living in the US or large European cities. While this may be true, there is always a rotten apple in the barrel so certain precautions should be taken. We recommend to leave any valuables at the hotel, to be honest you really do not even need a handbag as if you are shopping all you need is money and sufficient hands to carry what you have bought. Therefore we suggest you leave everything at the hotel, carry sufficient cash split into two front pockets (NOT the back pockets) or a good money belt or saddle.

RAIN: Strange sub topic for an article about shopping, but trust us when we say that you do not want to be at Chatuchak when it rains ! Due to the layout of Chatuchak, if it rains heavily then the drainage system within Chatuchak can get flooded meaning that a lot of the alleys will have rain up to and above your ankles. For this we obviously recommend that you leave your good shoes at home, in fact the best thing to wear is a comfortable pair of sandals that are available in many different styles all around Bangkok for only a few hundred Baht or so. Remember to cover any cuts you may have on your feet or ankles with good quality water proof plasters.

Warning: If you are strict supporter of animal rights etc or if you just do not like to see animals in what is possibly not the most healthy of environments, then you may want to avoid the animal section of the market. There is nothing bad happening it is just that some of the animals look to be in terrible shape and most are not in the best of environments.

Why the need for such advice? Chatuchak is enormous but it is not only the fact that you have some estimated 9,000/15,000 (no one seems to know) stalls that all run down narrow alleys and are overflowing with artifacts, nor the fact that it is very difficult to get your bearings once inside unless you know it very well, but you will be also overwhelmed by the number of people that visit, some reports state a total of 200,000 and others even claim a staggering 300,000 visitors a weekend. This is why we have made the recommendations above and hope that they will come in useful.

Why visit Chatuchak? This amazing market basically has nearly everything you could ever wish to buy and many things that you would never want to. They have clothes, animals, books, plants, artifacts, unusual things, wooden workings, material, ceramics, baskets, antiques, plastic fruit, silk flowers, antiques, shoes, silver wear, jewelry, houseware, and so many other things it would take too long to list.

The prices are amazing. A recent small craze went around the tourists visiting Bangkok who found wooden frogs that you could rub with a small stick and the frog would sound like its real life copy. These frogs in Bangkok centre were for sale at 150 Baht, in Chatuchak they could be had for around 80 Baht!

Deals such as this are common place in Chatuchak and while many of the stalls expect you to bargain (and you should always try) some stalls will not as they use a fixed price system. The majority though are on a negotiate basis and you should normally aim at around 50% of the first price offered.

If you are with a Thai or speak a reasonable amount of Thai then you may go straight to the better prices from the start so get practicing!

Chatuchak basically is shoppers paradise and a MUST for anyone in Bangkok who has shopping on their agenda. An alternative and a much more enjoyable experience to Chatuchak can be had by visiting the Suan Lum Night Bazaar which is open daily and is located in the heart of Bangkok next to Lumpini Park.

Read our review of Shopping in Bangkok for more on the Suan Lum Night Bazaar and other shopping ideas.
Pictures of Chatuchak Weekend Market Bangkok can be seen here.

Happy shopping!!

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