One of the best and most exciting things to do when you are in Thailand is shopping! When it comes to hitting the stores, the big shopping malls are not the only choice — Thailand is a land of colorful markets full of everything you can imagine. Do like the locals do, and you will discover the true hidden gems if you stray from the large shopping centers.
Shopping in Thailand is really fun especially in Bangkok where you don’t need to worry about day and time. There will be always markets open to satisfy your perusing needs whether it be day or night. Read on to find out about our 7 top favorite markets from an insider’s perspective!
Chatuchak Weekend Market
This weekend market, also known as JJ Market to the locals, is one of the most famous and biggest markets not only in Thailand, but also the entire world! We’re not exaggerating — with more than 15,000 retailers in 27 sections, Chatuchak has united every item you can imagine from handicrafts, silk, shoes, clothes, furniture, pets to even plants. Doing your shopping here is very fun as most of the shops offer negotiable prices so you can barter for the price you want.
The transportation to get there is also very convenient. The market is accessible from either the “MoChit” BTS skytrain station or the MRT subway stops of either “Chatuchak” or “Kamphaeng Phet” (MRT “Kamphaeng Phet” station is located right in front of the market). Chatuchak is open weekends on Saturdays and Sundays, from 9am to 6pm, and Fridays, from 6pm to 12am.
Pak Khlong Talad Market (Flower Market)
Pak Khlong Talad is the main flower market in Bangkok as it offers the biggest selection of wholesale and retail flowers. You can find more flowers than you can imagine here, here both local and imported ones, and the best part: the price is amazingly cheap! This market is not far from Wat Pho (the temple of reclining Buddha) and the old town. Even if you’re not in the market to purchase flowers, it makes for a great photographic opportunity. It is open 24 hours and can be accessed by public transportation including boat, taxi or tuk tuk. It’s located on Chak Phet Road near Saphan Phut Night Market or the Memorial Bridge.
Asiatique The Riverfront
Asiatique The Riverfront is the newest Bangkok Night Market, located in the old warehouses of the East Asiatic Company. It’s more than a typical night market – it’s more like a shopping and lifestyle complex separated into four distinct districts.
- The Factory District is where all the shopping happens with more than 1500 small shops located in old warehouses. You can find anything from fashion, souvenirs, design handicrafts, and furniture. Keep in mind these are more upscale items and not like the cheap bargain hunting you can find in other night markets.
- The Waterfront District is what you see when you first arrive by boat. You will find many restaurants and event venues along the boardwalk. Concerts, festivals and the New Year’s countdown celebrations take place here.
- The Down Square District is a mixture of Thai & Western influences – a large sports bar, international food, and a small events area.
- The Chareonkrung District is where you find more than 1,000 retail shops selling handicrafts, home decor, souvenirs, but also the Joe Louis Puppet Theatre and the Calypso Show.
The market is open from 5pm to midnight and you can get there by boat. Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin station, then walk to the river where you can get on a free ferry boat to Asiatique The Riverfront.
Sampeng Market (Yaowarat Area)
Buying souvenirs to bring back to your friends and loves ones doesn’t have to be expensive. Sampeng market offers wholesale deals for accessories, jewelry, fabric, handicrafts and souvenirs. The shops are lined in narrow streets, so avoid going there during the weekend, as it can be hard to walk around. However, you can be sure of a lively, authentic experience and feel like a local.
Sampeng market is next to Yaowarat area (Chinatown) so you can get two experiences in one, plus there are many street food stalls for when you’re hungry and need a break from shopping. To get there, it is easiest to take a riverboat to Ratchawong Pier and walk about 5 minutes to the market.
Known as the city’s garment district, Pratunam Market is the best choice for the fashionistas out there! Pratunam is one of the biggest wholesale clothing markets and offers bargain prices for all kinds of clothing, apparel, fashion accessories, shoes, watches, jewelry, belts, luggage and then some. Retail vendors from all over Thailand love to come here, so you’ll be sure to get the true experience of a local. The location is right in the city centre, and is an easy district to find no matter where you are in Bangkok thanks to the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, which is Thailand’s tallest building! A short walk across the street from the market is “Pantip Plaza,”an excellent place to sort out all your electronic needs.
Khlong Toey Market
For food lovers, you don’t want to miss Khlong Toey fresh market! Khlong Toey market is the biggest food market in Bangkok offering reasonable prices for raw meat, seafood, farm produce, and a few other items including clothing and kitchenware. The market is open daily from 6 AM to late afternoon (around 2PM.) Getting there is also convenient. You can take MRT to Khlong Toey station and the market is just a few walks away.
Or Tor Kor Market
(Photo credit: WashingtonPost.com)
Another top food market in Bangkok is Or Tor Kor. This indoor market offer fresh and well selected products from the around country. The price can be a little bit more expensive than other local markets but you can be assured of the high quality you will get. There are also food shops inside this market that offer special dishes from every region of Thailand – talk about one stop shopping, or should we say eating! It is open every day from 6 AM to 8 PM and located just next to Chatuchak Weekend market. Take the MRT subway to Kamphaeng Phet station. Exit number three, and you’re in the market.