Chatuchak Weekend Market

  • Posted onApril 22nd, 2013

Chatuchak MarketBangkok has become a shopping Mecca for anyone passing through Southeast Asia, it’s not just a place where you get your cool crafts, family gifts, and knock off electronics, it’s also home to all the latest gadgets, designer gear, and boutique fashion. While the mega malls of Chidlom, Pratunam, and Sukhumvit grab a lot of attention, there are still a huge number of markets, many of which specialize in certain types of products, and lots of unique, one off items. If you are not a big market fan, or are short on time, the must visit market of Bangkok has to be the Chatuchak Weekend Market.

The best word to describe the Chatuchak Market is EPIC. It’s not just one of the biggest shopping experiences of Bangkok, this once wholesale market is now one of the top 5 tourist attractions of the capital. Why is it so popular? Mostly due to its mammoth size and the diverse types of products and merchandise available. Covering 35 acres (68 rai) of land and home to over 8,00 market stalls, Chatuchak attracts over 200,000 visitors on an average weekend. Many leave tired, but few leave disappointed.

Chatuchak MapGetting Around

The first thing you’ll discover about the Chatuchak Weekend Market, is that it’s quite easy to get lost, and if you’re looking for a particular product you may find yourself walking in circles unable to find what you want.

Fortunately there is a system, with a main walkway cutting through the centre and numbered sois branching off it.  The sois and stalls between them are also broken down into 27 sections, with most of the section tending to focus on a certain type of goods.

Now despite this , if this is your first visit to Chatuchak then expect to get lost. Stalls will often be in the wrong place and the sheer number of sois and shoppers can be overwhelming and disorientated, even with a map in hand, so just try to be aware of how to exit! The BTS line running high along one edge of the market is a good visual point of reference.

Buddha images, Chatuchak weekend market, Bangkok.What to buy

Whatever you are looking for there is a good chance someone is selling it here, and you’ll be blown away by the variety of goods and products available, from antique furniture to vintage clothing to live exotic pets!

The market can roughly be broken down into 11 different types of good spread among the 27 different sections. Furniture and home decor (sections 1,3,4,7,8),  clothing & accessories (sections 2, 5, 6 and 10-26), food and drink (sections 2, 3, 4, 23, 24, 26, 27), flowers, plants, and gardening (sections 3, 4), books (sections 1, 27), antiques (sections 1, 26), art galleries (section 7), handicrafts (sections 8-11), ceramics (sections 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 25), pets, food, and accessories (sections 8, 9, 11, 13), and miscellaneous used good (sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 22, 25, 26).

The market also has several shipping stalls run by reputable companies, so you can buy large items and ship them directly from the market to your home country.

Chatuchak ShoppingLearning to barter

If you aren’t already skilled in the art of bartering then you can certainly use Chatuchak for a crash course in bargaining. While Chatuchak is no longer the place for the cheapest goods in town, it goes without saying that any first price you are given is not the lowest price they are willing to sell for. Prepare to play hard ball and don’t be afraid to counteract with a price half they opening figure. They may react as if you’ve just defecated in the middle of their store, but that’s all part of the act. If you feel like you are losing the battle be prepared to walk away before buckling to their price, in many cases you will soon find them calling you back with a better offer, and if not, there are so many stalls selling similar items you are likely to find the item again. The key to a good barter is to always remain polite and friendly, and smile as much as you can!

Word of warning

Be careful when buying antiques, don’t take the sellers word as gospel regarding age and value, if you are not an expert take caution before buying something of great value. Even if the item isn’t an antique make sure to inspect expensive products from top to bottom, many of the larger goods and items of furniture are factory rejects and may be hiding some serious damage.

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