Markets are where most of the people of Bangkok get their shopping done. The hustle and bustle of these sprawling commerce centres might be a more intense experience than a peruse through a supermarket, but markets are so much more than a place to buy and sell things; wander through one and you’ll get a real sense of how life is lived in the Thai capital. There are hundreds of different specialist markets to choose from, but we’ve rounded up some of the best for you to have a stroll through. So, get your haggling pants on and prepare for your market tour of Bangkok!
Hip hop heads can get their fix at this Soi Sukhumvit 11 nightclub seven days a week. Home to a state-of-the-art sound system and enough strobes to light the night sky, the club is open from 10pm until the wee hours. Resident DJs spin a mixture of classic tunes and newer songs, and there have been surprise performances by both local and more famous artists. Entry is THB 200 for women and THB 300 for men, although this includes a free drink. During the week there are a whole host of specials, too, including five drinks for THB 500. Despite being spacious it can get quite sweaty in there, but the great music and fun vibe means the time will fly by.
Also known as Talad Rot Fai Train Night Market because the original location was next to train tracks, this Bangkok night market is slightly out of the city centre but well worth the trek out. There is an excellent combination of general household items, vintage goods, and dining options in this expansive space: on sale is everything from old Cadillacs to Mao memorabilia, making it quite the eclectic mix. Vendors are also much less pushy than in other markets, which is a nice change. Possibly the best night market in Bangkok, you will likely have to get a taxi there, although you can get the Sky Train to On Nut station before to avoid traffic coming out of the city.
Definitely the largest market in Thailand, and possibly the largest in South East Asia, Chatuchak Weekend market is home to over fifteen thousand vendors. This is the ideal place to spend an hour or four wandering about because there’s just so much to see. Home to thousands of stalls selling everything from plants to electronics and pets, this is also the most popular weekend market in Bangkok, with over 200,000 visitors coming in from Friday to Sunday.
Budding tailors will be happy with the cloth on selection; this spot is one of the largest Bangkok lace markets around. You will have to barter here, and there will be some things on sale that you might not agree with (especially certain live animals with questionable legal status) but it will be a memorable experience nonetheless. Suitable for families and younger folks just looking for fun, Chatuchak runs past midnight, making it one of the best night markets in Bangkok.
Not as well-known as the Damnoen Saduak floating market, Amphawa is a less crowded, more authentic experience. About fifty kilometres from the centre of the city, visiting is definitely going to take up a chunk of your day, but it’s worth it.
This Bangkok floating market is best known for seafood, which is bought by weight and grilled in front of you, although if you’re willing to stay until the evening, you’ll get a glimpse of fireflies buzzing around the Cork Trees at night, which is a truly spectacular sight. One of the most unique weekend markets in Bangkok and possibly the most popular of the Bangkok night markets, it’s definitely something to tick off the list of things to experience.
Much closer to the city centre than many other of the larger floating markets that surround Bangkok, Khlong Lar Mayom is mostly frequented by locals, so you know you’re getting a genuine market experience. Like most stops on any Bangkok floating market tour, the main draw is food, although here the focus isn’t just seafood but the famous “boat noodles” and the wide array of exotic fruits on offer.
They also sell clothes and electrical goods. From here you can also head to Taling Chan floating market, which is just a short boat ride away and showcases more of the local market experience.
Bang Nam Pheung
If you don’t want to travel too far out of Bangkok for the floating markets, Bang Nam Pheung is your best bet. One of the most popular weekend markets in Bangkok, it’s much more central than the rest and can get quite busy, but the food on offer makes it worth braving the crowds.
Get there early or late as that’s when prices tend to be lowest; many vendors see the first sale of the day as lucky so are willing to go down in price, and at the end of the day are just looking to get rid of goods. This truly is a necessary stop on any Bangkok Floating Market tour due to its easy location and the goods on offer.
Part of the Wat Bampen nua and Wat Bampen Tai complex, this Bangkok floating market is accessible from either temple. Named after two characters in the famous Thai Novel Plae Kao, this is one of the newer markets in the city. The market is open all day, and if you’re willing to wake up early enough you can see locals giving offerings of food to the monks in the morning, usually around half seven.
You can spend the rest of the day eating away to your heart’s content, or if you fancy a laugh and a unique snap, you can get a picture with the water buffalo who hangs around the market.
Pak Khlong Talat
Open 24 hours a day, this is one of the largest flower markets in Bangkok, if not the largest. The market sells to locals and wholesalers, and despite its infamy and large size, isn’t frequented by tourists too much. The market is busiest either side of midnight as deliveries come in from all over the country, and if you’re willing to stay out that late then watching the tonnes of gorgeous flora being passed around is a mesmerising experience. Located right next to the Grand Palace, it’s convenient to get to as well.
Located in the heart of Little India, this sprawling set of stalls is the best place to find quality fabric at reasonable prices. Whereas in other markets cloth and materials are an afterthought, here they’re the main attraction, making it one of the best Bangkok lace markets. There is, of course, plenty of food on offer too, with Thai/Indian fusion offering a mouth-watering break from bartering. If you’re a seamer/seamstress looking to get everything they need, this is the place.
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