One of the thing that one must do when in Bangkok is to visit the infamous Chatuchak Weekend Market or also known as Jatujak Market or JJ Market. Located in 35 acres of land with estimately over from 9,000 to 15,000 stalls (no one knows for sure) it’s a certain guarantee that you will never go out of the market empty handed. Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the most famous market in the world and possibly one of the biggest if not as big as Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. It sells various products; fashion and cheap clothing, household goods, crafts, pets, antiques, art, food, plants and anything under the sun that you can think of.
Here are some basic information for you who wants to be adventorous and roam the thousands of stalls in Chatuchak
Location: Paholyothin Road
Open: Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 to 18:00, although it’s open for wholesale on Friday
How to get there:
1. Skytrain or BTS exit in Mo Chit station and the market is 5 minutes walk.
2. Subway or MRT exit in Kampheng Phet Station (exit 3) and you will be exiting in the coolest section of the market!
3. Taxi and it shouldnt cost more than 100 Baht from the center of the city or the Sukhumvit area. Make sure you have the address of your Hotel written down in both English and Thai.
To get yourself started, here are some tips to get you on your feet. Please feel free to add if anyone have good tips:
- Start to venture early, as early as 7 in the morning and try to get out by 2 or 3 in the afternoon so you wouldnt drain your energy. Expect extremely hot weather during mid day.
- The market is divided to sections, you can get a map from the police booth and it will help you when in doubt of direction.
- Go in smaller group, because going with larger group will only slow you down and the lane in the market is small. Use the clock tower as a meeting point and specify the rendeszvous time.
- Mane your belonging because with hundreds of thousands of people pickpocketing is not going to be rare.
- Avoid the market when it’s raining heavily. The piping system is not at its best there so when the rain pour heavily the alley starts to flood. If the rain started while you’re shopping try to get out of the Market ASAP!
- Wear light clothing and comfortable sandals. It will all be worth the sacrifice at the end of the day.
- Bring shopping bag to store your purchase because carrying tons of plastic will be a hassle if you’re busy bargaining. This is one of those occassion where your Longchamp Le Pliage will come handy.
Sections in Chatuchak are often colour coded but throughout the years most vendors doesnt follow the colour coding anymore therefore creating chaos within the system. You can start your journey by following the map or just follow your instinct. From the two visit to the market, I find it most convenience to start in the middle section where the clock tower located and trailing down the street that separated the section to catch a glimpse of various products sold there. Afterward I headed straight down to Section 23 where the clothing products are located. Most stalls from section 10 to 24 carries clothing products. Surprisingly the alleys are numbered just like normal store in the malls. Here’s the map of Chatuchak to give you a picture of how humongous the place is.
Sections and merchandise sold
1 : Buddha amulets, books, collectibles, food shops, coffee.
2 – 4 : Collectibles, home decor, art, terra cotta pots.
5 – 6 : Clothing, accessories, miscellaneous.
7 – 9 : Antiques, furniture, ceramics and handicrafts.
10 – 24: Clothes, consumer products, accessories, household appliances, pets.
17 – 19 : Ceramics, fresh and dry food
22 – 26 : Antiques, furniture, handicrafts
Dream Section : Books, magazines, food, deserts and collectibles.
You know how we women love to go from one store to the other to get the best bargain? I know that there would be few stalls that will be selling the same thing in the market. But in my opinion it is wise that after 10 or 20 stalls to do your preliminary research you start to buy whatever it is in your sight that catch your interest. Because of the numbers of stalls it is very unlikely to get back to the store you want. Like most Asian market, dont forget to bargain, eventhough some products are stated as net price but best to try your luck starting with half the price. They usually offerdiscounted price when you purchase wholesale or in other word 3 or 4 products and it can be mixed products from the same stalls. You can get nice T-shirt starting from 100 THB but for more young designer type of product it can be quite steep and reach to over 5000THB. Shoes sizes are usually smaller so it is recommended to try before you try. Lace and brocade stuff are usually sold at 1500 or 2000 THB. For those who love accessories, this is your haven. I get various accessories for quite a bargain at 100 to 300 THB. Of course if you’re aiming for semi precious stone or even rose gold they will be more expensive. You can even get beautiful ivory bangle here, if you dare to face the consequences of knowing that an elephant died for it.
My favourite section would be those near the MRT station, they have the most crowded stalls for clothing selected for the young (I hope I’m still included in that category!). Exquisitely beautiful handmade bag fand shoes from leather which is quite pricey at 15,000 to 20,000 THB. Most importantly the mouth drooling jewelry made from rose gold and precious stone are located near this area.
All in all, I was quite happy with my trip to Chatuchak. It’s impossible to finish the market in one day so it’s best to start on Saturday and if you need to go back you have Sunday to redo the experience. Most of the time I was still in daze when shopping in Chatuchak because there’s so many products sold there that not until I leave the market and sitting comfortably in the hotel bed that my brain begun to register of how cheap and good most of the products are. That is when regret starts to surface. So make sure that you seek and conquer in instance!
So have you been to Chatuchak? Or are you planning your trip there? I want to know hear your experience too. Drop a comment or share discuss it on our Bangkok Thread.
*Chatuchak Map courtesy of www.guidetothailand.com