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Bangkok's Chatuchak Weekend Market - A Bargain Shopper's Paradise

Updated on August 16, 2012
Chatuchak Weekend Market - You can find these maps near the entrances
Chatuchak Weekend Market - You can find these maps near the entrances | Source

Chatuchak Weekend Market - Just Possibly the Largest Open Air Market in the World

Besides the seedy nightlife scene, there is one thing that the city of Bangkok is world famous for. It is the shopping. Loads of it. Specifically shopping for bargains.

Chatuchak Weekend Market or JJ (Pronounced Jatujak by Thais) Weekend Market as some may call it sells almost everything under the sun that fits in a house. Deemed by Bangkok itself as one of the biggest open air markets in the world. I don't know if it is or not. Though Chatuchack is definitely the biggest market that I have seen in all my years of traveling in Asia.

You name it, you can probably find it there. Except for illegal items of course though you will find faked merchandise and small exotic animals. Think someone's put a bad spell on you? Buy a Thai amulet to ward off the bad spirits at Chatuchak. Clothes, pets, plants, furniture (antiques and new) and paintings line every square inch of this massive 27 acre open air shopping compound.

Thankfully due to better planning recently Chatuchak has been organized into 27 sections. But you can still expect to get lost because there are so many stalls and shops it's like a maze. Add the hordes of local Thai and foreigners shopping together and you get a wicked brew of chaos.

Chatuchak Weekend Market is open Saturday and Sunday from 6am to 6pm. Though most shops of interest for tourist open around 10am. Try to catch a shop that just opened for the best deal.

The weather can get very hot while exploring and shopping in the market, especially during the low season which is from March to early October. During those months it's probably best to visit in the morning or late afternoon hours. Plenty of shops are available with ice cold drinks at really affordable prices. And certain shops have air conditioning just to slyly keep you inside a while longer.

Hotels to Stay Near Chatuchak

There are a lot of awesome places to stay right around the area of the market. Some highly recommended hotel are just a few short stops from the Sky Train station too.

And many hotels close to Chatuchak are in the budget to really affordable range. For example Abloom Serviced Apartment is a 4 star hotel that is just 3 stops to the market. For around $50USD to $60USD you can have a big modern room with friendly staff in a good location.

Or for a funky hotel that provides a free tuk tuk ride to Chatuchak or the nearest BTS Station check out Mystic Place Hotel.

It's highly recommend to pick a hotel near Chatuchak because it's not too crowded and there are many places to eat and shop.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Mo Chit BTS Sky Train stationMo Chit MRT train stationSigns leading to Chatuchak are everywhere
Mo Chit BTS Sky Train station
Mo Chit BTS Sky Train station | Source
Mo Chit MRT train station
Mo Chit MRT train station | Source
Signs leading to Chatuchak are everywhere
Signs leading to Chatuchak are everywhere | Source

How to get to Chatuchak Weekend Market

Forget the taxi or tuk tuk. The vehicle traffic surrounding Chatuchak is the worst especially during the weekends. Take the MRT train or BTS Sky Train instead:

  • If using the MRT train, get off on Chatuchak Park (Mo Chit) station and use exits 1 or 2.
  • If using the BTS Sky Train, get off on Mo Chit station and use exits 1 or 3.

There are plenty of signs leading to Chatuchak so don't worry about getting lost. One landmark to look out for is Chatuchak Park, it's quite big too so you can't miss it.

One place you might want to consider visiting first

There is a Tourist Information Center on Phahon Yothin road. Once you exit the MRT or BTS station just walk about 5 or 10 minutes south and you'll find a small building. Inside you will find plenty of maps and information about Bangkok and especially Chatuchak Weekend Market.

The tourist information center also doubles as a tourist police station. Inside are very helpful English speaking assistants are on hand to answer questions or handle problems if you feel you've been wronged.

Tourist Information Station - The entrance is on Phahon Yothin Road and very easy to find
Tourist Information Station - The entrance is on Phahon Yothin Road and very easy to find | Source
Overview of Chatuchak
Overview of Chatuchak

'Discount Please'

To ask for a discount say "Lot Noy Dai Mai". If you're male add "Kup" at the end and if you're female add "Ka". The Thai language is what I refer to as a polite language and adding those words to end of sentences shows it.

Every non-food item in Chatuchak has a negotiable price. To prepare yourself for some serious bargaining, replace that poker face with a big cheerful smile. Don't raise your voice and keep your tone low so other's can't hear the haggling. Shopkeeper's will appreciate that discounts are not announced for everyone to know.

If you find that a shop keeper won't budge on a price, just smile, say Korp Khun Krup (Thank You) and walk away. There's a good chance the shop keeper will call you back, unless the price you are asking for makes them lose money of course.

Basic Negotiating Tips:

  • For Thai handicrafts ask for half of the asking price. From there work on whatever price you are comfortable with
  • For getting the best bargains on clothes it's best to buy more than one piece or item
  • The absolute best bargains are given to the first and last customers of the day. Shopkeepers will rub the money all over the wares in hopes of increasing luck and more sales

Shopkeepers are used to dealing with foreigners in English. So haggling with them shouldn't be a problem at all especially when it comes to numbers. Though if you really want to come prepared and haggle proficiently, check out my review of learning Thai language books for beginners.

But please be respectful and sympathetic. I've noticed sometimes tourists are overambitious when they bargain. It's not worth haggling over 30 baht which they know for foreigners is not a whole lot of money. You should pay whatever price you are comfortable with, without taking advantage of the shops who deserve to earn a decent living.


Hand weaved baskets make great home gift ideas
Hand weaved baskets make great home gift ideas | Source
So many t-shirt designs and choices
So many t-shirt designs and choices | Source

Chatuchak Park

There's also a beautiful park right next to Chatuchak Weekend Market. You can easily see it and walk right through it since there is a path leading to the market. It's a great place to find a tree for shade and enjoy a picnic.

There's also a playground too for the young ones to have some fun and run around.

Chatuchak Park as seen from the BTS station platform
Chatuchak Park as seen from the BTS station platform | Source
Chatuchak Park
Chatuchak Park | Source

Got lost?

The Clock Tower is an excellent landmark. If you're traveling in groups and want to split up the Clock Tower is a great landmark as a meeting point. It's located on the southern half of Chatuchak Park

The Clock Tower
The Clock Tower | Source
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Yummy barbecued chickenTraditional pulled teaA beautiful tattooed lady butchering stewed pork - I wonder if she's single.
Yummy barbecued chicken
Yummy barbecued chicken | Source
Traditional pulled tea
Traditional pulled tea | Source
A beautiful tattooed lady butchering stewed pork - I wonder if she's single.
A beautiful tattooed lady butchering stewed pork - I wonder if she's single. | Source

Eating in Chatuchak

Wandering around the stalls and shops of Chatuchak can really take a serious toll. On your appetite that is. Luckily there are plenty of great hawker stalls to revitalize and re-energize.

There's no shortage of food in Chatuchak if you're famished nor shortage of drinks if you're thirsty.

You can find many traditional Thai fare such as Khao Man Gai (chicken and rice) Larb (salad with glass noodle) and a few non traditional fare such as Kebabs. Food variety is enormous so make sure to bring your appetite as most foods sold at the market are very affordable.

Sofitel Centara Grand
Sofitel Centara Grand

Recommended hotel near Chatuchak Weekend Market

I know there are many people who are just interested in shopping at Chatuchak or are just short on time in Bangkok and out for bargain shopping.

So if you want to be close to Chatuchak in a very nice hotel I recommend staying at Sofitel Centara Grand. The Sofitel is only one train stop away from the weekend market on the MRT subway.

Besides being near the weekend market the Sofitel is attached to Central Ladprao Department store, a popular chain of malls throughout Bangkok. It's a very good place to stay and affordable too. You can also find a greater list of hotels near Chatuchak with discounts at hotel reservation website called Agoda.

Comments

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    • Edwin Clark profile imageAUTHOR

      Edwin Clark 

      7 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      You are welcome anytime alternate poet!

    • alternate poet profile image

      alternate poet 

      7 years ago

      When we get across your way (from here in China) I will make use of the well written and presnted stuff in your hubs!

    • Edwin Clark profile imageAUTHOR

      Edwin Clark 

      7 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Well Sawasdee Krup Khun Om!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      7 years ago

      Oh man, I used to go there all the time back when I lived in Bangkok. It's a little paradise for low-budget shoppers indeed! Rated this useful. :)

    • Edwin Clark profile imageAUTHOR

      Edwin Clark 

      7 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      dosburros, it is indeed a great place to shop and of course eat!

    • dosburros profile image

      dosburros 

      7 years ago

      I LOVE it there! Fab market - especially when you are eating your lunch in a cafe next to a pet store!

      Great Thailand info.

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