Markets are often one of the most fascinating places to visit wherever you are in the world, and Thailand is no exception. Bangkok certainly offers an abundance of choice for bargain hunters and fresh-food lovers. Indeed, everyone knows about the famous Chatujak weekend market (also known as ‘JJ market’), but as local information is our specialty, we thought we’d give our recommendations for the best lesser-known markets in the City of Angels, and utilize the knowledge of our Travel Specialist, Khun ‘A’, well-known as a shopaholic in the office!
Klong Toey Market is one of the biggest fresh markets in Bangkok, and is open 24-hours a day. The marketplace offers an abundance of products from clothing to fresh meat…and when we say fresh, we mean it! Weird and wonderful produce like ant larvae (seasonal) can be found here, along with an abundance of crickets, exotic fruit and vegetables. The buzzing bazaar is located ten minutes’ walk from Klong Toey MRT station and not only can you shop here, you can also dine on freshly made meals which are also available around the market.
Tucked away on Silom Soi 20 (soi meaning ‘road’) is a market that sells high quality fresh meats, vegetables and fruits. The market also has plenty of street stalls selling snacks and the Indian food is particularly good. The cluster of Indian-style offerings is no coincidence – the market is actually located opposite the famous and iconic Wat Khaek, also known as Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Bangkok, a Hindu temple built in the 19th century by Tamil immigrants.
Tha Prachan can be found close to the Chao Phraya River, close to the popular ‘backpacker’ area of Khaosan Road and the Grand Palace. More of a souvenir style market, the stalls here stock an abundance of trinkets and amulets, as well as clothes and fashion accessories in what’s known as the ‘old’ part of the city.
Heavily attended by students of the local Thammasart University, you can avoid the crowds by getting arriving in the morning – it’s also cooler then too! As well as amulets and talismans there are also fortune tellers all with different styles of predicting your life’s path. Whether you choose to believe them or not, it can be fun to hear! If you’re craving a snack, try the amazing roti in one of the riverside restaurants – delicious!
Talat Rot Fai (which translates as ‘train market’) is going through a major bubble of popularity at the moment, and is a hip hangout for Thais and foreigners alike and the bazaar is buzzing from (Friday to Sunday night) with bars and restaurants aplenty. The market specializes in vintage products and you can find old-school cameras, 1950’s decorations, retro fashion accessories and old-style clothes. Lots of the stuff on sale is 2nd hand, and there are also plenty of collectors’ items to rummage through, such as Japanese Manga toys.
Talat Rot Fai is easily reached from Kamphaeng Phet MRT station, and is also close to Chatujack Market, so if you head to Chatujack during the day anyway, be sure to pop by Talat Rot Fai after.
One of the other major wet markets of Bangkok is Or Tor Kor, which is also located next to Kamphaeng Phet MRT station. Run by the Marketing Organization for Farmers, Or Tor Kor supplies very high quality products which can cost a little more but are well worth the extra few Baht. A more ‘upmarket’ market, Or Tor Kor is clean, well lit, well organized and sell some exceptional produce – it’s where the ‘who’s-who’ of Bangkok come to grab their groceries. There are also many stalls that sell delicious Thai deserts such as kanom krok (coconut milk puddings) and khao taen (puffed rice cakes).
So there you have it! Next time you’re in Bangkok and get a craving for some shopping or want to sample some great local food, steer clear of the mundane malls and visit one of these vibrant marketplaces! If you’d like any more advice on Bangkok or any other city in Thailand, don’t be afraid to ask us!