People who are looking for somewhere to bag a few bargains and indulge in a spot of shopping at the weekend should head on over to Chatuchak weekend market. Covering around 35 acres, this is the largest outdoor market in Bangkok and features more than eight thousands stalls piled high with goods in all the colours of the rainbow. More than 200,000 people can be found shopping at Chatuchak market on the weekends and the stalls feature all manner of goods imaginable.
Fortunately, the stalls at Chatuchak market are arranged into different sections according to the types of goods they sell. These stalls are also presented on several large maps that are located around the market and coloured coded according to section. Knowing which section to head for makes exploring Chatuchak market a little easier, although there is still an overwhelming number of stalls to be found in each section.
There are eleven main categories of goods to explore at Chatuchak market. Clothing and accessories is the largest category and can be found in sections 2-6 as well as 10-26. Handicrafts are situated in sections 8-11, while antiques and collectibles are arranged in section 1 and section 26. However, many of the categories of goods are situated in several different sections of the market, and the best way to find your way around is to pick up one of the free foldable maps that are available at the market’s information kiosks.
While the centre of the market is open to the beating sun, a series of 27 alleyways branch off the heart of the market, leading shoppers into its depths. Another good way to navigate through the market is to look for the numbers at the end of the alleyways, which run in order. Remembering these numbers will help you remember where to return if you see something that you want to buy later.
Although the market is famous for its large pet section, which sells a large number of animals including exotic animals, many of these so-called pets are kept in cramped and unsuitable conditions and animal lovers would probably be better off avoiding this section altogether.
When it comes to purchasing items at Chatuchak market, the bartering system is applied by most traders and people who are able to drive a hard bargain will be able to walk away with some great deals. The secret behind bartering in Thailand is make a counter offer of around half of the original price (or as low as you dare) and keep the conversation friendly. Many traders will not give in until they have made a sale, so only start bartering if you are serious about buying.
It can get very hot at Chatuchak market, so it is best to go early in the morning and wear loose, light clothing. It is a good idea to wear a pair of comfortable walking shoes as well as sunglasses and a hat to protect yourself against the sun. Many of the traders at Chatuchak market only accept cash and ATMs can be few and far between, so make sure that you take along a good supply of cash, including smaller notes that can be changed easily.
Chatuchak Weekend Market is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 09:00 to 18:00. The easiest way to get there is by taking the Skytrain to Mo Chit station or the subway to Chatuchak Park station.