Chatuchak Market is undoubtedly one of the main places where every traveler and tourist can shop when visiting Bangkok. With more than 15,000 stores spread over 35 hectares, it is considered the largest street market in Thailand and surely one of the largest open-air markets in the world. Between 200,000 and 400,000 people visit it every weekend. The market is also known as “Talat Jatujak” or “JJ” for short. Even though you will meet many foreign tourists there, the market is still unique.
It is almost a must when you are in Bangkok, whether you intend to buy or not, as the atmosphere, life and hustle and bustle here are hard to find in other markets in Bangkok.
The largest market in Thailand
At Chatuchak market, you can find everything. Divided into areas or sections, you’ll find dozens of stalls selling the same kind of goods in each of them. You can buy fake clothes and watches, handicrafts from all over Thailand and decorative furniture.
There are many surprising prints inside this market but we recommend with particular interest to visit the vintage area of the market where you can spend hours admiring pieces from the past and buy authentic and very original clothes.
Near the entrance of the market, which faces the Mochit metro station, you will find the area where painters, craftsmen and artists have their stands, it is an ideal place to find the most original pieces.
A good place to refresh yourself after visiting the market is Chatuchak Market Park, if you visit it in January, you can enjoy the area full of colorful flowers, buy food from a stall and a refreshing juice.
Orientation in the market
Arriving here for the first time, you will notice that getting around in all of Chatuchak may seem impossible, but don’t worry. A system has been set up to help you get around the market. A main street surrounds the entire market and is divided into a series of numbered alleys called Soi 1, Soi 2, Soi 3, etc. The alleys are divided into 27 sections, with more than one category of goods in each section, and similar categories reappear in other sections as well.
- Clothing (sections 2-6, 10-26)
- Crafts (8-11)
- Ceramics (11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 25)
- Furniture and interior decoration (1,3,4,7,8)
- Food and beverages (2, 3, 4, 23, 24, 26, 27)
- Plants and gardening tools (3, 4)
- Art and gallery (7)
- Animals and animal accessories (8, 9, 11, 13)
- Books (1, 27)
- Antiques and collectibles (1, 26)
- Miscellaneous and second-hand clothing (items 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 22, 25, 26)
Another way to find your way around Chatuchak is to find reference points like BTS and MRT stations, or banks and numbered entrance gates, then look at the map to find the correct orientation.
Haggle over prices
A rule for all shoppers is to look and haggle. This is part of the fun. Chatuchak offers interesting products from all over Thailand as well as from other countries.
It is basically a Saturday to Sunday market. It opens at 6am and closes at 6pm. It is recommended to leave early or to leave late to avoid the central hours, because the influx of people is greater and the heat too. It is advisable to haggle, of course in a polite way. Usually we are told a high price, which we can lower by 50-60%, depending on the products and the number of pieces purchased. If you hear that the price is too high and haggling does not work, say thank you and leave, which will make the seller chase you to accept the offer.
How to get to Chatuchak
You can get to Chatuchak market very easily by subway (Chatuchak Park station) and you can also take the Skytrain (Mo Chit station). You can also get there by cab or tuk tuk, although this is not an option due to the heavy traffic that usually prevails in this area of the city.
BTS Skytrain: get off at the last Mo Chit station, follow exit 1, follow the people, you should pass through a small park where the market entrance is right away.
MRT: The easiest way is to get off at Kampaengphet station and take exit 1, which is directly in front of the market.
Buses: 3, 26, 27, 29, 34, 59, 77, 96, 112, 134, 136, 138, 145, 502, 503, 510, 512 i 513