Chatuchak market: A huge & crowded labyrinth
Among the markets in Bangkokeasyguide.com, Chatuchak market gets my highest recommendation. It’s a place for you to experience at least once in a lifetime. With over 10,000 shops and 200,000 visitors per weekend, Chatuchak market is believed to be the world’s biggest flea market having the size and nature far beyond I could explain here.
Chatuchak market was established in 1948 based on the government policy to hold a weekend market in every province nationwide but was officially named 39 years later in 1987. It was also relocated from Sanaam Luang (the huge piece of land across from the Grand Palace) to Chatuchak district in 1978, the year of Bangkok bicentennial celebration. Among Thais, Chatuchak market is also known as JJ (Jatujak) market.
The market is divided into 26 sections such as antiques, Buddha amulets, furniture, handicrafts, arts, books, clothes, pets, ceramics, fresh and dry foods, etc. With such a vast section, you can find surprising items like dogs, cats, birds, fish, iguana, guinea pigs, orchids, plants, used sneakers (sports shoes,) plastic shoes, etc. And there are things where you can’t anywhere in Bangkok like rare DVDs, CDs, and even LPs. It’s likely you’ll end up spending more or less in Chatuchak market.
Due to its size and setting, Chatuchak market can be difficult to track your directions. Therefore, either you shop at first sight or if not, locate a good landmark to track your way back. Also, if you come with a friend, make sure to arrange a meeting point in case of lost.
The market is a lively, busy, hot, humid, dehydrated (though water is for sale everywhere,) and populated. Chatuchak market is like a labyrinth (though there are map signs here and there) where any shoppers will experience the true meaning of “Shop till you drop.” You are forewarned.
Hours: 9:00-18:00, Saturday-Sunday
Chatuchak market opens only on weekends. If you’re a choosy traveler with ample time, make a visit to the market on Saturday. By doing this, you can come again on Sunday in case you want to shop more or else you’ll have to wait till next weekend. This is a market best to shop for fine handicrafts, home decor items, and souvenirs. Further, you don’t have to hand carry bulky items back home because there’s an international courier service company right at the market..
Some shoppers feel Chatuchak market is big and should more days. Saturdays and Sundays are just too short. Some find the market to be overwhelmingly hot, busy, and crowded. It’s not a place for everybody but definitely a must-see for everyone. Finding your way in the market is difficult since it is divided in blocks versus curves. That said, children should be carefully accompanied by parents here. If you’re here with somebody, always arrange a meeting point for an appointment or in case of lost. (And the best is Kamphaeng Phet subway station, Exit 2.)
Chatuchak market is ideal for
Budget shoppers 5/5
Handicraft shoppers 5/5
Pet shoppers 5/5
Plant and flower shoppers 4/5
Getting to Chatuchak market
- Mo Chit BTS skytrain station (N8): Exit 1,3
- Kamphaeng Phet MRT subway station: Exit 2