As soon as you step off the train your surrounded by people and most if not all are heading to the market, so you can just follow the crowd. There are even stalls set up on the pavements outside the market, but once you’re deep in the bowels of the main Chatuchak market itself, it will seem like there is no order and no escape. The market is mahoosive, but it is arranged into relatively coherent sections. Smack in the middle is the clock tower which was a handy landmark and helps you keep your bearings. While searching the seemingly endless corridors of small shops and stalls bartering is a must. That being said, everything is already cheap. Depending on the initial amount in question i usually start an offer 50%-75% cheaper. If its a high price to start with you can usually haggle it down a fair bit, but If your only buying one magnet or a single postcard, your not getting any discount, buy a few in bulk, you can haggle.
You won’t go hungry either, be sure to check out the food stalls throughout the entire market, there’s endless amounts of fresh fruit, fresh squeezed orange and some odd flavors like Guava, logan, asbestos juice and hale blue boy, the later I wasn’t impressed with. There are some weird and wonderful foods to be eaten like Octopus, Lobster burgers, grilled honey roast pork (Moo Yang, amazing don’t miss this, find it in area 22, soi 4), garlic bread (from Hello Garlic), grass jelly, coconut ice cream, ice sticks, choconana (chocolate covered banana), red ruby (crunchy water chestnuts in glutinous rice flour) and of course plenty of pad thai.
The Market has over 15,000 stalls which are spread across 35 acres and 26 sections and has 200,000 people flocking to the shops each weekend. Many of the stalls disregard the hours and stay open much later.
- Wednesday and Thursday (Flower Market) 7am-6pm
- Friday (Wholesale) 6pm-12am
- Saturday and Sunday (Full Market) 9am-6pm
There are many different ways to get to Chatuchak Weekend Market. We took the skytrain to Mo Chit and its literally just across the road, follow the signs or the crowd.
There is a system to help you navigate Inside, one main walkway encircles the entire market, and it branches off into a series of numbered alleyways called Soi 1, Soi 2, Soi 3, and so on. I was using google maps on my phone until I found someone handing out detailed maps which helped a whole lot more.
- Find someone handing out maps to help getting around.
- The clock tower is a handy landmark and helps you keep your bearings.
- Take small denominations of notes (100 Baht notes instead of large) you will be bartering during your time here, so to get the best deal opt for smaller notes so it’s easier.
- Be sure to check out Grilled honey roast pork (Moo Yang, it’s amazing find it in area 22, soi 4).