Chatuchak market is a very popular weekend market in the Northern Bangkok. It is also known as Jatujak or J.J. by locals. Spread over about 27 sections with more than 8000 stalls, this weekend market is a best place to get some unique items at very good prices in Bangkok. These shops are selling fabrics, furniture, foods, plants, ceramics, flowers, drinks, toys, books, antiques, household items to everything, even live animal, whatever you can imagine to use in your routine life. This is the main reason of its equal popularity among the locals as well as the tourists.
How to Reach from Khao San Road?
By Ferry Plus BTS: This is what I used to reach there. This market is located near Chatuchak Park, just 100 meters away from the Skytrain Station (BTS) Mo Chit. I stayed at a guest house in Khao San Road area, so walked for 10 minutes upto Phra Arthit pier of Chao Phraya Express. From there, I took an Express Ferry to Sathorn/Central Pier (15 THB). At Sathorn/Central Pier, there is a BTS station known as Taksin/Central Pier. This green line BTS (Ticket 40 THB) directly goes to Mo Chit BTS that is the last station of the green line and very closed to the Chatuchak Market. Everyone leaving the train at Mo Chit generally walks to Chatuchak Market from Exit No.1. Exiting from the right side, you can able to see the huge crowd gathered around the market from the BTS station itself.
This may not be the best way to reach Chatuchak Market, but it always keep you away from the choking traffic of Bangkok. You never stuck in the traffic neither on the river ferry, nor on the BTS Train and it is also very cheap (55 THB total) to reach Chatuchak Market from Khao San Road. This whole trip takes about 45 minutes.
By Taxi plus MRT: From Khao San Road , catch a taxi to Hua Lamphong Station (55 THB). From there take an underground MRT to Chatuchak Park Station or Kamphaen Station. Chatuchak market is situated between Chatuchak Park and Kamphaen Station, so leaving MRT at either of the station serves the purpose. This is a more costlier, but still good option, but you can stuck in the road traffic for some time while traveling from Khao San Road to Hua Lamphong Station.
By Cab: You can take private cabs to Chatuchak Market, which is of-course an expensive way (about 100 THB) in compare to the others. At the weekend, it can take hours to reach there from Khao San Road due to the traffic.
By Public Buses: Cheapest way to reach there is by using Public Buses. Bus No. 524 and Bus No. 3 ply between Khao San Road Area and Mo Chit Bus Terminus. If there is no traffic jam, it takes only 30 minutes to reach there, but in traffic it can take hours. Bus fare is only 13 THB. In fact, on Saturday, when I was coming from Mo Chit Bus Terminus to Phra Sumen near Khao San Road by an ordinary bus No. 3, they did not ask for the fare. Fellow travelers informed that the bus journey was free that day !
Opening Hours: The weekend market is open for General Public on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. After 6:00 PM, the shopping stalls started shutting down, however complete shutdown takes place around 8:00 PM. The market also remains open on Fridays for wholesale business. Similarly, Plant sections are also open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Things to Keep in Mind While Visiting Chatuchak Market:
1. Arrive as Early as Possible: This market is really huge, spreading in 27-sections of the stalls and about 65 small lanes between those sections. If you wish to explore the entire market, then it requires a full day time. Always better to arrive as early as possible, preferably in the first half of the day, because in the evening, this market is thronged by the hell of crowd.
2. Wear Comfortable Clothes: Wear Comfortable clothes to explore this market for such a long duration. If possible, avoid sleepers and go there in comfortable shoes. Your sleepers may come out in that crowd.
3. Beware of Pickpocketing: In this market, where the crowd moves neck to neck in the peak hours, there are high chances of theft and pickpocketing. So, always be cautious about your belongings, money and electronic gadgets.
4. No need to Carry Water: This market has many stalls selling juices, soft drinks and water. There is no need to carry them from your hotel. You can always buy them in the market and without any inflation. Its better to keep your hands free from water bottle and concentrate on other things.
5. Have a Fair Idea of the Market Map and Sections: This market is really huge to explore in a single day. It requires more time and even more energy. It is always better to get a copy of the market map from the entrance gates and chose the relevant section wisely for your exploration. As per the market website, some of the relevant sections are: Section 1: Amulets, books, collectibles, food shops, cafe, Section 2 to 4: Collectibles, home décor, paintings, terra cotta Section 5 to 6 : Clothes, adornments, miscellaneous products Section 7 to 9: Antiques, furniture, ceramics, handicrafts Section 10 to 24: Clothes, consumer products, adornments, household appliances, pets Section 17 to 19: Ceramics, fresh and dry food Section 22 to 26: Antiques, furniture, handicrafts Section 27: Books, food and dessert shops, collectibles
6. If you like something, buy that immediately: If you like an item in the market, then buy that immediately. Don’t think that you will check the price at another shop and come back again to buy from the first shop at a better deal. If you pass onwards from one shop, chances are very less that you will again reach to that shop and find the same item. It is also a wastage of time. So, if you like something at any stall, bargain and buy that at first go.
7. Bargain Hard: Like any other street market, bargain hard and harder at Chahtuchak Market. Some items are available only at the fixed price, but mostly there is a good chance of huge bargain on almost every product. Normally, you should start from the 50% of the quoted price, if you don’t have a fair idea of the price.
8. Buy Some Antique Items: This market is an excellent place to buy some antique vintage items ranging from decade old jeans to jackets and vintage tees to skirts. There are many stalls in section 7 to 9 selling some of the unique vintage pieces, those are unavailable elsewhere.
10. Food:This market is home to more than 500 food stalls selling varieties of items from street foods to delicious continental as well sea foods. If you tired and hungry after a long walk around the market, you can happily throw yourself inside any food stall to enjoy the mouth-watering foods.
9. Avoid this market during the rain: During the rainy season, this market can be turned into a hell. There are not much covered space around the stalls and there are no other place to hide you during the rain. Huge Crowd in the search of a shelter during the rain makes it impossible to accommodate everyone under the sheds. It is better to avoid this market during the rain and better to enjoy shopping at many glittering shopping malls scattered all around in Bangkok.
11. Toilets: There are some toilets available in the market, generally near the entry/exit gates. They are usually chargeable and fee is 2 THB.
Exploring one of the biggest weekend market can be a wonderful experience of lifetime. So, if you are in Bangkok, try to spend a day at Chatuchak Market exploring the multiple shopping options, local cuisines, interacting with local people and enjoying the multitude of colors. This market is surely a worth visit.
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