Chatuchak/Jatujak weekend market, Bangkok, Thailand
My name is Tink and I am a shopper.
Is it my only vice?
Probably not, but it is the one hardest hit by travelling.
With nowhere to put anything I simply can’t buy all the dresses I would like. Which is a good thing really as I don’t wear all the ones I have and having packed up our home into a trillion, ok maybe forty large boxes, we clearly have more stuff than we need anyway. It’s been a good experience for me not being able to buy things, weighing up need against want. And that said being a shopper and having lived on a market street for the last twenty years, with the great shopping excuse of Christmas fast approaching, pretty close to the top of our Bangkok visit list was Chatuchak Market. It is the largest market in Thailand, maybe even the world, ok I made that last part up but it is HUGE and sells practically anything you can think of, yes even that, or those, or whatever you are thinking of.
It’s pretty easy to navigate having been laid out on clear lines and in easily identifiable sections (markets across the world take note):
- Antique collection, accessories, Thai instruments and books
- Teen clothing and accessories
- Second hand clothing and shoes
- Art and paintings
- Carving, incense and spas
- Handicrafts and artificial flowers
- Clothing, accessories and shoes
- Postcards, souvenirs and pets, yes really
- Tableware, ceramic, silver and home decorations
- Dried food
- Clothing, hiking equipment and leather
- Ceramics and silk
- Antiques, silk, photo frames
- Handicrafts, books and miscellaneous
On the outskirts of every block you’ll find stalls selling fresh fruit, drinks, coconut ice cream and all sorts of Thai street food delicacies. We spotted a few foot massage places too which would provide a great break from shopping and no doubt leave you refreshed for more.
After a few hours weaving our way through the narrow lanes between the stalls, passing great folds of paper so wonderful I thought at first they were fabric, swathes of flowers and more denim than at a cowboy convention, we walked away with small gifts for everyone coming to Christmas in Bali. A star wars T Shirt for J, his excitement for the new movie is palpable; a pair of cool light wonderfully colourful trousers for me, standard temple exploring wear; twelve new iron on patches for our cases, all for the price of one back in the UK, having had a number stolen in transit we needed to stock up on sugar skulls, country flags, pirates and anchors; as we both have prescription sunglasses which would cost a lot to replace if damaged, a cheap pair of dive boat sunglasses each for the princely sum of a pound; Ganesh, Buddha and koi small paintings, two pounds each and thin, unframed and well able to lay flat in our bags until our next encounter with Ma when we send her back with them.
And for the joy of everyone, it is non smoking, although the odd ignorant tourist was lighting up, the majority of people weren’t, which in the heat is an absolute blessing. We didn’t even cover a fraction of all that was on offer, and plan another expedition next weekend, now we have the lay of the land we’ve planned a route including foot massage and snack breaks, shopping is after all a serious business.
nb. Despite google maps telling us it would take over an hour and four changes to get to the famous weekend market we were there in about twenty minutes with no changes. A reminder to always double check travel advice against that given in blogs. The market is about 100m or so from the Mo Chit BTS station and you cannot miss it as all weekend long streams of tourists are walking to and from like lines of happy ants.