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From cute puppies to fighting fish, hand-made furniture to contemporary art, vintage clothes to scintillating food; the markets in Bangkok sell everything you could ever imagine and more.
Although Bangkok is littered with markets there is one in particular which cannot be missed due to its sheer size and all-encompassing nature. Chatuchak weekend market is simply one of a kind, consisting of over 9000 stalls tightly compacted into narrow, sweltering alleys. Fortunately this gigantic market is easily accessible from the MRT as one of the exits from Kamphaeng Phet station literally pops up in the midst of the market. From this exit you will encounter a range of independent clothes stalls often selling their own designs and after a bit more foraging you will find the vintage clothes section where countless classic garments can be bought. I usually dedicate a whole day to this sprawling market and sometimes even that isn’t enough time because I inevitably end up finding new areas that specialise in selling anything from books, pets and cooking utensils. All Bangkok hotels will know the market and will happily direct you to it.
I always like to squeeze in some food shopping when visiting Chatuchak and just nearby is the famous food market, Or Tor Kor. The prices here are slightly higher than other similar markets in Bangkok but your mouth won’t mind the extra expense. Fresh shell fish, Thai fruits, dried meats and so much more are sold by the friendly market vendors and often plants and orchids can be found for sale too.
However, for the best selection of flowers in Bangkok a trip to the flower market, Pak Klong Talaad, is essential. This bustling market is located reasonably close to the many famous Bangkok riverside hotels in Silom and if you’re staying in that area I fully recommend using the Chao Phraya river boats to travel to the market in style. During my first visit to Pak Klong Talaad I definitely experienced some form of sensory overload as the millions of vibrant, strong smelling flowers totally blew me away. After a swift recovery I gathered my senses and took advantage of the incredibly cheap roses and orchids on offer. Generally the market really kicks into action by midnight but it never truly sleeps and produce is sold 24 hours a day.
Aside from the outdoor markets, Bangkok also specialises in the indoor market which essentially functions as a shopping mall with bartering. Two particularly well known indoor markets are MBK and Platinum which are both located in the Siam area. MBK sells DVDs, mobile phones and plenty of clothes and is a great place to shop for tourists because English is widely spoken. Platinum, on the other hand, is a girl’s paradise when it comes to shopping as floor upon floor of shoes, bags, dresses and glum looking boyfriends fill the vast space this indoor market occupies. Items are often sold at wholesale price in here and when this is the case bartering is not usually an option but this doesn’t apply to everything. If you happen to be staying in one of the many Sukhumvit hotels, both these markets will be easy to get to on the BTS Sky Train which travels straight from Sukhumvit Road to Siam.