Hi again, everyone! Here’s another post regarding one of the “must visit” places in Bangkok, which I was told, is Chatuchak Market. However, it might not be as “must visit” as everyone makes it out to be. I’ll list the details of my visits and let you decide for yourself. If you don’t know, Chatuchak Market is a HUGE market with an outdoor section and an indoor section. Area wise it’s maybe about 3 soccer fields? I’m just guessing though. Here’s a map:
So how do we get there? I started off on the Sukhumvit BTS Line (the light green line on the train maps). If you are as well then the station you need to alight at is named, Mo Chit. If you’re on the MRT, the station to alight at is Chatuchak Park or Kamphaeng Phet. As you can see on the map, Chatuchak Market is between those two MRT stations (that should be a better indication of its size as opposed to my guesstimate, lol). Once you get off the train at Mo Chit, you’ll need to exit the station using Exit 1. Here’s a couple of pics to help you find your way:
You’re going for the overhead bridge in the photo below:
Follow the directions on the Chatuchak signage (first pic of this post) and when you start to see the merchant stalls/booths, you’re getting close and you’ll soon see the map in the premise map (near the top of this post) which is at the entrance to Chatuchak Market (well one of the entrance/exits).
Don’t worry, only the outer perimeter stalls/shops are out in the open, if you go further into the market you’ll find the sheltered/enclosed area and that it comprises most of the Chatuchak premises. Although the area to walk is pretty wide there is enough people to make using an umbrella as a sunshade rather inconvenient (especially when going up to the stalls to look at merchandise), we found that a better alternative was to use a hat. We didn’t have any so we bought a couple of bucket hats and an Under Armor baseball cap for about $200 Baht.
There’s quite a bit to see if you’re into window shopping however not all the shops are open all the time. Most of the items I’ve seen at Chatuchak were cheaper than in the malls EXCEPT the drinks. So we opted for the popsicles instead for $5 Baht. Oh, if you hear someone touting “Ice Cream” it’s actually the popsicle pictured below. Bottled drinks costs $25 Baht or higher but at a 7-11 it costs $20 Baht for the same drink. A smoothie in a small cup will cost $40-50 Baht depending on the fruit, Bubble tea also costs around $40 – $65 Baht depending on the flavour and where you get it BUT if u look hard enough there’s one bubble tea cart that sells bubble tea slushies for $20 Baht. Of the three times I’ve went, I’ve only found the cart once.
Chatuchak signage indicates that it stays open until 12am however (depending on the day) the shops close at different times. Almost all of the shops in the middle / sheltered areas are closed on week days and on weekends start closing at around 7 pm but I did see some shops opening up around that time and closing around 9 -10 pm. The outer perimeter shops are the ones consistently open day in / day out afternoon and night. If you’re interested in Chatuchak Market, I’d advise going only on a Saturday. People I’ve talked to say Sunday is a good day to go as well but I haven’t been on a Sunday so can’t say for sure but it can’t be any worse than on a week day, I think.
If you’re tired of the crowds or just want a change of scene, head out the exit at section 7. There you’ll find a mall named the ‘mixt’ mall. It’s just more of the usual type of mall and even has a shop selling anime figurines. There’s a small alley in between Chatuchak and Mixt mall where vendors sell their wares out of their vehicles. Mostly t-shirts and bags with a few old cd “stalls.”
If you’re still in the mood for shopping and or vintage stuff is more your groove then check out Bangsue Junction (its mostly home decor and furnishing) and the vintage flea market at its’ base. From Chatuchak, you can either head to exit 32 and take the overhead bridge to Bang Sue junction or the exit closest to Kampheang Phet MRT ( you will be going into exit 1 and coming out at exit 2).
After checking out the flea market, we headed towards and past the ‘Chatuchak playground flea market’ sign and eventually ended up at “The Camp.”The Camp” is fairly small and there aren’t that many stalls but it specializes in vintage stuff so if you like that, head there for a looksee The camp is a night market so its perfect for when a lot of the Chatuchak shops tarts to close (around 7pm)but you wanna shop more. Food and drink prices are decent and there’s lots of places to sit down and chill after a long day of walking.
Over all I found Chatuchak a bit underwhelming especially on weekdays and ‘ok’ on Saturdays. I much preferred alley with the street vendors and the vintage/flea markets, it felt more “real life” to me which we only found on our 3rd visit. Anyways, there’s probably more to check out but we didn’t get around to it, maybe next time. Oh, so because we found The Camp and Bangsue we stayed later than we normal would. Walking around at night wasn’t sketchy at all, in our opinions. One thing to note is the last BTS train timing. We thought it was 11:50 pm but we ran and ended up catching a 12 am train. Not a big deal to catch the train if you don’t mind the bargaining process / potential ordeal of catching a taxi / tuk tuk. I was planning on using Grab taxi if we didn’t catch the train anyways.
What I mean by ordeal when it comes to taxi’s and tuk tuk’s is the vast price ranges, potential to get taken to a tourist shopping trap (by the tuk tuk driver even when you tell him ‘no’) and or dropped at the wrong location (close but not really). I’ve taken a taxi from one place to another with my Thai friend (he did the talking) and we got quoted $200 Baht but he bargained down to $100 Baht for the ride. The next time I went by myself, same exact journey I was quoted $400 Baht, I went to a different cab and got a $250 Baht quote. I tried to get it down to $200 Baht but no takers so being the spiteful person that I am, I booked a Grab taxi and paid $280 Baht. Anyways, your experience will differ from mine but if you’re mindful of your situation you’ll be alright. So far, I’ve never been taken to any shady place by any tuk tuk drivers, lol. So for my peace of mind, I now just use Grab Taxi if I can’t hop on the BTS/MRT. No need to bargain, no misunderstanding of location and shouldn’t be any communication issues.
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