Bangkok Shopping Budget: $
Average clothes prices: 200 baht
Standing proudly as the most famous of all Bangkok’s shopping markets and shopping centres, Chatuchak Weekend Market’s huge maze of stalls and shops will surprise even the most seasoned shopper with it’s huge size (man, if I had 100 baht for every time I’ve gotten lost and stranded in the clutches of Chatuchak market…). Being strictly only a horticulture market during the weekdays, Chatuchak market is only properly open as normal on the weekends.
So, what with Chatuchak market’s huge popularity with both local Thais and tourists from all over the world, I’m sure you can imagine just exactly how crowded it gets during this small window of shopping opportunity on the weekend. This is a slight drawback of Chatuchak; the market complex seems to just suck up all the tropical Bangkok heat like a giant sun trap and get’s super crammed full of shoppers jamming up the paths while taking selfies on their iPhones. Not a good combination if you have a distaste for overcrowded labyrinths of trinket shops.
Shopping at Chatuchak Weekend Market
But, and it’s a big but, despite these frustrations of Chatuchak, the weekend market does sell some really cool stuff with decent prices. The atmosphere is nice and friendly, with genuine sellers that don’t pressure you or charge ‘foreigner prices’; many of the shops actually have written, set prices, unlike other Bangkok markets where you may be expected to haggle or pay whatever the seller feels like charging you at the time.
The market complex consists of a large outdoor section, set out in a kind of ring shape. This outdoor section is surrounded by a maze of sheltered indoor shops which eventually lead outside of Chatuchak market. On the outskirts of the market and within the outdoor central part, you can find some cool bars and food stalls to sit and chill out away from the crowded main street.
What to buy at Chatuchak Weekend Market
Chatuchak is a pretty good all rounder market – you can buy anything from home furnishings to knockoff sunglasses; handmade silver jewellery to colourful, bohemian accessories; and second hand, retro clothing to cute, likkle puppy dogs (yes, real puppy dogs). Everything is conveniently organised into sections to make it easy to find what you’re looking for but, if you do get lost at Chatuchak, you could easily miss a whole section of goods.
Clothes for sale at Chatuchak weekend market include a large amount of second hand items, Levi jeans, used sneakers & converse, bohemian dresses, indie design clothing, street-style caps, knock off brands (Hollister & SuperDry), sunglasses (fake RayBans) and the latest Thai fashions.
Prices at the Chatuchak Weekend Market range from 20 baht for a cheap pair of earrings, to 500 baht for an intricate, hand made pair of earrings; or 150 baht for a simple top or t-shirt, to 400 baht for a unique design dress. There are some really cool clothes designs and cute accessories for sale; men have a pretty decent selection of printed T-shirts to choose from too (not the tacky Chang beer style T-shirts you might find in other markets either).
How to get to Chatuchak Weekend Market
Both the MRT and BTS lines run directly to the market at Chatuchak: Take the BTS to the terminus station, Mo Chit, or take the MRT to Chatuchak station. The stations are absolutely crammed full of people making their way to the market on the weekends, so it’s easy to just follow the crowd of people there. However, the stations are clearly signposted for the market as well.
Once you exit either station, you’ll notice people walking into Chatuchak park – walk on into the park and follow the pathway to the left hand side until you exit again through the opposite gate. Cross the road from the park and you’ll find Chatuchak market directly in front of you – just find one of the shop arcades to enter.
*I hate to nag, but beware of pickpockets when shopping at Chatuchak – pickpockets have been known to slash open bags from behind shopper’s backs.