Any trip to Bangkok won’t be complete without visiting its vibrant markets. From the lively atmosphere to the ever-smiling local people, affordable and unique items, stylish clothes, and mouthwatering food, snacks, and drinks, there’s just no shortage of things to love and shop in these trendy retail centers. Here are the must-visit markets in Bangkok to get you started, all bound to help you get a fun experience of the zippy market scene in the Thai capital.
Located at Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Chatuchak Market is one of Thailand’s largest weekend markets, perhaps even worldwide. It stretches over one kilometer with 27 sections composed of more than 15,000 stalls! Extremely popular among locals and tourists, the market draws over 200,000 visitors.
Expect it to be busy, but it’ll be exciting to shove your way to see all the incredible goods the vendors are offering. Whether you’re on the hunt for souvenirs, handicrafts, paintings, fashionable apparel, home decors, shoes, jewelry, or handbags, Chatuchak Market won’t disappoint. Cap out your visit by getting delectable Thai food and dessert available at the food stall gems dotting the market.
If you’re mainly looking for bargain deals on clothes, visiting Pratunam Market is your next bet. Situated under the tall Baiyoke Tower II, this market primarily offers women’s clothes at really affordable prices. It’s a 24-hour market, where shops open at different times, providing a dynamic and unique experience in the morning, daytime and night.
One thing you need to remember when visiting Pratunam Market is that the more you get, the more you can save. Buy the same item for three or more units, and you’d be able to purchase them at wholesale prices. If you’re strictly on a budget, friendly bargaining is welcome here so you can practice your haggling skills. Aside from clothes, handicrafts and souvenirs are also available here, just in case you need to bring some of them home.
Rod Fai Market (Ratchada)
Rod Fai Market, also called the New Train Market, opened a few years ago in Bangkok’s Ratchada area. While it’s smaller than the original train market, it exudes the same retro and vintage bazaar ambiance in its new home. Plus, it’s easier to access, being situated near the Esplanade Mall and the Cultural Centre MRT Underground Station. Here, you can purchase nearly anything at cheap prices, from antiques, accessories, second-hand toys, bags, clothes, and electronics. Of course, you’ll find delicious food from the street food stall if that’s what you’re aiming for. So pop in Ratchada Market and shop ‘til you drop from 6:00 PM until midnight.
Klong Toey Fresh Market
Klong Toey Fresh Market is one of Bangkok’s largest and liveliest fresh food markets, where you can purchase all sorts of fresh products, from fish, seafood, meat, vegetables, fruits, and herbs. If you’re not buying anything of them, it’s still a must-see place as it’s cited for its authenticity, providing a vivid look and insightful experience of the local life in Bangkok. See butchers cut tons of fresh meat, vendors arranging vegetables, or the locals buying the live seafood amid the striking backdrop of the towering sky-rises and buildings.
Patpong Night Market
Located in the capital’s nightlife district, Pratunam Market is your go-to market if you’re looking for some souvenirs before you go home while still getting a dose of the capital’s vibrant nightlife scene. You’ll get good bargains on clothes, accessories, and other items, but be mindful that quality may not always be trusted. For some yummy treats, there are also lots of food stalls around to satisfy your appetite. Yet, what you’d love about Patpong is the unique ambiance, having evolved to be one of the most liberal places in Bangkok. There are lots of notorious go-go bars around and foreign visitors that add life to the market.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Though Damnoen Saduak Floating Market isn’t necessarily in Bangkok, it’s a popular day-trip destination from the capital. As the most famous and largest floating market in entire Thailand, your visit to Bangkok won’t be complete without taking the easy one hour and a half journey to this picturesque market. It’s like how you imagine a floating market would be, filled with huge old wooden boats with vendors selling foods, fruits, vegetables, flowers, and local handicrafts. Everything is just colorful! Adding the rustic buildings that fringe the waters, it’s also perfect for those looking for some iconic photo ops.
Klongsan Plaza Market
Compared to Chatuchak Market frequented by tourists, Klongsan Plaza Market is more of a local market, where Thais drop by after a full day at work to purchase food also offered at affordable local prices. Here, you’ll have an easier time visiting stalls without worries about getting swept or lost in the crowd. You can leisurely walk with locals as you see the stalls selling clothes, jewelry, accessories, amulets, souvenirs, and nearly everything you want to find. The market is open daily, from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Check out the new shopping center Icon Siam nearby if you’re high-end shops and restaurants and relish the varied experience.
Bangkok Farmers Market
Bangkok Farmers Market is hard to catch, as it moves to a different location each time. It’s run by an organization aiming to promote the products of organic farmers and local food producers. There are many things to buy, from handmade accessories, clothes, beauty products to fruits and vegetables and delicious snacks and drinks, which are all sweatshop-free. You can check out their social media page to know their next location. The extra effort of research is worth it, knowing that you’ll get to enjoy an ethical and healthy market and give back to the organic farmer and food producers community.
Maeklong Railway Market
Another popular day-trip destination from Bangkok is the Maeklong Railway Market. Vendors literally have stalls beside the railway, selling seafood, vegetables, fruits, flowers, snacks, and clothing, heavily covered by umbrellas. But once the train sounds its horn, the market is pulled back or packed away to prevent their goods from being cut by the metal wheels. After the train passes, markets roll out and go back into the business – truly one of the iconic market experiences you can get in Thailand.
More sophisticated than the others listed on this list, Asiatique ideally blends the shopping experience you get from a mall and a night market. Located just 10 minutes from Saphan Taksin BTS Station, it houses more than 1,500 boutiques in this once-vibrant trade port. See the latest trends in Bangkok as you stroll around and splash out in the great retail therapy. Finish your day by eating at the delectable restaurants or riding the Ferris wheel to get a scenic view of the city.
That’s the rundown of the must-visit markets in Bangkok, with each of them offering something unique to draw in. Head to these markets, eat delicious food, buy everything you want, and immerse in the experience. It’s only one of the top things you can do in Bangkok, but undoubtedly also one of the best ways to start your visit to the Land of Smiles.