The Chatuchak Weekend Market is bargain shopper’s dream come true. Once visited only by wholesalers and traders, the market is now a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Bangkok.
I visited Chatuchak several times throughout my semester in Thailand and I still never saw the whole thing.
All 35-acres are stuffed to the brim with cheap clothing, ceramics, pets, food, furniture, collectibles — and just about anything else you could ever want or need. Cool down with some coconut ice cream and put your bargaining face on. Here’s my guide to navigating the world’s largest weekend market.
Facts About the Market
- The Chatuchak Weekend Market is actually pronounced Jatujak and is sometimes shortened JJ’s by locals.
- Over 200,000 visitors sift through the 15,000+ market stalls each weekend day. 70% of these visitors are Thai and only 30% foreign. (source)
- You can buy just about anything here — seriously. Want to buy vintage Levi’s, a miniature pet monkey, and decorate your house all in one shopping trip? You got it. (Although please please do not buy a miniature monkey — they belong in the wild not in your house)
What Can You Buy?
Oh boy, the question is what can’t you buy. If you’re in the market for an antique lantern, giant goldfish, Moroccan lamp, or fried insets — Chatuchak is the place for you.
The selection of goods can be roughly divided into 11 categories:
- Clothing & Accessories (sections 2-6, 10-26)
- Handicrafts (sections 8-11)
- Ceramics (sections 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 25)
Furniture and Home Decoration (sections 1,3,4,7,8)
- Food and Beverage (sections 2, 3, 4, 23, 24, 26, 27)
- Plants and Gardening tools (sections 3, 4)
- Art and Gallery (section 7)
- Pets and Pet Accessories (sections 8, 9, 11, 13)
- Books (sections 1, 27)
- Antiques and Collectibles (sections 1, 26)
- Miscellaneous and Used Clothing (sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 22, 25, 26)
Before You Shop
First of all, set aside at least a half-day for the Chatuchak Weekend Market. You won’t want to be in a hurry to get anywhere because there’s so much to see (and you might get a little lost). It’s also a good idea to be a little prepared because this isn’t your typical shopping mall experience.
- Wear comfortable shoes. You’re going to be on your feet for at least a couple hours so save those cute shoes that squeeze your feet for another trip.
- While we’re at it, wear comfy clothes too. If the heat alone won’t make you sweat, all the bargaining might.
- Wear a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Like I said this isn’t a mall — you’ll be fully exposed to the elements almost all day.
- There are ATMs around but bring some extra cash just in case.
- BRING TOILET PAPER or be prepared to pay for it. There are toilets available but like most places in Thailand you have to provide the paper.
- Be on your toes for pickpockets. I experienced theft in Thailand but others haven’t been so lucky.
- Come early to beat the crowds and the afternoon heat.
Getting to Chatuchak Weekend Market
Grab the BTS skytrain to Mo Chit Station, take exit number 1. Follow the crowd until you get to the entrance of the market.
The market is open 9am-6pm Saturday and Sunday.
Tips & Tricks
- Brush up on your bargaining skills — the first price you hear is never what the item is actually worth.
- Don’t be afraid to get a little lost. It’s all part of the fun of it.
- That being said, use reference points to find your way around the market. Keep track of numbered entrances, BTS stations, or the clock tower to orient yourself.
- Have fun, be respectful, and remember that this is how some people make their living so don’t over-haggle.