One of the things we always love to do during our travels is to explore the local markets! And the markets in South East Asia are some of the very oldest, busiest and best in the entire world. During our recent visit to the Thai capital, we spent many of our days and evening exploring various Bangkok markets. Based on our experiences, we bring you this guide to the 10 best markets in Bangkok to help you decide which markets to visit in Bangkok for your next trip!
Although the city boasts dozens of high-end and high-street malls, we think the best shopping in Bangkok is to be found in the markets. Whether you are looking for food or flowers, clothing or homewares, electronics or souvenirs, street shopping in Bangkok is where it’s at. To help you decide which markets to visit in Bangkok, our guide is broken down into day shopping, night shopping, street food and fresh produce.
We have also (perhaps controversially!) included two markets in Bangkok that we personally prefer to avoid – and explained why.
So, here is our definitive, no-nonsense guide to our top 10 markets in Bangkok!
10 Best markets in Bangkok for serious shopaholics and foodie fanatics
- Best Bangkok Shopping markets for serious shopaholics
- Best Vintage Night Markets in Bangkok for cool kids
- Best street food markets in Bangkok for hungry foodie fanatics
- Best fresh produce markets in Bangkok for wannabe master chefs
- Two Bangkok markets we prefer to avoid
This section of the guide features day markets in Bangkok that will satisfy the consumerist cravings of the most serious shopaholics. These markets are selling objects like clothing, souvenirs, handicrafts and other non-food items. To find a night bazaar in Bangkok, scroll down to the next section.
Chatuchak market (also known as Jatujak market) receives more than two hundred thousand visitors each week and is the biggest market in Bangkok, and biggest weekend market in the world. JJ market, as the locals call it, is one of the top places to shop in Bangkok. The 8000 stalls sell a mixture of the usual clothes, shoes, souvenirs and handicrafts, but in addition, homewares, artwork, plants, flowers and gardening utensils, antiques, cosmetics and toiletries, pet accessories, books and so much more.
Chatuchak weekend market Bangkok is a dizzying, mesmerising mish-mash of everything you would ever want to buy, and about ten billion other things you don’t! Jatujak market Bangkok is, without doubt, one of the best markets in Bangkok and features highly on any Bangkok shopping guide worth it’s salt. It also delivers some great photo ops for Honeymoon in Bangkok photo shootings 🙂
Chatuchak market guide
Chatuchak Bangkok is split into 27 sections, with a main walkway and many, many small sois stemming off them. Part of the fun is wandering the sois and getting lost. However, if you prefer to have a guide, then use our Chatuchak weekend market map below to help find your way around.
When visiting Jatujak market, be mindful of a few tips:
- Be prepared for crowds – it gets very busy
- Like anywhere in Bangkok, it will be warm so also be prepared to be out in the sun – bring sunscreen and water
- Many stalls do not accept cards so bring cash if you intend to do more than just window-shopping
- Take good care of your stuff – there may be pickpockets around
The Chatuchak weekend market opening hours are Saturday and Sunday, 0900-1800. Chatuchak market hours are also Friday evenings from 1800.
Chatuchak weekend market location is on the north side of Bangkokcity centre. If you are staying in the centre, you can take either the BTS Skytrain to Mo Chit stop, or the MRT to Chatuchak Park. Just follow the crowds when you exit the station.
Another among Bangkok best markets, Sampeng Lane market is to be found in the narrow streets between Yaowarat Road and the Chao Phraya river. Thousands of tiny stalls crammed together make it hot, sweaty and crowded. However, the bewildering array of goods on sale at Sampeng also make it one of the best shopping sites in Bangkok.
Sampeng is also an important wholesale market in Bangkok, supplying many smaller outlets with souvenirs, jewellery, textiles and other goods with goods for sale to individual consumers. Buying 10 or more items yourself will bring you into the same category as the rest of the Bangkok wholesale purchasers so you can negotiate a nice discount for yourself. This makes it one of the best places for cheap shopping in Bangkok.
You cannot take the metro directly to Chinatown. However you can take the MRT to Hua Lamphong and walk 10 minutes from the station to Yaowarat Road, from where you can easily access Sampeng market. Just follow the crowds.
Pratunam market Bangkok offers a fascinating insight into local market culture. It is probably the biggest Bangkok fashion wholesale market selling clothes, shoes and accessories. However don’t let the “wholesale” part put you off a visit. Many stalls will sell single articles at retail prices. Purchasing just three items will often qualify you for a wholesale discount, making it one of the best places to visit in Bangkok for shopping if you are looking for family-sized bargains.
Of course, like the rest of Bangkok, brand names should not be taken too seriously. However, it is not just rip-off brands on sale here, you can buy all kinds of clothing from basic shorts and t-shirts, to posh evening wear (with or without sequins) and dinner suits.
Pratunam market is located between Chit Lom BTS station to the south and Ratchaprarop MRT station to the north, making it easily accessible from either transport network. Pratunam market opening hours are officially 24/7, but the best time to visit is between around 11am and 8pm.
Night markets in Bangkok falls into a number of categories – street food, tacky and cheap, or vintage and cool. We only discovered this third category during our most recent visit, hence the night markets listed here are the best vintage markets in Bangkok to satisfy the most hardcore hipsters of any age.
I’m not sure where we first heard that there was a night market attached to Chatuchak weekend market. However, we had made the decision to head over there after our Saturday afternoon at the main market. And I don’t know what we were expecting, but our expectations were definitely exceeded. In our opinion, JJ Green is THE Bangkok best night market!
The name comes from Jatujak Green, however it is a totally different prospect to the main Chatuchak weekend market. JJ Night market Bangkok does have some permanent stalls and restaurants. However, spread out over a huge area between and beyond, hundred of stallholders peddle their wares. Some are simply spread out on a blanket in front of the seller, some are sold from car boots, some are in the more traditional manner of a market stall.
You can find all kinds of new and vintage secondhand gear, which all seems to be somehow cool, quirky or original, or any combination of the three. We also noticed that, strangely, this Saturday night market in Bangkok right next door to one of the most touristed markets we visited, seemed to have virtually no Western tourists. Which is not to say it was quiet, but populated mostly by very trendy locals, both young and old.
JJ Green opening hours are Thursday to Sunday from 5pm until late evening. If you are looking for somewhere to chill, eat, drink and perhaps browse some really cool individual stuff for sale, then make sure to take a trip to JJ Green – hands down, one of the top markets in Bangkok for cool kids.
We had heard about the Siam Gypsy Junction market from our friends over at MapTrotting after they wrote an article about how it was their favourite hangout and vintage market in Bangkok during their time in the city. Finding ourselves at a loose end during a Friday night in Bangkok, we took ourselves off for a visit.
Siam Gypsy Junction is another vintage market in Bangkok and is similar in vibe and clientele to JJ Green. As well as being a flea market in Bangkok selling numerous vintage goods, it features a number of very cool yet low-key bars and eateries. Each of these is individually constructed from various things like shipping containers or old school buses. It also seems to be relatively unpopulated by Western tourists at least at the time we visited.
Siam Gypsy market is located along a long stretch of railway line close to Bang Son MRT stop. The train line is a live one, and the ancient trains rattling along every so often only add to the overall Wild West vibe that the Siam Gypsy market seems to channel. Opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 6pm to late evening. Another candidate for the hippest Bangkok weekend night market – get there before the other tourists hear about it.
Rot Fai is known as the night train market Bangkok (and actually translates as such), as it used to be based close to the railway lines near Chatuchak. Now, Rot Fai Market Bangkok actually has two locations. The original Rot Fai market is located far outside of the main city, deep into the suburbs south of Sukhumvit. Therefore it is quite difficult to access if you are staying in the city centre.
The newer site – Rot Fai Market 2 is also known as Ratchada night market Bangkok because it is based within the Ratchada area. Rot Fai market Rathchada has a great range of street food stalls, however its main feature is the vintage market selling funky attire and accessories, as well as homewares and other retro gear. Also featuring a number of bars where you can sit and people-watch, it is one of the coolest locations in Bangkok to hang out at a weekend.
Rot Fai Ratchada night market opening hours are Thursday to Sunday from 5pm. Weekends are however the best time to experience Rot Fai market at its most vibrant.
One of our absolute top best things to shop in Bangkok is not things, but of course authentic local food! Here are our two picks for the best street food markets in Bangkok.
Chinatown Bangkok night market is located along the main stretch of Yaowarat Road. Whilst you can get street food here during the day, it is the nighttime when the street food scene really comes to life. In our humble opinion, Yaowarat Road is the best night food market in Bangkok. And many of the locals seem to agree with us!
You can find street food stalls here serving up a multitude of different specialities – mostly Thai and Chinese specialities. Birds nest soup, grilled squid with chilli sauce, deep fried dumplings, won tons, tom yum soup, barbecued pork… whatever takes your fancy. As well as fresh mangoes and lots of different juices – pomegranate, sugar cane, coconut water… it is a veritable paradise for foodies.
Yaowarat Road is the main strip of Chinatown. All street vendors in Bangkok tend to take Mondays off, so you will find that Yaowarat Road is open every evening except Monday.
Also selling a plethora of authentic Thai and Chinese street foods, Ratchawat market Bangkok is another street food market dream. It features such savoury delectable delights as kobe beef noodle soup, steamed Chinese-style buns, roasted duck, and local speciality Rad Na Mhoo (wide rice noodles with pork in a gravy soup). To round off your meal, enjoy sweet desserts like mango sticky rice with various toppings, sweet rice dumplings in banana leaf, or simply the ubiquitous banana pancakes.
Ratchawat market opening hours are daily until around 5pm. It is a great place to eat lunch. To get to Ratchawat market, there is unfortunately no easy public transport as it is not on the BTS or MRT lines. You can get off at Victory Monument and take a ten-minute taxi ride from there.
Street food is available all over Bangkok, and you don’t necessarily need to go to a market to get decent eats on the streets. Even in Silom, which is the main business/financial district of Bangkok, street vendors are open day and night catering to office workers and tourists. Check out this post from Kate and Kris about the street food in Silom.
We love wandering around wet markets, even if we don’t always have full facilities to cook wherever we are. They are the best places to see locals interacting and many of them have stalls selling cooked food too, as the local stallholders at least need somewhere to eat.
These are our two recommendations for Bangkok markets selling fresh produce.
Khlong Toey market (also spelled as Khlong Toei market) is one of Bangkoks biggest wet markets. It supplies many of the stalls and restaurants with their fresh ingredients on a daily basis. Walking around is a truly authentic local experience, as you get to see all of the produce being frantically haggled over in rapid-fire Thai. Whether you wish to shop for your own fresh ingredients, or if you simply want to see a different kind of market, then head to Khlong Toey for a genuine food market Bangkok experience. If you do get hungry from looking at all the produce, there are a few stalls also selling street food.
Khlong Toey market Bangkok operates from early morning to the very late hours so you can turn up pretty much any time during waking hours. However, morning is when most of the peak trading hours happen. To get to Khlong Toey market take the MRT to the Khlong Toey stop.
Or Tor Kor market Bangkok is another large food market that takes place in a covered hall on the outskirts of the city centre, close to Chatuchak market. It has a reputation among locals as being a high-end food market, and certainly it is very clean and well-presented with a great range of delicious ingredients.
Selling all kinds of fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, as well as rices, spices, sweets, dried fruits and simply anything you may need for Thai cooking, Or Tor Kor is a wonder just to walk around and experience the sights and smells.
We actually tried durian fruit for the first time here. It was received with a mixture of interest (from Tom) and disgust (from me!). Despite my durian experience, and also due to the canteen-style section on one side comprising a wide range of street food stalls, I still think it is one of the best food markets in Bangkok.
Or Tor Kor market opening hours are daily until around 5pm. You can get there via the MRT station Kampheng Thet, or take the BTS to Mo Chit and walk from there.
The markets we have shown you here are what we believe are the best shopping sites in Bangkok in terms of markets. There are two other markets that we wanted to mention, purely for being markets we prefer to avoid. They are the Khao San Road market, and Patpong market.
Why these two?
Before we get shot down as elitist travel snobs, there is a rationale behind this advice. We spend a lot of time reading and hearing from members of the travel community about places they like to visit or avoid. From what we have seen, Bangkok often gets a bad rap from travellers. More often than not, this negativity comes from people who have ventured no further than Khao San Road for its cheap backpacker hostels and happy hour beers, and/or Patpong for its seedy sex shows. Neither of these locations offers anything close to a genuine Thai experience. And so they walk away disillusioned, and tell everyone there are better places in Thailand than Bangkok.
Which may well be true, but we personally have found better locations in Bangkok itself than Khao San Road and Patpong.
Anyway, back to the point. Both locations do offer up markets.
Among backpackers, this is probably the most popular night market in Bangkok. Click here to find out how to get to Khao San Road. However, when we visited at least, Khao San Road market has rows upon rows of stalls selling t-shirts variously decorated with unimaginative logos involving beer, weed and/or swearing. There are a few ladies wandering around selling woven bracelets with slogans such as “I love sex” or “Bend over” (those are the polite ones). Less offensive are the grilled scorpions on sticks, and banana pancakes from the street food stalls. Aside from cheap souvenirs and alcohol by the bucket, there is not much else to be had here.
We did not enjoy Patpong much more, although it must be said that the market at Patpong is generally ignored in favour of what else goes on around it. And if you want to know about that, this is not the website for you!
If you do happen to be in Patpong Market to shop, then you can get any kind of knock-off gear you may be looking for. Although of course, if you do choose to buy something like that AND bring it back home with you, then you may face whatever counterfeiting penalties your home country government chooses to throw at you if you get caught bringing it in through customs.
Suffice to say that in our opinion, these two neighbourhoods are not characteristic of Bangkok or Thai culture in general. In this article, we have provided some great alternative market shopping opportunities in Bangkok if you really want to air your tourist dollars and get a more authentic Bangkok experience.
So that rounds up our list of the best markets in Bangkok to suit your shopping style, plus our two gentle tips of places that can safely be avoided. Market shopping is a great way to get in touch with the locals and see how they interact, experience authentic food and ingredients, pick up a few bargains on souvenirs and even risk the odd knock-off t-shirt purchase.
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