One of the top things to love about visiting Bangkok are the city’s countless markets. Whether you’re looking to buy souvenirs, sample local food, or enjoy a bit of nighttime fun, you’ll find it in the many markets of Bangkok. Even if you’re like me and absolutely hate shopping, you can have a good time exploring these quirky and fun markets. Here are three of the best that when combined make for an awesome day of Bangkok markets:
Chatuchak Weekend Market (ตลาดจตุจักร)
The biggest market in Thailand and one of the largest in the world, this weekend market is one of the top tourist attractions in the city. Spread out over many acres and featuring thousands upon thousands of stalls split amongst 27 categories, you can find just about anything here. Although there is definitely some method to the madness when it comes to the organization of Chatuchak, you’ll most likely get lost in the maze of stalls that seem to go on forever.
From silly t-shirts, to wood carvings, to beautiful artwork, and even to live pets, this place is a one stop shop if there ever was one. There are over 200,000 visitors per day here, so to keep people at the market they’ve also got plenty of food and drink stalls, and you can even sit down and enjoy a massage in between all the shopping!
Or Tor Kor Fresh Market (ตลาด อ.ต.ก.)
Considered to be one of the best fresh markets in the world, Or Tor Kor is located steps away from Chatuchak and is the place to get your food shopping done in Bangkok. Here you can pick up fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, and everything in between. It’s a bit pricier than other local markets, but the quality can’t be beat here. One of the best things about this market – and grocery shopping in general in Thailand – is that you can find a wide variety of classic Thai dishes cooked up and ready to take home. No wonder so few places in Bangkok actually have a kitchen – you can buy all your meals pre-cooked from the market!
Even if you’re just a tourist staying in a hotel and don’t need to do any grocery shopping, this is a great place to come for a cheap, tasty, local lunch. Simply point to the dishes that you want and load up a plate. It’s a great way to fill your belly without emptying your wallet.
Ramkhamhaeng Night Market
It’s a bit far from the touristy area of Bangkok, but that’s one of the best things about this retro night market that sets up under the train station. Locals set up shops out of old VW buses, selling everything from vinyl records to funky clothing. For old-school hippies like me, it almost feels like a Grateful Dead parking lot transplanted to Thailand! With Bob Marley, peace signs, and tye-dye, it’s a little slice of nostalgia and home for hippies turned expats like yours truly.
It’s not just about the shopping here, as they also have a variety of food and drink stalls set up. People who live out here like to gather for beers, snacks, and live music to unwind. On my last visit, there was even a DJ set up in the bed of a vintage truck – how cool is that?!
If you’ve still got more energy for shopping, there are always the floating markets on the outskirts of the city that you can hit in a day trip or with a tour. Beyond the markets, there’s a lot more to love about Bangkok. Check back to the blog as we dive into the culture, cuisine, and nightlife of the Thai capital in the months to come!