Travel, Teach, Live in Thailand
The markets in Bangkok play an enormous and fundamental part of city life. There are a great many general markets but there are some fabulous specialty ones as well. They invite a real sense of amazement and unimaginable magnetism, particularly for tourists. More than this, markets are ideal opportunities for you to experience all the wonderful sites, sounds and smells synonymous with locations such as the ones in Bangkok. You can also expect the ambiance to be both lively and friendly.
Because there is such a diverse choice of markets, it could be somewhat difficult to decide where to start. It is probably best not to attempt too many of them in one outing. Focus on one area at a time and explore the markets there in-depth. Markets are arguably some of the most exciting attractions you could ever wish to encounter when touring the city. There are floating markets, flower markets, clothing markets, handicraft markets, street markets and night markets.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is without doubt the most popular floating market in Bangkok. It is situated in the Ratchaburi province 100 kilometers or 60 miles southwest of the city. The market is a labyrinth of narrow canals crammed with small flat wooden boats paddled mainly by females, some of whom dress in traditional blue farmer's shirts and conical straw hats. Fresh produce sold here comes straight from the farm and includes fruit, vegetables and spices. For the benefit of tourists, vendors also sell souvenir straw hats and refreshments.
Together there are three floating markets here. The largest being Tom Khem on Klong Damnoen Saduak. Another is Hai Kui where super structures are anchored to the banks of the canal. They act as warehouses selling souvenirs, mainly to large unsuspecting tour groups. The least crowded market is called Khun Phitak which is situated on a smaller canal in the southern part of Damnoen Saduak.
The Taling Chan Floating Market is one of a number of floating markets in the Taling Chan District of Bangkok. It is located on the canal Khlong Chak Phra at the intersection of Chimphli and Chak Phra roads in front of the district office.
Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market is located in Bang Ramat Road along both sides of the Lat Mayom Canal in the Taling Chan District of Thonburi. The market is open on weekends and public holidays from 9:30 am until 4:00 pm.
Wat Sapan Floating Market is one other open on weekends and public holidays from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm. If you're driving from the Taling Chan Floating Market take Ratchaphruek Road thereafter make a U-turn at Charan Sanitwong Soi 13 and then a left turn onto the Paknam-Krajome Thong Road.
Wat Sai Floating Market is located in the Thonburi area southwest of Bangkok. The market is open daily from 6:00 am until 2:00 pm. To get there, just hop on a long-tail boat from either the Oriental Pier, the Tha Chang Pier, the Rachini Pier or the Saphan Phut Pier. I've yet to visit the three markets not highlighted in blue.
Chatuchak Weekend Market is a huge marketplace held in the northern suburb of Bangkok. It's also the biggest in Thailand. The market is a chaotic collection of over 6,000 stalls. Collectively they occupy a space well over five football fields. Thousands of locals and tourists alike throng here every weekend eager to spend the whole day either shopping or browsing among the merchandise on display.
There is an incredible variety of goods for sale ranging from anchors to antiques. You'll find almost anything here. Want to purchase a Siamese Fighter Fish or a second-hand pair of jeans! You'll find it all here. There is a hill tribe section selling a good selection of woven textiles as well as antiques and artifacts both genuine and fake from all over Thailand as well as some neighbouring countries.
The plant and flower section offer an excellent insight to Thai flora while the food stalls display every conceivable kind of Thai fare fresh from the farm and the sea. The market is often referred to as the wildlife supermarket of the world due to endangered species being illegally sold here. Thankfully, this trade is in decline.
Pratunam Clothing Market occupies a substantial space in central Bangkok and consists of a maze of covered small shops and even smaller stalls. It is particular good for bargaining for inexpensive fashion garments and textiles including Indian fabrics. You will also find sewing accessories and some general domestic items.
The streets outside the market is abuzz with vibrant enthusiasm. Vendors sell a variety of inexpensive merchandise on their stalls such as T-Shirts, Jeans, Shirts, Skirts, Shoes, Costume Jewellery, Handicrafts and other assorted paraphernalia.
Khao San Road Market may only be set on one small street but it has without doubt, become a legend among backpackers. To be more specific, it's a budget travellers paradise. Kaosan is a source for almost anything imaginable. You can even have dead skin removed from your toes by hungry fish. I kid you not.
The market is a hive of activity both day and night. In addition to all the usual suspects, it's a great place to meet people you may not necessary come into contact at home. Go and take a walk on the wild side. Rucksacks, hiking boots and other travel equipment can be bought here as well as second-hand books, cheap jewellery, cloths, bags, shoes and even pirated DVD's and cassette tapes.
Chinatown and surrounding area is as atmospheric as it is vibrant. It is a chaotic combination of pungent smells and the hustle and bustle of diversified streets and stalls. Many 19th century houses and commercial buildings stretch the length of Songwat Road as are wholesale spice shops, bestowing an old-worldly flavour.
Fresh and preserved food stuff line the crowded sidewalks past the fabric market of Sampeng Lane. Countless gold shops, Chinese herbal medicine stalls, cafe's and restaurants throng the main traffic artery around Yaowarat Road. Sellers of Chinese religious paraphernalia can found at traffic-choked Charoen Krung Road.
Klong Toey Market is essentially a traditional Thai open-air shopping and trading place for locals. It is located off the busy Rama IV Road in Bangkok and close to an area around the Chao Phraya River. It's a bit like a slightly soiled city block set deep within a concrete jungle or perhaps just an old-world village. It depends on your point of view. This is where most of the city's poorest of poor live and work.
This particular market is known as a wet market because most of what you see here is fresh produce whether it came from a farm or the sea. It's not frequented much by tourists as it's not for everyone. It's also not on any tourist map and it's never mentioned in travel guide books, nevertheless a fascinating market to visit.
Suan Lum Night Bazaar is a all-night shopping venue situated opposite Lumphini Park in Bangkok. It's at the intersection of Rama IV and Wireless and Sathorn Roads in the Pathum Wan District. There are loads of wonderful attractions here at Suan Lum for your enjoyment as well as some fabulous restaurants for dining.
You would most certainly be entertained at the Joe Louis Puppet Theatre where a new evolutionary form of highly artistic human puppetry and epic performances of the Ramakien are staged. There is a huge entertainment arena, beer garden and food court where you can have something to eat, order your favourite beer all while watching fantastic live music concerts performed by young local talent. You can also take a ride on the Ferris Wheel to view the spectacular city lights.
They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach but that's not entirely true. Sports cars work very well too. They say the way to a woman's heart is to buy her some flowers but that's not entirely true either. Diamonds also work well.
For the moment lets stick to flowers. Bangkok is not without its dazzling display of flower markets so next time you are in the city, do yourself a big favour and go and see at least one of them. You won't be disappointed.
Pat Khlong Talad Flower Market is one such big and bright market where you'll be amazed at the huge variety of flowers on display. From the freshest roses to the most spectacular orchids, many species here are not seen anywhere else in the world. For flower lovers, this is heaven scent.
Hi my name is Grahame Pike and the author of this article. My passion is travel, art, writing and meeting new and interesting people in strange and exotic locations. If you enjoyed reading this page and would like to see the photos relating to this article as well as some of my other editorials on Thailand, please follow me at: http://www.luxury-thailand-travel.com/