Buddha: " Whenever you see things, just see. Whenever you listen, just listen. Whenever you know, just know."
Chatuchak (AKA Jatujak and JJ) Weekend Market, Jatujak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand.
Chatuchak (Jatujak, JJ) Weekend Market,
Bangkok is a gigantic, bustling, free to enter, weekend market located opposite the old northern bus terminal along Phahonyothinin Road.
Chatuchak is in a northern part of the city easily accessed by:
SkyTrain - BTS at Station N8, Mo Chit (Terminus).
Subway - MRT at stations #2 Kamphaeng Phet (closest - between Areas 1 / 2) or #3 Mo Chit (short walk from park).
By bus - Ordinary buses 3, 8, 26, 27, 28, 34, 38, 39, 44, 52, 59, 74, 77, 96, 97, 104, 108, 112, 134, 136, 138 and 145. Air-con buses 2, 3, 9, 10, 12, 13, 29, 38, 39, 44, 136 and 138.
By taxi, ask for Suan Jatujak (Chatuchak park).
Open from 08.00 to 18.00 on Saturdays and Sundays.
It would be no exaggeration to say that hardly anybody in Bangkok doesn't know Chatuchak Market. Originally the brainchild of a previous Prime Minister of Thailand, Chatuchak (AKA Jatujak and JJ) Weekend market the biggest weekend market in Bangkok developed from a weekend flea markets in Suan Sanam Luang (Park) and Suan Sanam Chai (Park), Bangkok and was moved to the area aside Chatuchak Park in 1982 on land leased from Thai Railways, the Royal Thai Train Authority.
Chatuchak Weekend Market surrounds a clock tower (Areas 18 / 19) - which is a good rendezvous point if there are a couple or so of you that want to wander independently.
Bargaining is expected, by stall holders at Chatuchak even though the marked prices are generally [substantially] cheaper than the downtown shopping centers or street stalls in Silom and Sukhumvit. Many traders in the more central areas of Bangkok also have a stall here, selling exactly the same goods for much, much lower prices. The chances are you won't come away empty-handed.
The flagship of Bangkok's many weekend markets Chatuchak (AKA Jatujak and JJ) Weekend Market has a scale that is to the first time visitor truly mind blowing. You'll have to be Superman or Superwoman to get round the whole market in a day. Chatuchak (AKA Jatujak and JJ) Weekend Market covers around 35 acres! During our six week stay in Bangkok we visited the Chatuchak (AKA Jatujak and JJ) Weekend Market twice and still didn't see it all.
With around five to six thousand stall holders turning up every Saturday and Sunday - you will find everything from silk material to string and antiques to bicycle clips, fruit and flowers to pets and second hand shoes!
The market is divided into numbered areas; these are criss-crossed by narrow alleys known as "Soi". You can pick up a free map outside Air-Marine & Logistics co. ltd. opposite areas 8/9.
Chatuchak Market is a particularly good place to find all manner of Thai handicrafts, the quality varies but many are high quality and fortunately the intense competition between stall holders keeps the prices low. Be warned though when buying what looks like an antique, the large majority on offer are fakes and telling the difference between fake and genuine can be extremely difficult. Antiques require an export permit but you should also consider obtaining a permit if a fake is good enough to fool the inspecting Thai customs officer.
If you are even a mild supporter of animal rights or do not like to see animals in what we would describe as a difficult environment, then you may want to avoid the animal section of Chatuchak market. There is nothing intentionally 'bad' happening here, it is just that on some of the stalls the animals look to be in a poor shape, mainly due to the effects of the heat.
There are areas of the market where there are clean toilets, restaurants, mobile ATMs and slightly up market stalls selling branded electrical goods etc and Chatuchak Market has and endless selection of food and drinks stalls on almost every Soi (alley) or corner.
There are areas where the interior designer in you can pick up art and objects to furnish and decorate your pad.
Chatuchak always gets very hot and humid during the day. It is best to arrive early - not to get a bargain - but to avoid the crush and the heat of the afternoon (but at 10.00 the heat can be oppressive in the sun)!
Tip - Buy some fish food pellets and feed the huge catfish in the lake in Chatuchak Park just across the road from entrance / exit #2!
Chatuchak is incidentally open on Friday as a market for wholesalers (same opening times), but there is usually no problem doing normal shopping on this day either.
The garden plants section is open on Wednesdays and Thursday too, from 07.00 to 06.00.
Watch out for pickpockets, even though they're not a particularly big problem, in the crowded conditions, it is easy for them to operate here.
Due to the fact that the market is so large and crowded we do not recommend that you visit in large groups, it will be easier for you to get around if there
are just 2 or 3 of you together, rather than a whole gang. If you are travelling as part of a group, divide yourselves up into small groups of two or three. We also recommend that you do not use Chatuchak as a meeting place as you probably won't find each other! Have a plan of action in case you get separated and can't immediately find each other, say meet at the clock tower in the middle of the market or a particular gate (they are all numbered).
In the rainy season leave your best shoes at home as the market will 'flash flood' over your ankles in minutes!
An alternative and probably more comfortable experience to Chatuchak Weekend Market can be had by visiting Suan Lumpini Night Market which is open every evening next to Lumpini Park (nearer to downtown Bangkok).