Whether it’s Flowers or Fabric, Sarongs or Stamps, Bangkok City has it all and more
Bangkok Markets play an enormous and fundamental part of city life. There are a great many general markets, but there are also some fabulous speciality ones too. 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. Expect the ambience 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 great night markets.
Bangkok Markets – Damnoen Saduak
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is, without a doubt, the most popular floating market in Bangkok. It is situated in the Ratchaburi province 100 kilometres or 60 miles south-west 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 farmers’ shirts and conical straw hats. Fresh produce sold here comes straight from the farm and they include fruit, vegetables and spices. Vendors also sell refreshments and souvenir straw hats.
Together there are three floating markets here. The largest being Tom Khem on Klong Damnoen Saduak. Another is Hai Kui where superstructures 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.
Bangkok Markets – Amphawa
While the Amphawa Floating Market might be one of the most popular markets of its kind in Bangkok for local Thais, it’s also one of the most spectacular sites of its kind for tourists to see too. Its vast formation of canals is the perfect setting for a great escape.
And the best thing of all is that you’ll get an eyewitness account how the locals here go about their daily business selling all sorts of goodies (mostly fresh produce) from their small wooden boats. You’ll also be able to browse the many shops and stalls after which you can enjoy some fantastic views from any one of the restaurants along the canals.
Bangkok Markets – Taling Chan
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. To see these and other similar markets in Bangkok, go to the floating markets in Bangkok.
Bangkok Markets – Weekend Markets
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 of some five football fields.
Loads of locals and tourists alike throng here every weekend eager to spend the whole day 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 from neighbouring countries.
The plant and flower section offer an excellent insight into Thai flora while the food stalls display every conceivable kind of Thai fare fresh from the farm and 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.
Bangkok Markets – Clothing
Pratunam Clothing Market occupies a substantial space in central Bangkok and consists of a maze of covered small shops and stalls. It is particularly good for bargaining for inexpensive fashion garments, textiles, (including Indian fabrics) sewing accessories and some general domestic items. The streets outside are 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 various other assorted paraphernalia.
Khao San Road Market
Khao San Road Market is set on one small street but it has, without any doubt, become a legend among backpackers. To be more specific, it’s a budget travellers paradise. Khaosan is a source for almost anything imaginable. You can even have the 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 necessarily come into contact with at home. Go and take a walk on the wild side. Rucksacks, hiking boots and other travel equipment can be bought as well as second-hand books, cheap jewellery, clothes, bags, shoes and pirated DVDs and cassette tapes.
Bangkok Markets – Chinatown
Chinatown and surrounding area are as atmospheric as it is vibrant. It is a chaotic combination of pungent smells and the hustle and bustle of diversified streets and stalls. 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 line the crowded sidewalks past the fabric market on Sampeng Lane. Countless gold shops, Chinese herbal medicine stalls, cafe’s and restaurants throng the main traffic artery around Yaowarat Road. Religious paraphernalia can found at traffic-choked Charoen Krung Road.
Klong Toey Market
Klong Toey Market is essentially a traditional Thai open-air shopping and trading place. 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 an old-world village depending on your point of view.
It’s also where many of the city’s poorest 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 guidebooks, nevertheless fascinating to visit.
Bangkok Markets – Suan Lum Night Bazaar
Suan Lum Night Bazaar is an 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. For your enjoyment, there are loads of wonderful attractions at Suan Lum as well as some fabulous restaurants for dining. Regrettably, I have to say that this once fabulous market has since closed its doors.
You’d have been entertained at the Joe Louis Puppet Theatre where a new evolutionary form of highly artistic human puppetry and epic performances of the Ramakien was staged. There was a huge entertainment arena, beer garden and a food court where you could have had something to eat and enjoyed your favourite beer while watching fantastic live music concerts performed by young local talent. You could have taken a ride on the Ferris Wheel to view the spectacular city lights.
Fortunately for you, the Suan Lum market has been replaced by a new night market called Asiatique The Riverfront, located on the banks of the Chao Phraya, where you can experience all this again.
Bangkok Markets – Vegetable and Fish
Thewet Vegetable and Fish Market is an absolute wonderful local shopping and trading district situated in the very heart of Bangkok where not only will you be able to view a variety of fresh vegetables and fish but also a selection of plants and flowers. You can reach this market either by express water taxi along the Chao Phraya River or by road transport from just about anywhere in the city.
Bangkok Markets – Flower
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. But for the moment we’ll 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 big, 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. It’s heaven sent for flower lovers.