The atmosphere is buzzing, people push and shove past you, manoeuvering through the narrow sois en route to find their next great bargain in the jumble of items piled up in one of about 8000 sellers' shops. This is the Chatuchak Weekend Market, also known as the Jatujak Market, located on 35 acres northeast of Bangkok, attracting 200 000 visitors every weekend to tackle the maze of stalls.
You can never have too many baskets, and Chatuchak Market has them in profusion! Baskets are stacked five feet high on the floor, and rows and rows line the walls of stalls, including the many giant bags full hanging from the ceiling. This is the image one encounters upon entering into the vendors of never-ending baskets. There are plenty of natural, wood stained, whitewashed and coloured baskets available, in all shapes and sizes that will meet every possible need. Here you will find a mixture of both handmade and factory produced baskets, however both are fashioned with the highest quality to ensure long lasting use.
Traditionally, baskets would have been used for storage purposes, just as they generally are today. They also play a role in food preparation: sticky rice baskets and steamers are an important part of Thai culture because they are necessary for creating staple food dishes. These items are still essential accessories that are used regularly for Thai cooking even today - sticky rice baskets, for example. Unfortunately, nowadays many of the baskets are factory produced, and it is more difficult to identify which products are legitimately handcrafted items.
The variety of baskets available at the Chatuchak Market expands greatly beyond traditional Thai designs and uses. All shapes, sizes and colours of baskets are available to appeal to the needs of both Thais and tourists. There is still an opportunity to support traditional Thai handicrafts by buying handmade baskets, but it is sometimes difficult to identify authentically handmade items.
Baskets have been used in Thai culture for many different purposes throughout history. They were created using materials that were easily accessible and abundant in quantity, such as reeds and bamboo. Although sustainability was probably not one of the reasons for its traditional use, bamboo grows very quickly and is able to replace itself at a high rate, making it a sustainable resource. Traditional baskets and woven products use strips of split bamboo that are intricately woven together. This makes them incredibly strong and durable. It's no wonder why this material is used to create more than just baskets, including fans, sleeping mats, hats and even shoes! In many aspects of Thai culture, handwoven baskets have played an important role, particularly in food gathering, storage and preparation.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Located about 11km Northeast of downtown Bangkok, Thailand
Easily accessed by MRT Subway and the BTS Skytrain
MRT Subway: Get off at Kamphaeng Phet, and you will pop up inside the market
BTS Skytrain: Get off at Mo Chit Station, follow the crowds down onto Phahonythin Rd., follow it southwest about 1 Kilometre and turn right onto Kamphaeng Phet 3 Rd. until you reach one of the entrances on the left hand side of the street
Location of Baskets
Section 19 - Soi 7
The administration of Chatuchak Market
Hours: Saturday and Sunday 9am-6pm
Maps are available at each entrance
Toilets are located throughout the market
-Section 7, Soi 66 and 67
-Section 4, Soi 52, 49
-Section 2, Soi 38
-Section 27, Soi 67 and 64
The main streets in the market are wheelchair and stroller accessible
The pin on the map above is centrally located in the area where you will find the greatest concentration of basket vendors in Chatuchak Market.