A Conscious Consumer's Guide to the Chatuchak Market

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About This Guide

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. Illuminated by harsh fluorescent lighting, protected under the cover of metal roofing and umbrellas, masses of cheap clothes litter the stalls, colourful ceramics teeter precariously in stacks along the walkways, bright cloths and silks are folded in piles that reach the ceiling alongside aluminum kitchenware, all varieties of fake and real flowers, dusty antiques, carved miniature food items, technological gadgets, metal chains, cheap souvenirs, exotic pets, the list goes on. Welcome to the Chatuchak Weekend Market, also known as the Jatujak (or JJ) Market.

The market has no shortage of cheap threads for sale just about everywhere you look. But if you're after a souvenir that is more authentic and culturally relevant, then this is the guide for you! The items we have chosen are more handicraft based; they focus on the preservation of Thai culture and have more positive effects environmentally, socially and economically than typical mass produced plastic souvenirs and "I heart Thailand" t-shirts.

We'd like to bring you into the depths of Chatuchak in search of interesting items that may be more difficult to find on your own, and give some information about their importance to Thai culture. Convenient GPS coordinates will bring you directly where you want to go as efficiently as possible, to make your Chatuchak Market experience a positive one!

Tips for Visiting Chatuchak Market

  • It can get very hot! Make sure to dress appropriately and stay hydrated. Temperatures are generally cooler in the morning than in the middle of the afternoon
  • Wear comfy shoes, as there aren't many places in the market to sit down and take a rest
  • Go in the morning to avoid the huge crowds, around 10 am is probably ideal
  • Theft is common: be aware of your belongings, keep valuables (money, passport, credit cards, etc.) in a safe place on your person. If you have a backpack, wear it on the front
  • Bring cash, generally in smaller bills because vendors don't always have a lot of change. There are ATM's onsite if you run out
  • Be aware that if you're a Western tourist, prices will generally be higher, if you're comfortable with it, try your hand at bargaining with vendors to get the best deals, just be prepared that they don't always go your way, and be prepared to walk away when it isn't worth it
  • If you find something you really, really like, buy it! It is very difficult to find your way back to a place after leaving
  • Bring your own reusable bag or backpack to bring home your goodies. It's convenient, and it avoids wasting plastic bags

TripClip Audio Guide: A Conscious Consumer's Guide to the Chatuchak Market

Points of interest in this Guide include:

Getting There and Getting Around

Click here for a Google map of all points of interest in this Guide:

Click here for a generic map of Chatuchak Market:

Chatuchak Market is located about 11km Northeast of downtown Bangkok

It can be easily accessed by both the MRT Subway and BTS Skytrain, but our tour will be starting with the latter.

You will take the BTS Skytrain (more info can be found here) Sukhumvit Line to Mo Chit Station. You will exit the station onto Phahonythin Rd., follow the crowds southwest down the street about 1 Kilometre, turn right onto Kamphaeng Phet 3 Rd.

This street will be full of vendors selling food and drinks, and it is the first Point of Interest on this tour. There are many types of meals and snacks on offer, and it is recommended to fuel up before heading into the market. Once you have finished eating, follow the road northwest until you see an opening on the left hand side labelled Chatuchak Weekend Market Gate 2.

Once inside, if you go over to the right hand side of the main pathway of the market, you will be at Section 7 of the market, where the prints and paintings are located. Make your way down Soi 63. The art continues in the sois that run parallel, so feel free to weave in and out of those to see all of the art pieces on display. When you have had enough, go back out onto the main pathway and turn right.

Follow the main pathway in a southwest direction until you arrive at Section 17 on the left hand side, and enter through Soi 9. There are many stalls selling ceramics, so be sure to check them out. When you're ready to move on, get back to Soi 9 and head east until you reach the middle of the market, where the clock tower is located.

Turn right onto the path in the middle of the market and continue on until you reach Section 19, Soi 7, on your right hand side. This is where the baskets are located, and there are a few stalls with a variety of goods. When you want to keep going, go back out to the middle section of the market.

Turn right at the middle section and head south a bit further until you reach Section 20, Soi 6, on your right hand side. Home to the fifth area of interest, jewelry and beads. Again, when you're finished looking around, make your way back out to the middle of the market.

When in the middle, keep going down the path to the right, in a southern direction until you arrive at Section 22 on your right hand side. You will turn right down Soi 4 where you will find the sixth Point of Interest, textiles. When you are finished in this section, keep following Soi 4 in a southwest direction, until you reach the main pathway that circles the market.

When you get out to the pathway, turn left and follow it southwest until you arrive at Section 27, on your right hand side. You will go down Soi 68 until you reach the seventh Point of Interest, woodwork. When you wish to keep going, turn to the left and follow the alley down southwest until you get to Soi 69, where you will find the next Point of Interest, books. When you're finished there, exit Section 27, and make your way back to the main pathway.

You will then go back into the maze of markets on Soi 1 in Section 26, where you will find the second to last Point of Interest, antiques. When you've had enough, you can head back out to the main market pathway that runs parallel to Soi 1.

You will continue to follow the path southward and keep going around the corner until you reach Section 4, the fresh plants section and the final Point of Interest on this tour of the Chatuchak Market.

Kamphaeng Phet station (MRT Subway Entrance Point to Chatuchak Market)

Mo Chit station (BTS Skytrain Entrance Point to Chatuchak Market)