Thailand Travel Guide - with Wired Destinations
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Thailand Shopping -The Markets – with Wired Destinations
A stroll over one of Bangkok's markets is a “required” Bangkok shopping experience and a chance to find some great bargains on the go. Delve in and find a Bangkok market; immerse yourself in a lively and dynamically evolving economy, a venue to haggle and make the best of it. Try not to make a fuss over a few bucks. You can’t really win, since you probably end up paying more than the locals anyway.
Bangkok Day Markets
Adjacent to Paholyothin Road, between Mo Chit and Saphan Kwai BTS stations, Chatuchak (JJ) Weekend Market (only Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 8pm) covers about 12 hectares (30 acres) of land with more than 8,500 stalls. Shoppers revisit JJ Market regularly to find that one perfect gift or super bargain, ranging from household and deco to clothing and kitsch.
While Chatuchak is popular with serious collectors and antique dealers, it also draws crowds of teens who purchase local designer brands made by art school graduates and trendy accessories that go with it. The market is a vast maze, offering sections for cuddly live pets and books and magazines, new and second-hand. Toward the south of the market one can find the plant and flower section to spiff up one’s living room.
While you are there, try one of the best things about Chatuchak, the abundance of food and drink stalls dotted all over, where a Café Latté or a roasted chicken plate can restore the most beat shoppers. Yes, it does get hot and quite stuffy; the rows of stalls are closely knit and it is a cautious estimate that over 50,000 people visit on Saturdays and probably more than 200,000 on Sundays. Some prices in the market are nonnegotiable; others are open for bargaining, so just have a go.
Recently, an indoor Chatuchak shopping venue has been opened adjacent to the outdoor one. Prices tend to be a bit higher but are still acceptable; there is also air-conditioning, which makes the Bangkok shopping experience so much more pleasant.
Pratunam Market opens daily in the city center. Located at the intersection of Phetchburi and Ratchaprarop roads near Baiyoke Sky hotel, this market is a scaled down Chatuchak and one of the best venues for fashion wear. Bangrak Market on New Road, has been vastly reduced in size, then relocated to a building behind the original one and thereby lost some of its spunk, try it anyway. Its specialty is floral wreaths and garlands. Just a few blocks from Bangrak is Khlong Thom Market, in one of Bangkok’s busiest areas. Bargain hunters seek brand-new and second-hand hardware and electric appliances.
On Krung Kasem Road near Padung Krung Kasem canal, Thewes Market is one of the city's largest flower and plant markets. In a picturesque setting varieties of the thousands of orchid species are on display here. Another popular flower market is Pak Klong Talad near Memorial Bridge. You can pass by on the way to the Grand Palace or Wat Po. A five-minute walk from Pak Klong Talad takes you to the crowded Saphan Phut Night Market (not on Wednesday evenings). This market mostly offers second-hand imported shirts and jeans and is very popular with Bangkok’s teenagers.
Wedged between Chinatown Yaowaraj and New Road, is Nakhon Kasem, the Thieves Market. As the name suggests, this ramshackle place was once renowned for selling stolen merchandise and it later became an antique market nonetheless. At present, antiques have been replaced by more mundane objects like car parts or cement mixers.
Bangkok Night Markets
The largest stretch of Bangkok night markets can be found on Soi 1, Sukhumvit Road near the railway tracks and also on Sukhumvit between Soi 5 and Soi 11, near Le Meridien Hotel and along the north end of Silom Road and lastly right in the middle of Patpong Road. Patpong Night Market has mostly imitations of designer items, DVDs, CDs and accessories on display. Hard and heavy bargaining is part of the fun.
Lumpini Night Bazaar is Chatuchak every day but at night. Located in Sathorn area and right next to Suan Lum - Lumpini Park, this night market offers everything a traveler’s suitcase can hold.
Bangkok Floating Markets
Bangkok’s floating markets in are a bit of a cliché, but one can avoid the worst commercialized ones by journeying just outside the city. Talingchan Floating Market can be reached by taxi from Sanam Luang. As it tends to get very crammed on the weekend, it is best to arrive there as early as possible. A more authentic market is Khlong Bang Wiang in Thonburi. Catch a boat from the Wat Phra Khaew pier (next to the Grand Palace); the first boat leaves at 6.15am. The market itself starts at 4am; so again, it is recommended to get an early-bird start. If you pass anywhere near the town of Samut Songkhram, the floating markets of Damnoen Saduak are definitely worth visiting.
The Art of Bargaining
First off, don't start bargaining unless you really want to buy something, though ‘practice makes perfect’. Inquire the asking price of the item you like. Open the bargaining by stating that you’d like to lower the price. The vendor will usually lower his original price, thereby signaling that he is ready to barter. Give your first price, which is naturally too low. Until a price is agreed upon you and the seller will go about it. Don’t worry about the language barrier; a pocket calculator will easily take care of that obstacle. Some say you should walk away from the seller only to return later for the best price. Try for yourself.
More travel info on Thailand in our Thailand travel tips, Thailand diving, Thailand Insider Travel Tips and Thailand culture. We also offer everything you ever need about Bangkok Sightseeing, Bangkok Shopping and Bangkok Nightlife as we take you on a tour of this fascinating paradise. Click Thailand Travel Guide to begin your trip.