Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is an incredible place filled with the familiar and the exotic — steeped in culture and tradition, and yet unfailingly modern with skyscrapers scattered throughout the city, home to over 8 million people. As one of the most tourist-friendly places in the world, Bangkok never ceases to amaze, even with returning visits.
And if you’re not sure what to do in Bangkok, Neue happily recommends checking out the markets! Chock full of fashion, food and people-watching, the markets in Bangkok are one of the absolute must-visit places when you make a trip here. We’ve also assembled a list of the most popular and well-known markets in Bangkok below for you!
#1. Asiatique The Riverfront
The Asiatique the Riverfront is a unique blend of the ubiquitous night market, a middle-class mall and of all things, an amusement park. One of Bangkok’s most popular night markets, Asiatique plays host to about 1,500 stalls and 40 restaurants — not including the amusement park rides, as well as entertainment in the form of cabaret shows, a traditional Thai puppet performance and live Muay Thai matches!
I found the market to also be particularly tourist-friendly; I bought a pair of sandals from a lady whose English was markedly fluent, and pretty much every vendor I came across had more than a basic grasp of the language. However, that also meant the prices at the market are a little more hiked up, but don’t let that deter you! With the stylish choices of clothing, accessories and bags, those prices are still a bargain for that special piece. And if you’re not really there for the shopping, you also have your pick of restaurants that overlook the river — dinner and a view, what more could you ask for? The market is open daily from 5pm in the evening until midnight, perfect for a cool evening stroll.
#2. Pratunam Market
If you’re looking to haul a luggage full of fashionable items ranging from women’s clothing to bags and maybe even a wig or two, then you can’t miss out on Pratunam Market! The items here have wholesale prices, which means the more you buy, the cheaper things are. Here’s how drastic the price discounts can be: I found a shop selling Thai skirts made of silk and cotton that sold a piece for 250 baht, and it dropped down to 160 baht if I were to buy 3 or more. Guess what I chose?
The market, which is open all day from as early to 5am until late in the evening on a daily basis, is semi-indoor, away from Bangkok’s heat and contains a sprawling network of alleyways that may lead you to your next bargain treasure! However, be aware that Pratunam Market neighbours the famous Platinum Fashion Mall and is certainly an additional stop for those in the area whose mission is to shop until they drop. Crowds will throng the area, particularly between 11am to 3pm, and it can get incredibly busy, but that only adds to the charm of the whole place, in my opinion.
#3. Sampeng Lane Market
If you’re craving for that authentic feel, perhaps you’ll find it at Sampeng Lane Market. Located in Bangkok’s very own Chinatown, the entire place feels incredibly reminiscent of Bangkok from decades past. As soon as you step into one of the alleys that make up the market, you’re bombarded with sounds and smells, as well as the throngs of crowds. Peruse the numerous stalls selling jewellery, children’s clothes, handicrafts, dried food, and cosmetics, among other things, including a couple of Miniso shops hidden in its midst.
You’re also bound to find the cheapest prices here, especially when you enter wholesale territory. There’s no particular layout to Sampeng, which means you’re free to lose yourself in the many small, cramped streets — I took a good two hours to explore the market, and I don’t think I covered the entirety of the whole place. However, do note that it gets hot and humid really quickly here, as it’s an outdoor market, and while it’s open daily from early in the morning, most stalls start closing shop around 5 or 6 in the evening.
#4. Talad Rot Fai Ratchada Market
This market is probably the most Instagram-worthy one on this list, thanks to the abundance of warm, hanging string lights and the brightly-coloured tents all neatly lined up in rows. Talad Rot Fai Ratchada Market is actually the smaller version of two similar Rot Fai markets, but it’s a lot more accessible, thanks to the nearby MRT stop. Open from Thursday to Sunday, 6pm to midnight, Ratchada offers an assortment of women’s fashion, accessories, shoes, bags and handicrafts, as well as plenty of street food!
While it’s smaller than the other Rot Fai markets, by no means does it disappoint! There’s plenty to buy if you’re on a shopping hunt, or sample the local delicacies here — including exotic snacks like fried sago worms and other creepy crawlies, if you’re looking for an adventure. And when you’re tired of all of that, take refuge at the many eating establishments with rooftop seating with a view that overlooks the market; perfect for that Instagram post with the retro filter for your feed.
#5. Chatuchak Weekend Market
And now we’ve arrived at one of the largest outdoor weekend markets in the world: Chatuchak Weekend Market. Now considered as a landmark of the city and a must-visit for tourists, Chatuchak, also known as Jatujak, covers an area of approximately 25 acres, and offers a whopping number of over 15,000 stalls. The market also sees more than 200,000 visitors every day that it’s open, which is Friday to Sunday. It’s divided into 27 sections in a surprisingly orderly manner, but it might not be possible to cover the entire market in one day!
Among the many things the market offers are: clothing and accessories, handicrafts, home appliances and furniture, plants and gardening tools, books, antiques and ceramics, to name some of them! While bargain finds might not be as frequent here, you’ll probably still be able to find whatever you’re looking for here. One of the best ways to take on this market is to pick one starting place, and explore as you go — there’s really no better way to immerse yourself in the whole experience.
Getting to Bangkok from Brunei
Interested in giving these markets a closer look? We don’t blame you, and here are a couple of ways to get to the city from Brunei.
A direct flight using Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) from the Brunei Darussalam International Airport is only a mere three hours, and won’t set you back too far ahead, even if you decide to arrive in the evening.
AirAsia also offers flights from Brunei to Bangkok with a transit in KLIA2, Kuala Lumpur.
Time to pack your bags, book those tickets and explore the markets and everything else Bangkok has to offer!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A Bruneian writer with a penchant for never finishing
her stories, because there’s always more to be discovered.
Enjoys travelling and coffee.