Discovery >

My surprising visit to the Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok

March 5, 2014 by Khiri Travel | Filed Under: ,

I don’t really remember my first market in Asia.  I know we walked through Chinatown during our first visit to Bangkok.  We found an alley way that was loaded with Chinese goods, crap from wall to wall, people everywhere, Eric towering over them all.  I could never lose him in the crowd.  I remember the excitement of walking the night market in Luang Prabang, Laos, enjoying the shopping but recognizing it was entirely touristy.  I remember my first tour of the wet market in Luang Prabang, with a chef who explained the various kinds of rice, strange meats, and different kinds of vegetables I was unfamiliar with.

Amber picture

Typical travel writing always dictates that the way to understand the local culture is to walk through the local market.  And, to some extent that is true.  But, I have seen so many markets, and many of them are so similar, particularly in Southeast Asia.  In most tourist spots, the market has turned into something entirely inauthentic – the same collection of Chinese made goods, both clothing and toys for locals as well as the souvenirs that are ubiquitous across the region – each pretending to be a locally made artifact that explains something about the local culture.

I have wandered through numerous wet markets, the markets that sell the foods, fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish.  I have smelled them, I have walked carefully in my flip flops through the oozing goo on the floors. Until I live some place long enough where a trip to the market is necessary in order to buy my groceries, I don’t generally rush right out to the local market in every town I visit.

This is why I ignored the conventional advice that dictated I tour Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok.

But for some reason, during this visit, I wanted to go.  So, we boarded the BTS and rode it out to Mo Chit with the rest of the market-goers, to explore Chatuchak.

Amber picture

I was entirely surprised.  Yes, I saw the same souvenirs I have seen for sale in Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang, and Siem Reap (all made in China) …I saw the requisite I Love BKK t-shirts and the Singha Beer t-shirts.  Eric and I each bought a pair of sunglasses, for a $1.  I saw buddha statues in every size, shape, and form.  Some might be authentic, but more likely than not, they are made in China.

I saw more than that, though.  In the dozens of alley ways loaded with stalls, I saw:

A cheesy Spanish guy hawking tapas:

Amber picture

Kitschy lawn ornaments: 

Amber picture

Rows and rows of fashionable items, artistic t-shirts, trendy, Thai hipster garb, and more, which obviously attracted the locals for a weekend jaunt to the market, more than the tourists (sizes were often not big enough for tourists).

Fashion: 

Amber picture

 

Amber picture

Handmade, brightly colored earrings (I bought 3 pairs for $1):

Amber picture

There were fruits, teas, desserts, and more, typical of a local market, but often brilliantly arranged.

Stacks of bright red rambutan: 

Chatuchak.Weekend.Market.Bangkok

We ate steaming noodle soup:

Chatuchak.Weekend.Market.Bangkok 8

We saw freshly grilled prawns and other seafood: 

Amber picture

We drank bubble tea: 

We even got a massage in the middle of the market: 

Amber picture

 

Amber picture

I was entirely surprised by the experience.  Although tourists swarm to the market like mosquitos to a lamp post, there seemed to be locals there too, particularly trendy youngsters looking for unique clothing items.  I saw things in the Chatuchak Market that I have just not seen elsewhere.  That was refreshing.

Although the size of the Chatuchak Market can be intimidating (yes we got lost trying to escape it), it was a lovely way to spend a few hours on a Sunday.  And, it was one of the few markets I have seen where I would actually return to get lost again.

 

Latest post

Phuket Mixer: Chalong Rum, Sugarcane & Lemon

Thailand is the world’s fourth largest producer of sugarcane, the raw material for rum. The Chalong Bay brand of rum is made with the finest selection of Thai sugarcane and centuries old French distillation methods. Chalong, translated as “celebration” in Thai, was aptly selected as the name of a product that has already won some […]

Read More

Discovering the Rich Cultural Past of Rural Puttalam

A cultural melting pot, Puttalam’s rural ambience and serene coastal beauty make it a fascinating place to visit while staying at the luxurious Bethany 101, a colonial icon.

Read More

Khiri Travel Reveals New Myanmar Tours at ITB Asia

BANGKOK, 16 October, 2012 – Khiri Travel will promote three innovative Myanmar travel products at ITB Asia, which runs 17-19 October in Singapore this week.

Read More

The Best Coffee in Southern Laos at Koffie’s Place

Enjoy a cup of joe and take a tour of family coffee farms One of the only places in Southern Laos with a selection of top quality coffee is Koffie’s Place, about 12 km from Paksong. Koffie’s Place is the restaurant at Tat Fane Resort on the road from Pakse/Paksong to Tat Lo/Attapeu. The twin […]

Read More

Sign Up for Our Newletter