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Chatuchak market; a structured chaos

When in Bangkok for the weekend, Chatuchak market is thé place to go shopping. With over 15,000 stalls, it is one of the biggest weekend markets in the world. Chatuchak market found its origin 70 years ago, and has relocated many times, before getting a permanent venue at Chatuchak in 1982. Every weekend, over 200,000 tourists and locals visit the market to try to get the best deals in Bangkok. Don’t be afraid to barter! Put on your best smile and try politely to get a good price. It is okay to walk away because there are many stalls and you might get a better deal elsewhere.

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Being one of the largest weekend markets in the world, Chatuchak offers almost anything. Although it seems as an unstructured bunch of stalls put together under a roof, it is actually a very organized market. There are 27 sections, with many different stalls, so there is something to find for everyone. Furthermore, the market has multiple courier services such as DHL on site, so you can immediately send your new stuff home! Especially relevant; free maps are available at the information kiosks to help you navigate through the stalls.

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Chatuchak market is open every Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm. The best time to arrive is early in the morning, this in order to beat the crowds, and the heat, that turn up around midday. It is common to spend 3-5 hours here in order to browse around and find the best deals. In order to make the most out of your day, it is best to wear light clothing and good walking shoes. Protect yourself from the sun and drink enough water. In addition, bring a backpack for all your new goodies, but wear it on the front, and not on your back, because there are pickpockets. Finally, bring enough cash so you don’t have to search for an ATM when you just found a great bargain! Chatuchak market is easily reachable by BTS Skytrain, or MRT.

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The different sections:
  • Section 1: Collectible antiques, Thai musical instruments, books, plants, coconut ice-cream shop
  • Section 2 & 4: Upmarket fashion retailers, local Thai clothing and jewelry designers, memorabilia orange juice shop
  • Section 3: Various foods local and international including Japanese
  • Section 5 & 6: Vintage and used clothing and shoes
  • Section 7: Local artists; painters, sculptors area and Thai restaurants
  • Section 8: Viva 8 bar; Spanish Paella, Thai carvings, western size clothing and spa
  • Section 9, 10 & 11: Thai handicrafts, ceramic ware, Burmese lacquer ware, artificial flowers and western size clothing
  • Section 12 & 14: Latest fashion trends
  • Section 13: Thai souvenirs and pets (no wildlife or illegal animal trade)
  • Section 15: Pets and pet accessories
  • Section 16, 17 & 18: Outdoor clothing and equipment
  • Section 19: Food, home decor, dining ware and various ceramics
  • Section 20 & 22: Thai and international clothing, bags, shoes and accessories
  • Section 21: Fruit, vegetables and dried food
  • Section 23 & 24: Silver jewelry and semi-precious stones
  • Section 25: Thai silk, ceramics and Hill Tribe items
  • Section 26: Antiques, furniture and collectibles, decorative home accessories and silverware
  • Section 27: Books, collectibles and Thai handicrafts

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