One of the things South East Asian countries are known for is their shopping. Bangkok is no different. It has plenty of malls, markets and stalls to rival its neighbouring counterparts. While I enjoy shopping when I’m travelling I don’t usually consider it sight-seeing or a travel attraction. However in Bangkok there are a number of markets which are popular attractions in their own right.
~ Chatuchak Weekend Market
The Chatuchak weekend market is a travel attraction in its own right. It houses over 8,000 stalls selling a large variety of items. They sell anything from grilled octopus to babies clothes to organic soap to plants! Prices do need to be bargained down to get a good deal. While there were lots of tourist, it strangely had a local feel to it.There are colour coded maps which tell you roughly where things are but it isn’t in an organised manner. The maps located at the main entry points to the markets and available on their website.
We spent a couple of hours there and only covered a small area. You could spend anywhere from an hour picking up knick-knacks to a day furnishing your house and garden! There is something for everyone.Style wise, wear anything casual! It gets quite crowded so a crossbody bag is useful to reduce the risk of pick pockets.
It is open on the weekend as its name suggests, from morning to evening around 6pm. It is best to go in the morning as it gets very hot in the middle of the day. We tried going in the late afternoon/evening which was slightly cooler but still felt hot.
To get there catch a BTS Saphin Taksim to Sala Daeng then walk to MRT Silom. From MRT Silom station take the underground to Kamphaengphet station (not Chatuchak Park). Walk out of Kamphaengphet station and you are in the Chatuchak weekend market.
~ Damnouen Saduak Floating Market at Ratchaburi
Floating markets were a way of life. Prior to development of Thailand, there used to be rivers and jungles in Thailand. Boats were used for transportation and trade. Trade happened on and between the boats.
Fast forward to now, floating markets have become quite a tourist attraction. The market stalls are still on boats but there are shop fronts on the river bank too. You will need to ride a paddle boat to reach the stalls. The vendors start the bargaining process if you seem remotely interested in purchasing an item(s). Prices of food are fixed.To get to the floating market, take a tour or catch a public bus to the main pier. At the main pier, jump on a long tail motorised boat to the floating market. From the main area of the floating market, take a paddle boat through the market stalls. The floating market sell lots of food, clothing, souvenirs, accessories etc.The floating market was a fantastic experience. I would suggest going to a quieter one if you are not a fan of crowds as this one was particularly aimed at tourist. We joined a tour which mainly provided transport and included the long tail boat ride, lunch and an elephant show and crocodile farm.
I loved the exhilaration of sitting in the long tail boat speeding through the river with the water lapping at the side of the boat.Followed by the experience of meandering by boat through the market stalls! We picked up some food along the way to enjoy as we sat in a the paddle boat soaking it all in. Definitely a must when in Thailand.
The weather in Bangkok gets very hot so a casual light outfit is recommended and shoes with a good grip. You do not want to slip into the river!
Asiatique is a night market open from 5 pm till late. Most of the stalls were small shops selling goods. There were some open air stalls.
Items cost less than the other markets we ventured to but it was much less authentic. The food was also overpriced. Additionally most of the items were a fixed price.There is a free shuttle boat from Saphan Taksim pier. Captcha a BTS to Saphan Taksin station then walk to the pier. The free shuttle boat runs between the market and Saphan Taksin pier. It has a red flag saying “Asiatique”. The boat runs every 10 minutes and the last boat back from Asiatique to the Saphan Taksin pier is 11.30pm.I would skip this market if you are pressed for time as local experience can be found elsewhere.
MBK houses a huge variety of stores. The stores at MBK purchase their items from Platinum Fashion Mall (see below) and re-sell the goods at MBK. It can be overwhelming shopping at MBK. I recommend allowing yourself time to browse if you are planning to shop here. There are many stores which sell the same items. It is worth looking around different stores as you may find yourself a better price on the exact item!
~Siam Paragon and Central World
Siam Paragon and Central World are the high-end shopping malls in Bangkok. You will find brands such as Longchamp, Kate Spade, Coach etc. There is a massive beauty hall in Siam Paragon. There was even a NYX make up stand alone store! I love NYX make up brand. The Siam Paragon food court (Paragon Food Hall) boasts a variety of food items from all around the world. It is even listed on Trip Advisor as a place to eat. In the Paragon Food Hall section, money needs to be charged on a food hall card at the information desk to pay for food and drink. Excess money left on the card can be refunded to you. You will need to get your refund from the information desk.
~Platinum Fashion Mall and Palladium World Shopping Mall
The locals shop at these the two shopping malls. While we didn’t shop at either, I have been informed by a local this is the place to shop if you want a good bargain. It cuts out the middle man!