For many tourists, expats and locals, a huge attraction of the City of Angels is the brilliant Bangkok market scene.
Shopping and food are essential parts of Thai culture, and Bangkok is brimming with all kinds of markets where you can find exciting shopping experiences, load up on bargains and souvenirs, and fill your belly.
From floating markets to night markets to flower markets to weekend markets…
We’ve rounded up our ten favourite markets in Bangkok that are worth a visit or two…
Talat Rot Fai Night Market
If you’ve got a taste for anything retro you’ll love Talat Rot Fai Night Market.
This characterful and quirky market has a wealth of vintage clothes, homewares and antiques for sale, and it attracts a youthful hipster crowd nightly, thanks to some pubs and mobile bars in VW campers, tasty food stalls selling noodle and fresh seafood, and live bands.
With a bit of rummaging it’s possible to find some really unique items here, and with the fun vibe and party atmosphere you’ll probably wind up entertaining yourself here for the whole evening.
There are actually two versions of Rot Fair:
- The original Talat Rot Fai on Srinakarin Soi 51, at the rear of Seacon Square shopping mall. You’ll need to take the BTS to On Nut, then take a taxi or motorsai to the market. It’s open from 5pm to 1am, Thursday to Sunday.
- Rot Fai 2 in Ratchada is next to the National Cultural Centre MRT station. It’s open from 2pm to midnight from Thursday to Sunday.
While Rot Fai 2 is much easier to get to than the original, it is a little smaller and more popular with tourists. Still an excellent Bangkok night market to experience, however!
Bangkok Flower Market (Pak Klong Talat)
One of the most famous Bangkok markets, Pak Klong Talat is an vivid riot of colour and scent.
Vendors at this flower market work non stop all around the clock selling beautiful bouquets and garlands of marigolds, roses, tulips, lilies, orchids and just about any other flower you can think of that are imported from all over Thailand as well as the rest of the world.
Flowers are sold wholesale, so prices are low, but be prepared to buy in bulk for the best deals. Although flowers are the main focus, there’s also a thriving market for fruit and vegetables inside too.
The market used to spill over hugely to the walkways outside the main structure of the market, but a clean-up operation has seen it scaled back recently.
For tourists, the best time to visit the flower market is during the day — the market sees the most crazy activity in the early hours of the morning when Bangkok’s business traders come down to buy their flowers in bulk — but you’ll likely find it a little overwhelming at 3am!
Pak Klong Talat is located on Chak Phet Road and is best accessed by Chao Phraya river boat from Saphan Phut or Rajini piers. The market is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Bang Nam Phueng Market
One of Bangkok’s smaller floating markets, Bang Nam Phueng market is situated in a more rural part of the city, and a trip here provides a pleasant contrast to the hectic pace of Bangkok city life. Unlike some of the more famous floating markets, you’ll get to see an authentic slice of Bangkok life — not just performative scenes for tourists.
Although there are a few vendors in boats here, the majority of the market is on the riverside, and there are many different traditional Thai foods and treats available, so it’s an excellent opportunity to indulge.
Take a pew on one of the benches and dine al fresco on fresh fruits from local farms, steaming bowls of noodles with grilled meats, and seafood pancakes.
The market is a little out of the way, found in the so-called ‘Green Lung’ of Bangkok, Phra Pradaeng, on Bangnaum Road on the eastern side of the city. We’d recommend taking the cross-river ferry from Wat Bang Na Nawk and then a motosai to the market.
It’s open on Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 4 pm.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
The immense Chatuchak weekend market is famous the world over and is quite possibly the best market and most popular in Bangkok.
One of the largest weekend markets in the world, it sprawls over 38 acres, and you can find everything here including handicrafts, homewares, art and antiques, fashion and jewellery, plants, pets and pet accessories, ceramics, vintage items and much more.
Be prepared to haggle to grab yourself a bargain, and allow at least half a day or longer to immerse yourself in this unique shopping experience. We’d recommend going early to avoid the beating midday sun.
To get to Chatuchak take the BTS Skytrain to Mo Chit station. From there it’s an easy walk to the market – just follow the crowds. The market is open on Fridays from 6 pm to midnight, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am to 6 pm.
If you like the idea of Chatuchak market but are put off by the hordes of tourists and sweltering heat, consider paying the more relaxed night market version a trip instead.
Not far from Chatuchak, JJ Green market (also known as JJ Night Market) is a popular Bangkok night market with a supremely chilled atmosphere.
Shoppers come here for the eclectic array of vintage items, clothing, handicrafts and antiques on offer, and it’s also a big hit with trendy young Thais who come to hang out and enjoy the entertainments, including street artists and live music.
It’s also a great place to come to fill up on food, as there are plenty of vendors selling tasty Thai snacks, pizzas, macaroni cheese, noodles, ice creams and more.
There’s less here than you’d find at the daytime market, but less tourists and more space — if anything, you more likely to find some decent finds here.
JJ Green market can be found just behind Chatuchak market. It’s open from Thursday to Sunday from 5 pm to midnight, but is most fun at the weekend when it’s at its busiest.
Or Tor Kor Market
In the North of Bangkok, Or Tor Kor Market is a favourite destination for foodies — so much so that it was voted the 4th best fresh market in the world.
This gourmet fresh food market is housed in a huge and is well known for the quality of the produce on sale there.
There are plenty of photo opportunities here, with multicolored fruits and vegetables piled high, bowls of rich spices, meats and seafood, and a host of delicious prepared meals like duck noodles to take away, plus snacks and sweet treats such as coconut pancakes to try.
Or Tor Kor Market is on Kamphaengphet Road, opposite Chatuchak Weekend Market. It’s nearby Kamphaeng Phet MRT station and is open from 6 am to 8 pm every day.
Klong Toey Fresh Market
Another excellent market selling fresh produce, Klong Toey Fresh Market is in the middle of Bangkok’s slum district and is the starting point for many of the street food vendors selling their wares throughout the city.
This Bangkok market has a friendly atmosphere, is absolutely huge, and it’s possible to get some great deals on some of the freshest fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and seafood available in Bangkok. A visit here is well worth the trip.
It doesn’t seem quite as organised and sanitised as Or Tor Kor, but prices are definitely cheaper.
Tucked away on Rama IV Road in a concrete block building, Klong Toey Fresh Market is open every day from 6 am to 2 am. The closest public transport is the Klong Toey MRT station, around 10 minutes walk away.
For wholesale goods at rock bottom prices, head down to Chinatown and Sampeng Lane Market.
Winding narrow lanes are jam packed with cheap goodies including clothes and accessories, beauty products, jewellery, DVDs, electronics, fabrics and souvenirs. Copied DVDs and fake brand names are in abundance here too.
It can get pretty hot and chaotic at this popular market, but it is also fun. Most items are wholesale, so be prepared to buy in bulk to get the best bargains.
The labyrinthine layout of the market, and sheer number of vendors and buyers, means that your progress will be slow as you walk around — abandon all hope of a quick dash through. There are plenty of stops for street food and drinks if you need a pick-me-up.
Sampeng market is on Sampeng Lane, Soi Wanit 1, in the heart of Bangkok’s Chinatown. It’s open every day from 8 am to 6 pm.
Suan Lum Night Bazaar
In addition to a huge number of street stalls and shops in the covered market area, the mammoth Suan Lum Night Bazaar is also brimming with entertainment options — it’s a great place to take in a cabaret or magic show, listen to some live music, or experience the spectacle of Muay Thai boxing.
As you would expect there are heaps of vendors selling food to keep you filled up as you browse the handicrafts, clothes, jewellery and souvenirs. There are also some great restaurants if you fancy a full blown Thai meal too.
Situated at the busy Ratchada-Lad Prao Intersection on Ratchadaphisek Road, Suan Lum Night Bazaar is open every day from 4 pm to midnight. Take the MRT to Lat Phrao station.
Wang Lang Market
On the banks of the Chao Phraya river, this pleasantly un-touristy market is popular with locals and the large student community housed nearby.
The streets here are crammed with food stalls, making it the ideal spot to sample some delicious Thai street food such as grilled meats, sweetmeats, fresh fruit juices, and pancakes. You’ll also find a good selection of clothes, jewellery, retro items and handicrafts.
Wang Lang Market is situated at Wang Lang pier next to Siriraj Hospital on Phran Nok Road in Thonburi. That warrants a crossing of the river!
Take a ride on the Chao Phraya express boat to get there; it’s open from 10 am to 5 pm daily.
What’s your favourite Bangkok market?
Featured image is by aotara (CC BY 2.0 licence)