The markets of Thailand are legendary.
Whether it’s finding priceless trinkets at the Amulet Market, hunting down Pomeranian puppies at Chatachak, or mixing with the locals at the floating market in Amphawa, you can be sure that it’s covered in fine, soulless detail by Lonely Planet.
Sukhumvit has its fair share of markets, too, although these are generally a decidedly more gentrified affair.
While they may be lacking in old-town charm, they do nevertheless cater to the broad mix of tastes and sensibilities found among Sukhumvit’s eclectic population mix.
Each market has got its own unique character and each tends to attract a certain type of clientele – a clientele we intend to unfairly stereotype and run amok with here for our own mild amusement.
Hold onto your hats.
You’re a Yummy Mummy
As any yummy mummy worth their salt knows, K Village is essentially a baby Mecca with its premium maternity shops and kids’ stores. When the Farmers’ Market rolls in, things roll up a notch on the middle-class barometer: we’re talking freshly squeezed coconut water, 500 baht Ayurvedic shampoo and, naturally, a couple of miniature horses for little Alfie to ride around the craft stands on. Darling!
You’re an Arabian Prince
While the Sukhumvit street market in Nana will cater well to tourists after souvenirs, knock-off clothes and pirated DVDs, those with a taste for Middle Eastern culture head straight to Soi Arab – Sukhumvit Soi 3/1. As well as regional restaurants and shisha bars, you can get your hands on Agarwood, pipes, jewellery and some bloody good roti.
You’re an Eco-Warrior
Held regularly at the Thonglor Root Garden – a so-called ‘urban farm’ – the Root Market is a no-brainer for the eco-conscious Bangkokian. As well as fresh and organic veg for sale, there’s yoga, wellness workshops and live music (we’re guessing acoustic…). You can calm it down about your carbon footprint while you’re there – they’ve got bike racks available for those brave enough to pedal Sukhumvit.
You’re a Thai Teenager
OK, you got us – this one’s not a market (Ed: try major shopping mall). If you leave the bland safety of the international chain stores, however, and head towards the Tokyo, London and Istanbul floors, you’ll find yourself in the midst of some souq-like market stalls and shop fronts selling clothes, shoes, jewellery and toiletries. With market-like prices and enough stock to keep MBK flowing for a few days, these little stores are beloved by those lithe enough to buy their tiny clothes without the security of trying them on (“No returns!!!”). Read: Thai teens.
You’re a Hipster Culture Vulture
After popping up all over Bangkok and seemingly settling in for now at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, Artbox is not for philistines. This flea market of sorts is staged in shipping containers, selling fashion, food and drinks, and just aches progressive cool. We’re not sure we get it, but we are philistines.
What ya gonna do.
You’re an Instagram “Foodie”
With a professed taste for all things Epicurean (but no idea of how to actually cook anything), Instagram Foodies flock to the Spring Epicurean Market in Thonglor. All the big culinary names set out stalls here, from Peppina to Polpo to Paleo Robbie, while the English garden party setting is the ultimate background to oversaturate the f*** out of on Instagram.
You’re a Member of the Can’t-Afford-To-Eat-Anywhere-Else-In-Thonglor Brigade
Although sadly now in decline, the nightly food market on Sukhumvit 38 is one of the last bastions of authentic, cheap Bangkok in the rapidly gentrifying Thonglor neighbourhood. The 50 baht Khao Mun Gai is pure catnip for those attempting to live well on a budget in Sukhumvit while there’s no denying the appeal of 5 baht pork satay instead of a McDonald’s after a night on the town.
You’re an Expat at Peak Apathy
Yeah, it’s not a market; yeah, it’s overpriced; yeah, it’s as far from the ‘real Thailand’ as you can get.
We don’t care: it’s easy, there’s no haggling and I can get a hunk of cheddar and a box of PG Tips in a single swoop. DONE.