Travel tips and advice: Six of the best Bangkok markets

Although famed for its glamorous mega-malls, the most authentic and fun place to shop in Bangkok are its buzzing markets. Here are six of the best where you can bag a bargain:

CHATUCHAK WEEKEND MARKET

The granddaddy of all flea markets, held on the outskirts of Bangkok every Saturday and Sunday, covers an enormous 27 acres, with more than 15,000 stalls selling every conceivable item you ever (and never) wanted. It's a great place to source locally made souvenirs, Buddha statues, cheap clothing and even animals (including some dubious, possibly endangered species masquerading as pets); everything is sold in sections, so pick up a map to help negotiate the maze. And when you become overwhelmed with heat or choice, stop off for a relaxing foot massage or a cold Singha at one of the many food stalls. See chatuchak.org

PAK KLONG TALAT FLOWER MARKET

The best time to visit Bangkok's 24-hour wholesale flower market is pre-dawn, when the fragrant truckloads have just arrived and sales for religious offerings are at their most frenetic. During the day, it's a more tranquil scene, more conducive for photographing mounds of marigolds and purple orchids, as well as watching intricate garlands being hand-strung. Tours, cooking classes and flower art workshops are available to make the most of the market experience and give an insight into Buddhist traditions. See marketexperiences.com

JJ GREEN NIGHT MARKET

Since opening in 2012, this night market, just down the road from Chatuchak, has gained a reputation as the coolest place to shop in Bangkok, particularly if you love retro fashion, vintage collectables and even classic motorcycles. Beyond the permanent stalls, the market extends into the carpark where vendors lie their goods on the ground or in the trunk of their car. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 6pm-1.30am, it's a fun place to hang out, eat street food and party at one of its many bars, some of them featuring live music. See jjgreen.org

TALAT ROT FAI NIGHT MARKET

Also known as the Train Market (due to its former location on train tracks), this hip night market sells collectables and vintage one-offs, with an incredible and eclectic array that's bound to inspire and empty your wallet. As well as a dedicated section selling guaranteed authentic antiques from around the world, there is also a regular market zone selling fashion and homewares, as well as a section for individual traders with their wares laid out on the ground. There's street food galore as well as a row of cool bars and restaurants near the entrance. Located in the outer suburbs at Srinakarin Soi 51, just behind Seacon Square Shopping Mall. See bangkoknightmarket.com

BOX SPACE RATCHAYOTHIN

Jumping on the recycled shipping container bandwagon, Box Space, not far from Chatuchak, is a stylish, youth-oriented market showcasing the talents of local designers and entrepreneurs. Illuminated by fairy lights with accompaniment by local musicians, this intimate space is an entrancing place to explore, with a selection of bars and restaurants completing the Instagrammable shopping experience. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 5pm to midnight. See boxspace-ratchayothin

ASIATIQUE THE RIVERFRONT

Although Bangkok's most commercial and touristy market, Asiatique's riverside location, a short walk from Saphan Taksin BTS station and the ferry terminal, makes it the most accessible to visit. Occupying restored warehouses of the East Asiatic Company, this attractive complex pays homage to Bangkok's history as a trading centre, with more than 2500 small shops selling handicrafts, fashion and home furnishings at set prices. There are also more than 40 restaurants and bars, while the famous Joe Louis Puppet Theatre also occupies one of the buildings. See bangkoknightmarket.com

Comments