Surviving Chatuchak Weekend Market (Bangkok, Thailand)

By kylienathan | Feb 25, 2021
Asia > Thailand > Bangkok

No trip to Bangkok is complete without a stop at Chatuchak Weekend Market! From unique Thai snacks and elephant pants, to knockoff clothing brands and food vendors, this market is your one-stop shop for everything! With over 10,000 vendors, you've got LOTS to explore.

But let's be real - visiting Thailand's largest outdoor market (35+ acres) that draws over 200,000 visitors every weekend, all basking in the intense heat sounds pretty daunting. And if you're on a time crunch, how can you make the most of all Chatuchak has to offer?

I've laid out important tips to help you survive the busy (and sometimes crazy) Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, Thailand!

1) Travel via the BTS (skytrain)

Bangkok is VERY busy, and with Chatuchak in the heart of it all, there's no escaping the traffic. Taxis and Grabs (Southeast Asia's equivalent to Uber) can run fairly expensive around the area, especially since Chatuchak is a tourist hotspot. Depending on where you're traveling from, your cheapest option is to travel via the BTS. Although it can get crowded during peak hours of the day, you get to avoid all that traffic and the risk of getting scammed by taxi drivers. Plus, the BTS has a station right outside Chatuchak Weekend Market!

2) Don't be afraid to bargain prices

For the typical traveler in Thailand, bargaining may feel uncomfortable (I was definitely shy). But bargaining at markets is normal, and expected from tourists. Especially if you're purchasing multiple items from a vendor, don't be afraid to ask for a deal. Naturally they'll try to sell you at a higher price, but a trick I've used to bring down the cost is to first cut it in half, and then slowly raise it. Unless it's food you're buying, definitely bargain for a better rate.

3) Pack LOTS of water

Thailand is known for its intense humidity! Be a proactive traveler and pack extra water. Don't worry if you forget - there are plenty of places to purchase drinks throughout the market, just be sure to always have a bottle on hand. No matter how long you plan on exploring the market, stay hydrated.

4) USE BAHT, not credit cards

This is a general rule of thumb for traveling around Thailand. Most places don't accept card and only have a small amount of baht on hand. As much as possible, try to pay the exact amount or something close. If you give 1000 baht to a vendor for a 50 baht purchase, (not only is it rude, but) they most likely won't have enough change and will ask you to pay a smaller amount (or they'll run to other vendors to borrow change). Because ATMs dispense baht by the 1000s, break them at your nearest 7-11.

Depending on what you plan on buying, I recommend having a few 1000 baht on hand and breaking another few 1000 baht for those smaller purchases.

5) Avoid zones 9, 11, 13, and 15 (next to the furniture)

Chatuchak features a live animal section within the market - turtles, bunnies, frogs, and fish to name a few. If you're sensitive to this nature, I HIGHLY advise you to avoid zones 9, 11, 13, and 15. If you aren't familiar with the market's layout, stay away from the outer rim next to the furniture. Luckily, these aren't large vendors, so the chances of you running into it are pretty slim - but definitely be cautious of this when exploring the market.

Ready to take on Chatuchak Weekend Market? With these tips in mind, you're good to go! Enjoy your time in Thailand!

Chatuchak Weekend Market Asia Bangkok Market Thailand

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Written by Kylie Nathan
Hi! I'm Kylie, a millennial solo traveler who said YES to pursuing wanderlust after feeling "stuck and stagnant" for years. My hope is to empower other young women to do the same and experience new perspectives through solo travel!

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