From maze-like markets to mammoth malls, Bangkok is every shopaholic’s paradise. With everything available from quaint, local sea shell key-chain souvenirs to world-class designer goods, here’s an easy guide to navigating Bangkok’s immense city-centre shopping terrain on the Bangkok Mass Transit System (more commonly known as the BTS or Skytrain). You might not be able to beat the heat but zipping above the jammed-packed roads on the Skytrain, you will definitely beat the traffic…and that means more time for shopping!
BTS STATION: MO CHIT
Mo Chit BTS station connects true shopaholics to Thailand’s largest outdoor market – Chatuchak Weekend Market and indoor mall JJ Mall right next door.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Take Exit 1 from Mo Chit BTS Station and follow the signs and crowd walking towards the market entrance about 10 minutes away. Alternatively, you can also take the underground train (MRT) to Kampheng Phet station, which exits right in the middle of the market (take the BTS to Asok interchange station and switch over to the MRT system).
Established in 1942, Chatuchak Weekend Market (also known locally as JJ Market) was originally part of a national policy that required every province in Thailand to have its own market. Today, the market has more than 8,000 stalls and vendors divided into 27 sections offering a wide variety of products including:
- Section 1: Amulets, books, collectibles, food shops, café
- Section 2 to 4: Collectibles, home décor, paintings, terra cotta
- Section 5 to 6: Clothes, adornments, miscellaneous products
- Section 7 to 9: Antiques, furniture, ceramics, handicrafts
- Section 10 to 24: Clothes, consumer products, adornments, household appliances
- Section 17 to 19: Ceramics, fresh and dry food
- Section 22 to 26: Antiques, furniture, handicrafts
- Section 27: Books, food and dessert shops, collectibles
Open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the market is very popular with locals and tourists because there’s so much to explore and the prices are very reasonable. Many tourists enjoy shopping for Thai handicrafts and decorative items – you’ll find the largest variety here in Bangkok.
Tips for shopping at Chatuchak Market:
- Visit the market in the morning time because it can get very warm and crowded later in the day.
- Keep about 3 – 4 hours to explore because there’s lot to see and shop.
- Wear a hat and sunglasses.
- Stay hydrated – there are many vendors throughout the market offering cold beverages.
- Don’t carry purses with long straps or big back packs. We recommend wearing a small fanny pack / waist pack.
- Carry cash – most vendors do not have credit card facilities. There are some ATM machines located throughout the market.
- If shopping in a group be sure to set a meeting point in case someone gets lost (a popular meeting point is the large clock tower right in the centre of the market). The market is very large and can be confusing – a good way to keep a track of where you are is to keep a note of the section numbers as you walk by them.
- Take breaks – there are some small restaurants and bars located inside the market to catch a quick bite or cool drink.
- You may feel overwhelmed but remember to have fun. It’s a once in a lifetime experience!
Hours: FRI – SUN – 09.00 – 18.00
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