Chatuchak Weekend Market is not just the largest weekend market in Thailand, it’s the largest in the world.
There are over 15,000 stalls of all sorts selling everything from clothes and artifacts to furniture and live animals, and much more.
The JJ market, as it’s usually abbreviated from “Jatujak”, is Bangkok’s most famous, enjoyable, and exhausting shopping experience and is one spot that is a must have in your travel itinerary
Chatuchak Weekend Market – a shopper’s paradise
The Chatuchak Weekend Market is virtually a shopper’s paradise for those of you who like a bit of crazy shopping and haggling for a good bargain!
The place is amazing simply in the wide variety of goods on offer.
Apart from traditional Thai items, you could pick up anything and everything that you can possibly think of.
From contemporary art to household cutlery, exotic plants, to Thai sculptures, clothes, handcrafted stainless steel cutlery, candles, ceramics, contemporary paintings, you name it, they have it!
If you have several hours to spare, it is also a fun place to browse at whim and enjoy the hectic, yet enjoyable atmosphere surrounding the place.
Flea market lovers will love sections of this market which sell little knick-knacks ranging from coins, stamps, Buddha amulets, antique books, collector’s toys, china ware, ornaments and antique telephones.
Aside from trendy one-off clothes and accessories, other best buys include antique lacquer ware, traditional cotton clothing, crafts from northern Thailand, jeans, silver jewelry and ceramics.
Clothing, clothing, clothing
If you are a clothes horse, the Chatuchak Weekend Market is your ideal destination since more than one third of the market is dedicated to stalls selling clothes.
Whether it is sarongs, T-shirts, jeans, Thai cotton dresses or Thai and Chinese Silks, you have it all here.
Bargain till you drop
Like in many markets in Bangkok there is plenty of bargaining that you will have to do.
It would be a safe bet to quote a price 50% less than what is being asked for. However, you would get a good bargain in products like Thai silks, handicrafts, gems and jewelry, soft furnishings, wooden carvings, and Thai furniture, which would cost much more in other markets around Bangkok.
Wildlife and plants
Yet another interesting section of the Chatuchak Weekend Market is the wildlife and plants section.
You can have your heart filled with exotic flowers, feng-shui bamboos, orchids, and many more.
The pet section sells all sorts of birds, dogs and cats, and other exotic animals, too. Fishes and aquariums are a popular item to be seen everywhere around the market, especially the iridescent red and blue Siamese fighting fish which are kept in individual jars and shielded from each other’s aggressive stares by sheets of cardboards.
The animal section is also known to be the hub as a clearing-house for protected and endangered species such as gibbons, palm cockatoos, and Indian pied hornbills, many of them smuggled in from Camodia and Laos and sold to private collectors and foreign zoos.
You might also come across illegal cockfights in the back section where demonstrations are continuous.
For reptile lovers, the Chatuchak Weekend Market offers all kinds of rare and poisonous snakes, frogs, geckos, turtles and even baby alligators!
Other interesting items on sale
Most shoppers swear by the amazing prices at the Chatuchak Weekend Market.
And if you are on a tight budget, it would be well advised to not venture on any shopping trips before you visit this immense market as you might just happen to find the same products for a lot less.
An interesting tip to your shopping trip would be to check out on Thai furniture, which is beautifully handcrafted with a lot of love to detail and perfection.
Another interesting buy could be stonework designed for creative use of water.
For the hungry visitors there is no shortage on food outlets, particularly at the southern end of market.
You can sample some of the exotic local street food here such as Pad Thai and other famous Isaan dishes (check our street food guide).
Since the Thais love their food, you will never be too far from any food stall – whether it be a small noodle stall between two noisy animal shops, or a pushcart selling small Thai snacks in the middle of a seemingly endless crowd of shoppers.
The sheer size put into perspective
The Chatuchak Weekend Market, which is situated near the northern edge of Bangkok, is more than 20 years old and ever growing in size.
Housing more than 15,000 stalls in a total land area of 35 acres, the market is thought of as one of the biggest in the world, as far as weekend markets are concerned.
With around 200,000 visitors and an estimated 30 million Baht (US$ 750,000) spend each day; the market is a huge storehouse of traditional Thai handicrafts and all sorts of knick knacks one can possibly think of.
How to get there
The Chatuchak Weekend Market is located towards the North of Bangkok.
You can easily get there by hopping on the BTS skytrain and getting off at Mo Chit station, descending via exit 1 and 3, where the market is located adjacent to Chatuchak Park.
Another option is to use the MRT metro, getting of at Khamphaeng Phet station and using exit 1 which will take you right up to the market.
Alternatively of course you can take taxi to drive you there. The fare from downtown Bangkok to the Market costs about 120 Baht and will take about 20 to 30 minutes.