Ones who have visited Bangkok would usually not miss this place in their itinerary: the enormous (literally) Chatuchak weekend market (also so called Jatujak or JJ market). With the area of about 28 acres (about 11 hectare) and around 10,000 stalls (some say 15,000 stalls and it seems no one ever knows the exact number), Chatuchak weekend market claims itself as the biggest market in the country and one of the world’s largest weekend markets. Check what you can get in this market next to Chatuchak park, how to get there, some useful advises from friends, and most importantly, where to eat (halal food) in this busy market.
What you can get here. In this market, basically you can get anything you want and many things you don’t even want. The simple list of stuff you can buy here includes books (this is the main reason for me to go to this market), handicrafts, antiques & collectibles, clothing (new and used), accessories, plants, gardening tools, pets, furniture, art & gallery, ceramics, souvenirs, foods, drinks, and even massage and spa for fatigued tourists. So you wish to buy Thai benjarong? Or army pants and shoes? Or a dictionary of any language? Or a kitten? Just go to this one stop shopping market. They are there.
Precautions. Here are some useful advises collected from local friends and foreign friends who’ve aver visited this notoriously crowded and hot market:
- Better not to bring your bag (handbag or backpack) as fast-hand pickpockets can operate at any time. Though Thailand is basically a secure place to stay, but there always a rotten apple in the barrel. Not to scare you off, but once a friend was too late to find that his bag was sliced open with a sharp tool and some of his stuffs were gone when he visited the market.
- Leave your valuable things at home and bring money separated in two parts, better at your front pockets, not back pocket. Fast-hands thieves usually approach from behind.
- Chatuchak weekend market can be hot and humid, so better to visit this market early in the morning or late afternoon (weekend market opens from 6 am to 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday).
- Leave your expensive shoes at home and wear a comfortable pair of sandals as in case of rain, some parts of the market can be soaked with water up to your ankle.
- Bargaining is a must in most stalls. Some say to bargain up to 30% than offered price, but trying 50% in some cases is acceptable. Some sellers use the fixed price system so bargaining is not expected.
- This market is visited by somewhere around 200,000 to 300,000 people per day in the weekend. So for first-timer in this market, it is suggested to hand a market map that is provided in the tourist police office or information center office as it is easy to get lost in the soi of the market (don’t be too worry if you get lost inside the soi (small alley) without the map though; just get out to the main road, walk through it and you’ll find the main gate if not the smallish way out from the market).
- Smoking in this area is prohibited. Fine is as serious as 2,000 baht (it is better to spend it on books, cloths or handicraft, isn’t it?).
How to get there. The easiest way to go to this market is by BTS/skytrain and MRT. If you take BTS, stop at Mo Chit station. For MRT, you can stop at Chatuchak Park station or Kamphaengpetch station. If you get off at the latter, you’ll surface just inside the market from the underground station. See the route of MRT and BTS/skytrain below.
Where to eat halal food. Check out the market map below. Green dots represent the location of the halal foods.
- ‘Saman Islam’ food vendor. This food stall inside soi 24 offers wide options of food from buriyani rice with chicken, tom yam, to various kinds of noodle menus. Khun Fatima is the owner as well as the one in charge in her food stall. This is the only vendor offers serious food (rice and noodle based food) where others offer snacks and medium meals.
- Ramazan Doner kebab. It offers turkey style kebab. It seems that turkey foods receive a good recognition in the market as the ‘turkish ice cream’ stall (run by a native Turkish guy, I suppose) is just across to this kebab stall. There are two options for the kebab: chicken and beef.
- Chicken hotdog (sate ayam in local name) and ‘teh tarik’ stall are side by side here. Both food and drink stalls are run by southern Thailand Muslim folks.
- Ramazan Doner kebab. Another branch of number 2.
- Chicken hotdog and ‘oho’. The one so called ‘oho’ is basically chicken and beef meatballs barbeques. It’s yummy, I have to tell.
Please check the picture of each of halal food vendors mentioned above.
1. ‘Saman Islam’ food stall
2. Ramazan Doner kebab
3. Chicken hotdog (sate ayam in local name) and ‘teh tarik’ stall
4. Ramazan Doner kebab
5. Chicken hotdog and ‘oho’
That’s all about Chatuchak weekend market. Check also the gallery of Chatuchak weekend market below and the ‘Chatuchak Weekend Market’, ‘Chatuchak Weekend Market, Other Ways to Get Some Baht’ and ‘Chatuchak Park’ photo galleries in the nearby postings and get idea what Chatuchak weekend market and park are before you get there.