The weekend market is something of a tradition in Thailand and nowhere is it more popular than in Bangkok. Chatuchak (known as JJ) is the largest and most famous and is renowned for having almost anything you can possibly think of on sale, and at the best prices.
Situated on the northern point of Bangkok it is easy to get to via the BTS which opened in 2004. There is even a BTS station (Kampanghet) with an exit adjacent to the market.
Chatuchak market has grown ever since its inception in 1997 and has always been situated in its present location. The original marketplace is a reversed L contour, and stalls vary from one or two units which are 3 meters square.
A central large courtyard runs down the middle of the L shape, with a clock tower in the center. The oldest part of the market used to encompass car parking, but vehicles have now been banned, allowing more space and bringing cooler temperatures.
A recent innovation is the provision of free electric buggies for shoppers and their recently purchased goods. Chatuchak is actually split into Zones for various item sorts, but this is not strictly adhered to so you never quite know what you might stumble across. You can find clothing at the home decor section, and ornamental items in all other sections. Visitors using old maps, totally miss the newer areas which were formerly known as Chatuchak Plaza.
In this segment, the aisles are significantly wider and this tends to make it a lot cooler than the rest of the market. The new segment is mainly dedicated to household items such as lamps and wood carvings.
Just north of this section is a large area dedicated to tropical fish and all the paraphernalia associated with the keeping of both fresh and seawater creatures. The market tends to open around 10 am, but is romantically billed at Dawn till Dusk.
In early 2007, the first completely air-conditioned mall opened at Chatuchak marketplace. The new mall still maintains the marketplace experience with small stores selling a wide range of goods. This new part of the market is deceptively large and more than 50% of it is allocated to parking. It also features a huge food court incorporating many restaurants offering both Thai and western food.
Chatuchak Market is billed as the World’s Biggest Weekend Market and is home to 200,000 visitors each and every weekend. It is one of the oldest existing markets in Thailand being over seventy years old. It is one of the most iconic markets a visitor can go to and has an alluring Thai flavor.
Across the busy Kampanghet Road opposite JJ Weekend Market is the Farmers Market operated by the Ministry of Agriculture. The V20 Boutique Hotel is a 15mins gentle stroll from the market and is a great venue to base yourself for a day or three at Chatuchak Market.