If you ask most men “do you like shopping?”, you know what the answer will be from 99% of them. NO!! But I’m in that 1% category. I love shopping and no better way to start our first blog, with The Best of Thailand's Markets.
There is no better way to start your trip to #Thailand other than with a visit to one of the 5 Floating Markets around #Bangkok. Damnoen Saduak is the most famous and well known floating market but also the most touristy one. There are also other less busy or commercialised floating markets such as Amphawa, Bang Nam Pheung, Khlong Lat Mayom and Taling Chan. While #DamnoenSaduak is the biggest and most colourful floating market, it's also the busiest and requires getting there early in the morning to
avoid the mayhem and with it being approximately 100 km from Bangkok it will require an early morning start. It's also less authentic than the other markets and is mainly geared for tourists but it will give you the perfect opportunity to get that perfect photo of what the traders used to be like in Bangkok in days gone by. It's advisable to join a tour and pre-book when visiting Damnoen Saduak.
Away from the floating markets but staying with Bangkok, one of my favourite markets and the Mother of ALL markets is #ChatuchakWeekendMarket. This market is a MUST visit when you are in Bangkok. Be prepared to give yourself time as there are approximately 15000 stalls here and you can quite literally get lost in this market! Their slogan is "The Place Where You Can Find Anything You Look For", there are stalls selling everything from Plants & Flowers, Home Decor, Antiques & Art, Clothes, Collectables, Books, Food & Drink and even Pets. Even if you are not a big shopper you should visit this market as part of your itinerary. It is a big tourist attraction and can attract up 200,000 people each day. The colours, the activity and the atmosphere created by locals and tourists alike makes Chatuchak the number one market in Thailand.
The Night Markets around Bangkok are great fun also. Silom Night Market is probably the most famous because of it's location between Silom Road and #Patpong and JJ Greens Market in Chatuchak Park but there are other more authentic night markets such as Ramkhamhaeng Night Market and Saphan Phut Night Market.
These are a little bit off the beaten track but less crowed and well worth a visit or take a walk down Sukhumvit Road between Soi 3 and Soi 15. This stretch of footpath would normally take you 5 minutes to walk but from 6 pm every night the same walk could take you hours when the street stalls are set up for trading and because I only live around the corner from it, I love the activity and atmosphere on this part of #SukhumvitRoad each night. You can book an inexpensive Tour of Bangkok by Night that will take in some of these markets.
Moving North to Chiang Mai is the famous Night Bazzar on Chang Klan Road.
Every night this area of #ChiangMai comes alive with the street market covering approximately 1 Km of footpath on Chang Klan Road. This market is another favourite of mine. Chiang Mai itself is an old Thai city and has a real artisan feel about it with many art and antique shops scattered around the city so every night the Night Bazaar becomes a Mecca for the traders selling hand-made crafts and art. The Night Bazaar is not just limited to art lovers and also has the usual hundreds of stalls selling clothing, collectables, home decor, electronics to fake watches and sunglasses. Across from #ThapaeGate is Ratchadamnoen Road. Here, every Sunday from 4 pm to Midnight stretching over 1 Km down this road is The Sunday Market also known as "Walking Street". The road is completely closed off to traffic but gets quite crowded, mainly between 4 pm and 8 pm but it has the typical Sunday Market feel to it with many local families just walking up and down the street buying products and eating and drinking. It is a family day out for many locals so it has a very friendly and festive atmosphere about it with many local musicians and street entertainers playing for the crowds.
In addition to The Sunday Market is another "Walking Street" market called The Chiang Mai Saturday Market or also called Wui Lai Market on Wui Lai Road, located in the South West of the old city through the traditional silversmith quarter and opposite the Chiang Mai Gate. The Saturday Market is open every Saturday from 4 pm until midnight. Like the Chiang Mai Sunday Market the road is closed to all traffic so you can walk this stretch of Wui Lai road to browse the goods on display and bargain with the traders for their best price. For the sheer volume and variety of goods on display the Saturday Market easily matches the more well known Sunday Market and the Night Bazaar.
Because this area is the silversmith quarter, Wui Lai Road is full of Silversmith shops to visit and there are plenty of silverware and aluminium sculptures on display. Besides silverware you will also find handicrafts, bags, clothing, perfume, shoes, belts, lanterns, street performers, food stalls, wood carvings and woodwork, sketch artists, ornaments, candles and home decor. Because the last 2 markets I mentioned are obviously only on a Saturday and Sunday, it's well worth planning your trip to Chiang Mai to cover a weekend to coincide with these markets.
Moving South of Bangkok is the #HuaHin Night Market. It is located in the centre of town and runs up from Petchkasem Road to the railway line and opens from around 6 pm. You will find countless stalls selling delicious food that is freshly cooked and served to you within minutes. Other than the food, you'll discover an overwhelming variety of local handicrafts, souvenirs and clothing on sale. The night market can get very hot and busy at weekends, so take your time here. Prices can be a little bit more expensive than other markets but as usual in Thailand you will find good value for money.
#PhuketWeekendMarket is another market that would easily rank in the Top 10 markets in Thailand. Located just outside Phuket Town, the market is also known locally as Naka Market due to it's proximity to Naka Temple. It is one of those markets that you will literally get everything here. The Phuket Weekend Market has two sections to it, one is covered and the other is open air. In the covered section you will find stalls mainly selling second hand goods and the open air section selling everything you can imagine from electronics to handbags to watches to jewellery to clothing. Even if you're not a shopper it is well worth a visit and like The Saturday and Sunday Markets in Chiang Mai you should coincide your trip to #Phuket to include a weekend.
The #MaeklongRailwayMarket has to get a mention. Some of my friends back home have asked me "is that real"? YES! The market is on the track and the train goes through the middle of the market. Whenever a train approaches, the stalls are moved back from the track, to be replaced once the train has passed. This market isn't a typical tourist market and more for locals and is one of the biggest fresh seafood markets in Thailand, however it has become quite famous in recent times from being seen in certain TV adverts across different parts of the world and now The Maeklong Railway Market is a tourist attraction in Thailand.
Visiting Thailand markets is a way to sample real Thai life, local life and you can see that the minute you walk through them. From the colours, the food, the smell, the atmosphere, the friendliness, the bustling and the bargaining, they all add to a great experience when visiting a Thai market. You don't have to be a shopper to sample a Thai market but it helps! Finding something original and unique takes a little more perseverance, but there is enough to choose from that you will certainly find the ideal souvenir or product to buy eventually.