My second day in Bangkok and I’m trying to figure out how to make the most of my four days here. The first in my list was Chatuchak Market since it is only open on weekends, I had to no choice but to start with this visit. I booked a hotel located in Rattanakosin district. I chose this location since the Grand Place and main temples are within walking distance. However, everything else is quite far challenging since there are no metro or train stations close by.
I was attempting to be adventurous, so I opted to take the local bus. I rely 95% on all my trips on Google Maps (I am also a Google Local Guide), so I checked the bus routes available and also asked at hotel reception desk, just in case. I had now all the information I needed so I left to my Sunday venture.
I walked five minutes from my hotel to the bus stop and waited for about 20 minutes, but there was no sign of the bus numbers I needed. That gave me a good time to observe the traffic police officer. It seems each bus stop has an officer, who oversees that buses drivers stops and leave in a safe manner. I nearly feel sorry for him because it was boiling hot at 34C Celsius, yet he was wearing his uniform which consisted of long trousers, long sleeve shirt, vest, helmet, sunglasses and a face mask (I assume, to protect him from sunburn). I guess officers are accustomed to it but I could bare to imagine myself in his shoes.
After waiting for twenty minutes I decided to ask him for directions, this is when I realised I was waiting on the wrong side of the street, nice one Google maps! …. well, that is what I said 95% reliable.
I crossed the congested road, waited for another 30 minutes until I finally got my bus. I got in and sat down, a few minutes later, a lady came to collect my fare, which was 17bath (£0.40). Some buses in Bangkok have air conditioners but some others don’t. I was so pleased that I got one with air conditioner. After lots of traffic and 40 minutes’ journey, I eventually arrived at my stop (Google maps served me well on this one)
Chatuchak Market has been running for over 70 years and is one of the largest markets in the world, with fixed 8000 stalls, and 15000 if the informal vendors are added. It covers 26 sections as shown in the picture.
I arrived there around 10:30 am, as I had read on the web that there’s plenty to see and do. I was lucky to bump into a tourist officer who kindly provided me with a map and informative leaflet about the market, however, he thought I was Korean so I had to “fight” for my English version!
This market is well attended by people of all ages, Thai as well as several tourists. A system of narrow roads link the sections of the market. The stalls are very close to each other. I reckon you could buy nearly anything here, food, antiques, clothing, furniture, art paintings, pets, plants, you name it. I strolled around for a while, stopping at some handicraft shops, and even bought a little pressie for my pretty niece. I had some tasty snacks from the kiosks vendors, which included sweet fruits and savory ones, chicken and sausages. They were extremely cheap and delicious. I walked approximately three hours, at that point I decided to enjoy a foot and shoulder massage, I paid 200 bath (£4 or COP17000), for 45 minutes.
I also visited various clothing stalls and managed to get myself four new dresses, all perfect for this hot weather. The most expensive one cost me 300 bath, this, after a couple of minutes bargaining! (£7 or COP25000). I could not stop thinking that this would be like Disneyland for my mother.
The market was very busy, but I had seen worst crowds in other markets. The restaurant and local shops provided me with a good insight of the market. I could compare it to a place in my native Bogota called Pasaje Rivas, only 200 times bigger! and with a boiling hot temperature.
At around 3 pm I decided to return to the hotel, only this time I wanted more adventure, so I decided to walk the over 9 Km on foot 😊, thanks to Google that is possible you know? I managed to walk for 1hr 30min and went through various “dodgy” areas, but it was all fine… until the battery of my phone died, (I normally the phone all the time so battery last me much less than regular people, no surprise why my ex-colleagues in Discover gave me an iPhone charger as a leaving pressie, lol). At that point, I had to take a taxi but I knew I was very close! I would have the last 25 minutes’ walk if it wasn’t for the battery.
For more information about the market Click here 🙂