Travellers who enjoy shopping should make sure that they visit Chatuchak market while spending time in Bangkok. Shopping at Chatuchak market is one of the most popular things to do in Thailand and the market covers around 35 acres. This makes it the largest outdoor market in the whole of Asia and there are more than eight thousands stalls, each piled high with goods. Chatuchak market receives more than 20,000 visitors on the weekends and this is a good place to stop by during Bangkok day tours.
The stalls at Chatuchak market are arranged into different sections according to the types of goods they sell. The stalls are also represented on a number of large maps that are situated around the market and coloured coded according to the section they can be found in. Knowing which section to head for makes exploring Chatuchak market a little easier, although there is still an overwhelming number of stalls to be found in each section.
There are eleven main categories of goods to explore at Chatuchak market. Clothing and accessories is the largest category and can be found in sections 2-6 as well as 10-26. Handicrafts are situated in sections 8-11, while antiques and collectibles are arranged in section 1 and section 26. However, many of the categories of goods are situated in several different sections of the market, and the best way to find your way around is to pick up one of the free foldable maps that are available at the market’s information kiosks.
While the centre of the market is open to the beating sun, a series of 27 alleyways branch off the heart of the market, leading shoppers into its depths. Another good way to navigate through the market is to look for the numbers at the end of the alleyways, which run in order. Remembering these numbers will help you remember where to return to if you see something that you want to buy later.
Although the market is famous for its large pet section, which sells a large number of animals including exotic animals, many of these so-called pets are kept in cramped and unsuitable conditions and animal lovers would probably be better off avoiding this section altogether.
When it comes to purchasing items at Chatuchak market, the bartering system is applied by most traders and people who are able to drive a hard bargain will be able to walk away with some great deals. The secret behind bartering in Thailand is make a counter offer of around half of the original price (or as low as you dare) and keep the conversation friendly. Many traders will not give in until they have made a sale, so only start bartering if you are serious about buying.
People who are on holiday in Thailand may find that Chatuchak market gets rather hot. The coolest time to visit is in the morning, and this is also the time to get the best bargains. Shoppers should make sure they carry cash in small bills with them, as there are only a few ATMs scattered around the market and they can be difficult to find. It is also a good idea to wear loose, light clothing as well as sunglasses and suntan lotion to avoid becoming burned while exploring the outdoor sections of the market.
Chatuchak Weekend Market is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 09:00 to 18:00. The easiest way to get there is by taking the BTS (Skytrain) to Mo Chit station or the BTS (subway) to Chatuchak Park station.
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