Mar­ket May­hem

Escape! Malaysia - - Bangkok -

No trip to Bangkok is re­ally com­plete with­out at least vis­it­ing the many street mar­kets. Found all over Bangkok, these mar­kets sell just about any­thing, from clothes, to knockoff goods, to art and even an­tiques and vin­tage heir­looms.

The most fa­mous of these are prob­a­bly Chatuchak Week­end Mar­ket and Khao San Road. The first is con­sid­er­ably the world’s largest week­end mar­ket that cov­ers an area of 27 acres that are di­vided into 27 sec­tions, con­tain­ing a to­tal of 15,000 booths al­to­gether. Within Chatuchak Week­end Mar­ket are your usual finds of trendy fash­ions, and handmade sou­venirs from all over Thai­land. But be­yond these are also lanes of leather goods with many shops of­fer­ing per­son­al­i­sa­tions on the spot, as well as shops sell­ing Thai ceram­ics and pot­tery, hand-spun by the shop own­ers them­selves. Hid­den some­where in the mid­dle is also an art gallery where artists sta­tioned there paint gor­geous land­scapes of Thai­land’s most beautiful coun­try­side, as well as por­traits of monks and young Thai women in tra­di­tional dress.

Khao San Road is inar­guably the orig­i­nal back­pack­ers’ haunt of the world. Other than be­ing packed with bars and pubs with go-go dancers, the 1km-stretch also has an eclec­tic mix of shops, in­clud­ing a book­shop filled with dog-eared Lonely Planet guides, stalls sell­ing biki­nis and sarongs, and even shops of­fer­ing il­le­gal mu­sic and movie down­loads and even fake ID mak­ing. For those tired of the throngs of tourists that de­scend onto Khao San Road, the neigh­bour­ing Soi Ram­but­tri will be worth a visit. There are more wine and dine op­tions here, as well as mas­sage par­lours but the real gems are the Muay Thai gym that ac­cepts walk-ins for train­ing, and the sec­ond-hand shops that buy and sell un­wanted ap­pli­ances, gui­tars and what­ever the shop own­ers can get their hands on from back­pack­ers look­ing to off­load ex­cess bag­gage.

Don’t limit your vis­its to Bangkok’s mar­kets to these two, how­ever. There are so many more to check out, such as Siam Square and Artbox, which are pop­u­lar with youths for their stalls that sell hip­ster-es­que ac­ces­sories and pro­vides live mu­sic through the night, and the Yaowarat/chi­na­town area that has Thieves Mar­ket, the place to go to

pick up con­tra­band DVDS, fake lux­ury goods and knock-off elec­tron­ics (at your own risk, of course).

If at­mos­phere is what you’re af­ter, check out JJ Green Night Mar­ket, a daily mar­ket sit­u­ated just be­hind the Chatuchak Week­end Mar­ket that is known for its se­lec­tion of gen­uine vin­tage col­lectibles from var­i­ous eras. JJ Green Night Mar­ket adds to the night scene with the wa­ter­ing holes sit­u­ated within the mar­ket. Sip on chilled, cheap beer and cock­tails as you spend the night of­fer­ing your best bar­gains. More an­tiques, in­clud­ing fur­ni­ture from around South­east Asia can also be found at Talad Rod Fai Mar­ket (Train Mar­ket). This mar­ket is a favourite among col­lec­tors of mem­o­ra­bilia like old Coca-cola bot­tles and vin­tage car mod­els. Asi­a­tique River­front is also a great place to hang around for those who like breaks in be­tween shop­ping sprees. The night bazaar next to the river has nightly shows, such as cabaret and Thai pup­pet per­for­mances.

ABOVE FROM LEFT Ev­ery trip to Chatuchak Week­end Mar­ket brings a new sur­prise as to what can be found! Soi Ram­but­tri is less crowded and of­fers a va­ri­ety of trin­kets for sale

OP­PO­SITE FROM TOP The orig­i­nal back­pack­ers’ road is filled with sou­venirs for tourists True vin­tages can be found at Talad Rod Fai Mar­ket

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