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The Quick Guide to Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market if You’re Short on Time…
If you want to check out Chatuchak (or Jatujak also JJ Market; Thai: จตุจักร) in Bangkok and you don’t have a lot of time, I’m going to show you where you should go to pick up unique hand made Thai souvenirs, eat delicious Thai street food and of course shop to your hearts content.
Because JJ Market is such a huge sprawling weekend market you can easily run around like a headless chicken. And who wants to get lost and miss the good parts? Plus if you’re going in on a hot day it won’t be a lot of fun exploring the shops and stalls that makes the city of Bangkok so unique.
The biggest weekend market in Thailand is organized and separated into zones. Below you will find one of the best maps of Chatuchak Weekend Market I found on the internet.
But Here’s a Few Tips You Want to Know Before You Go
- It’s best to visit Chatuchak around 10am when most of the shops open. Plus it’ll be a bit cooler and less crowded.
- Best time to get a discount is when the shop just opened. Thais are very superstitious and believe the first sale of the day is the most important. They will take the cash you give them and rub it on their products.
- Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate more. If you can’t get to Chatuchak early in the day it can get very hot. Small bottled waters cost 10THB so there is no reason to not get plenty of fluids.
The Do Not Miss Areas inside JJ Market
Remember, Chatuchak is separated into zones, each specializing on the items and goods sold. If you don’t know where you’re going it’s very easy to get lost as every nook and corner begins to look same. You can get plenty of maps online or at Thai tourist info centers. That said, here are the must see zones I highly recommend if you don’t have a lot of time to explore JJ Market:
- Zone #2 is the bohemian/hipster chic area of the market. Once you take a look at this section and a look at all the others you will not only see zone #2 is different but also feels different!
- Zone #5 and #6 is the used clothes section but you can also find some new clothing items too. You will see brand name jeans for sale in that area though I can not confirm if the jeans are genuine or not.
As you can see on the map, zones #2, #5 and #6 are all on the same side of the market. If you walked from zone #2 to zone #6 it would only take 30 minutes that is if you don’t stop and check out the goodies. Good luck on that.
I recommend starting off at zone #2 simply because the Kamphaeng Phet MRT subway station is practically right next to zone #2. Just be sure to use subway station Exit 2.
Get Ready to Shop and Drop in Bangkok
Zone #2 near has gone through a sort of transformation. It’s like a hipsters’ paradise filled with small little boutique shops started by enterprising Thai designers that live in Bankgok.
Now if you take a good look at the map below, you will see many other sections also selling clothes and Thai handicraft, particularly right in the center of Chatuchak.
Zone #2 is the top spot for finding Thai handmade souvenirs in Chatuchak at reasonable prices. It’s also the best place to buy unique graphic t-shirts and even shoes, both brand new or second hand. I know a lot of Japanese heading over to JJ Market looking for vintage clothing items to resell back in their home country.
But Be Prepared, Cause There’s Going to Be a Lot of People
Zone #2 is perhaps one of the most visited section of Chatuchak Weekend Market. Thai locals have a voracious appetite for the new. They love to seek the unique and share it on Facebook. And that’s how really zone #2 became so popular through word of mouth.
Now I’m not saying the rest of Chatuchak is not worth visiting. No way. I love the whole entire market. It’s just that if you don’t have a lot of time and you don’t want to sweat buckets when it’s hot you just want to see the best part. And the zone #2 is where you’ll want to go if you don’t have a lot of time to visit Chatuchak Market.
There’s just so many unique little treasures located in Chatuchak’s Zone #2 that I don’t even know how I can ever list them all. So it’s best if you go there and check them out for yourself. You just might find something you’re going to fall in love with. And I recommend that if you see it, it’s best to just buy it. As long as it fits in your budget of course. Because the worst thing you can do is getting back on that plane and regretting you never bought it.
Finally items in zone 2 are a bit more expensive compared to the rest of JJ Market because the items are a little more unique. You are allowed to bargain but please don’t be so aggressive. And don’t try and low ball the shop keepers because they do work hard and have bills to pay.
If You Love Denim You’ll love Zone #5 and #6
In this zone you will find used clothing, particularly denim. You can also find stalls selling brand name jeans as well with labels. Now I don’t know if they are fakes or not but the prices are not so expensive. Even though Bangkok is hot and humid through the year Thai locals love denim wear. New or used it doesn’t matter. If it looks good on them and the price is right they have to have a pair of jean pant or jacket.
Prices for clothes in this zone are reasonable though there is space to get discounts as long as you buy more items.
But you’re also going to see a lot of military styled clothing, shoes (new and used) and all sorts of other second hand clothing items. You might even find brand name clothing too. But again, if they are fakes I honestly wouldn’t know.
Getting a Quick Bite in Chatuchak Market
If you still have some time for a quick bite to eat, there’s a small shop selling to die for Chinese styled roast pork. It’s one of the best roast pork I’ve ever had. Even better than the ones I’ve had in Hong Kong! If you don’t like pork they also sell awesome fried chicken wings!
Chatuchak is an incredible market filled with lots to see, eat and of course shop. But if you don’t have a lot of time to spend there then just checking out the zones I’ve mentioned on this blog is going to give you the full experience to remember in Bangkok.