The largest market in Thailand, the Chatuchak weekend market (commonly known as the J.J.) in Bangkok covers more than 35 acres. Thousands of stalls offer a variety of merchandise that defies description. The market is equally popular with Thais and tourists alike, and anyone interested in picking up anything from trinkets to wholesale goods will doubtless have already added this destination to their agenda. If you are, and you haven’t, suffice it to say you’d be wise to do so.
Open from roughly 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., the market sees shoppers that number into the six figures, so it’s best to arrive early in the day before it gets unbearably hot, crowded and chaotic.
Silks, hardwoods, exotic animals (and animal products), jewelry, furniture, decor, antiques, pottery, foodstuffs, and virtually anything else you can imagine are all on display, often for cut-rate prices.
Food vendors are placed throughout the market, the better to fuel the commercial frenzy, and while many of these can offer mouthwatering fare, no trip to Chatuchak is complete without a visit to the Aw Taw Kaw food market for a proper (and doubtless memorable) meal.
The important thing to keep in mind when considering a visit to the market is to be prepared. This is no sparsely populated shopping mall.
Bring bottled water, comfortable shoes, and, most importantly, a dependable map. That’s right, a map. The market is broken into thematic sections, but even still, the different areas are not well demarcated (at least, not to western eyes), and without a map it’s all
too easy to get turned around, lose your way, or simply miss out on all that the market has to offer.