If you thought New York City and Paris are the international meccas of shopping and rock bottom prices, think again. Have you heard about the best markets to visit in Bangkok?
Chatuchak is the world’s biggest weekend market with at least 9000 stalls and a bottomless pit for spending. Liken this experience to being a kid in a candy store. To avoid mindless wandering around, you need a Chatuchak market guide – like this one!
Chatuchak is the name of the park, MRT, and weekend market. It’s commonly referred to as Chatuchak, Jatujak , or JJ, and has existed for more than 30 years.
Let’s not just talk about the market, let’s talk about how it all this mindless behavior works.
Chatuchak Market Guide: Useful tips to avoid mindless behavior
1. The Chatuchak market opening hours are 10am-7pm Saturday and Sunday. Plant market from 6am–6pm Wed and Thurs. Here’s where things get hot and sticky. Wear comfortable clothes because the sun becomes unbearable around 3 pm.
2. How to get there: located outside the skytrain (BTS) to Mo Chit station or the metro (MRT) to Suan Chatuchak or Kamphaeng Phet station. Kamphaeng Phet will place you right by the clocktower which is a great meeting spot.
3. Get a Chatuchak weekend market map. You can either download a map online or obtain brochure when you exit the MRT station or Jatuchak Information Center. A great timesaver is to map out the places you want to target ahead of time.
4. To get the best price, most vendors prefer cash and when you buy in bulk. What do I mean by that? Here’s an example: Pool together your items for a greater discount.
Some, not all vendors accept credit cards. There are ATMs or bank machines everywhere.
5. Take your time and don’t go crazy buying everything you see from the start. That is a huge mistake – Guaranteed – you’re going to have buyer’s remorse – accept that and, chances are, you will see something better.
6. If the art of negotiation is a skill you just don’t have, learn fast or travel with someone who enjoys bargaining.
7. Here’s the deal. You gotta use the calculator move. What’s that? That’s easy. That’s your queue to start negotiating back and forth.
Each vendor has a calculator and will show you their starting price. Know what you want to pay ahead of time, determine what you can afford, take the calculator and make your own calculations using your currency exchange.
8. If you have reached your rock bottom price, walking away is also a good tactic. Cynical, yes, but true. Bottom line is NEGOTIATE WITH A SMILE and SAY NO WITH A SMILE – regardless of the outcome.
9. What’s even better? Shopping towards the end of a day will work in your favor. Vendors are more open to bargaining before closing on Sunday.
10. Here’s the best part for shopaholics:
If you don’t want to risk extra baggage fees and peace of mind, Fedex, DHL, and UPS are onsite international shipping options. Ask the shipping company about delivery time, duty, and, if you buy furniture, spraying fees. Time the delivery for after you return home especially if you’re on a multi-city trip.
And that’s it – your perfect Chatuchak market guide. You’re set.
Some of my personal shopping stall faves and things to buy in Bangkok include: artwork, furniture, Karmakamet, home décor, spa and aromatherapy, dishes, costume jewellery sections.