6 Markets In Bangkok

October 10, 2011 Thailand 35 Comments 305,720 Views

6 Markets In Bangkok You Shouldn’t Miss.

I remember when I was 4 years old, my mum took me to my first wet market (or at least it was the first one I remember) in Singapore. Back then, it was uncommon to see a white person at such a gathering (even in Singapore) and this little white girl with blond hair was the talk of the day :) Everyone was very curious and turned their heads to see what we were up to. I can’t remember every single moment but what I do know is that my fascination with markets started that day.

Exploring the wet market in Singapore.
Exploring the wet market in Singapore.

If you arrive in a different city and want to see the real life, markets are the best place to do so. Most of the times, you’ll be the only white person there, because a lot of “regular” travellers don’t dare to go there. That’s a big mistake…but that’s just my opinion.

Since we recently stayed in Thailand for two weeks and had a bit of bad luck with the weather on Koh Kood island, we had four days in Bangkok before returning home. I’ve heard from many people that Bangkok is not that special and there really isn’t that much to see. Well, what can I say?! I’ll have to prove them wrong ;) Here are 6 markets you shouldn’t miss:

Klong Toey Fresh Market.

Klong Toey Fresh Market is Bangkok’s biggest fresh market. This market almost seems like a little village within Bangkok. Why? Two reasons: First, it’s so huge that just by walking around in the district Klong Toey, you’ll somehow end up at the market…there’s no need to walk through little side alleys to get there. And second because you simply find everything you need. Whether it’s food, stationary, kitchenware or cloths. Plus, the district Klong Toey is the biggest slum & sea port area in Bangkok, so there’s a crowd around all the time. It’s a big must for every market fan!

Facts.
  • Opening hours: Daily from 6.00 am – 2.00 am
  • How to get there: Take the MRT subway to Klong Toey station, exit up the escalators and then walk east on Thang Rakfaiko / Rama IV Road for ten minutes until you reach the large intersection of Rama IV and Narong Road. The market will be on your right-hand side. Or, you can take bus numbers 45, 46, 72, 102, or 107 to the area.
  • What to find there: Meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, herbs & spices, cloths – pretty much everything you need.
Thai main building of Klong Towy market.
The main building of Klong Toey market.
Street vendors can be found all around Khlong Toey fresh market.
Street vendors can be found all around Khlong Toey fresh market.
Dead frogs are just one of the many gruesome things you will come across at Khlong Toey fresh market.
Dead frogs are just one of the many gruesome things you will come across at Khlong Toey fresh market.
A small, hidden village deep within the Bangkok busy city jungle; Khlong Toey fresh market seems to have a life of its own.
A small, hidden village deep within the Bangkok busy city jungle; Khlong Toey fresh market seems to have a life of its own.
Klong Toey is a very 'fresh' market, offering low prices on raw meat, seafood, farm produce, and other items.
Klong Toey is a very ‘fresh’ market, offering low prices on raw meat, seafood, farm produce, and other items.
There's also a fruit section at Khlong Toey.
There’s also a fruit section at Klong Toey.
Fresh crabs are a speciality at Khlong Toey fresh market.
Fresh crabs are a speciality at Khlong Toey fresh market.
Porters roam the streets of Khlong Toey fresh market, waiting for customers to uploading their latest purchases.
Porters roam the streets of Khlong Toey fresh market, waiting for customers to uploading their latest purchases.

Mahachai Market.

Mahachai is a small town located about 45 kilometres southwest of central Bangkok. Mahachai is famous for one of the largest fresh seafood markets in Thailand. It’s one of the main seafood distribution centres that feeds the hungry population of Bangkok. Seafood producers from the entire country come here to sell their catch. As soon as you arrive at the market, the smell of seafood sticks with you even after you leave the market.

Facts.
  • Opening hours: Daily from 6.00 am
  • How to get there: Either go by car, or if you want a bit of an adventure, take the train. The train to Mahachai leaves from Wongwianyai station. Take the BTS to Wongwianyai and from there you have to walk a couple of minutes to get to the station. Make sure you get your ticket before you get on the train (cos about 10 Bath per person).
  • What to find there: Fresh fish, dried fish, crabs, shrimps and a southeast Asian specialty: Blood.
Mahachai market and the railway live next to each other, so when the first train arrives from Bangkok, vendors have to move their wares off the tracks for the train to pull into the station.
Mahachai market and the railway live next to each other, so when the first train arrives from Bangkok, vendors have to move their wares off the tracks for the train to pull into the station.
Even if you’ve never heard Mahachai market, you’ve probably seen a video of a train going through a tightly packed market, where market stalls are set up on the rails.
Even if you’ve never heard Mahachai market, you’ve probably seen a video of a train going through a tightly packed market, where market stalls are set up on the rails.
Fresh fish can be found all over Mahachai market, this unfortunately also includes sharks & shark fins.
Fresh fish can be found all over Mahachai market, this unfortunately also includes sharks & shark fins.
Mahachai Market is one of Thailand's largest traditional fresh seafood markets, where visitors will find all sorts of fish - fresh, or dried.
Mahachai Market is one of Thailand’s largest traditional fresh seafood markets, where visitors will find all sorts of fish – fresh, or dried.
Dried fish can be found all around Mahachai market. Drying food is the world's oldest known preservation method, and dried fish has a storage life of several years. The method is cheap and effective in suitable climates.
Dried fish can be found all around Mahachai market. Drying food is the world’s oldest known preservation method, and dried fish has a storage life of several years. The method is cheap and effective in suitable climates.
One might not like to think about this, but blood is one of the most important ingredients in the southeast Asian cuisine. At Mahachai market, you will come across many stall like the one above.
One might not like to think about this, but blood is one of the most important ingredients in the southeast Asian cuisine. At Mahachai market, you will come across many stall like the one above.

Chatuchak Market.

Chatuchak Weekend Market (JJ) is one of the world’s largest weekend markets. It covers an area of almost 30 Acres, is divided into 28 different sections & contains more than 15.000 booths selling goods from all over Thailand. You can imagine my face when I stepped out of the BTS train and saw this huge market…jaw dropping. Chatuchak Market is a very popular shopping destination for Thais but has also become very popular with tourists. Thais from all over the country come here to buy goods for their local shop. Each day, about 200.000 visitors come here (30 % tourists). You can pretty much find everything there, from books to antiques to live animals and plants.

Yes, Chatuchak Makret sounds like a true shopper’s delight. For me, it was much less than that; not only am I not a fan of huge gatherings, but also the entire area was simply too large. As soon as we stepped out of the BTS train, the crowds started showing up. The way from the BTS station to the entrance of the market was maybe only 100 meters, yet it took us almost 15 minutes to get there. Viewing the market from above (from the bridge from the BTS station to the market area) still made it all quite clear but as soon as we were down in the crowd, our orientation got lost. I suggest that you go with the flow, because otherwise you’re just going to struggle. They’ll lead you somewhere anyway.

Tips.
  • Chances of getting lost in the crowd are high. If you’re there with a friend, make sure you conclude a meeting point before.
  • Wear comfy shoes; you’ll walk a lot.
  • Drink, drink, drink…you’ll sweat like a pig so keep your water level high!
Facts.
  • Opening hours: Saturdays & Sundays from 9.00 am – 6.00 pm and Fridays from 6.00 pm – midnight. The plant sections are also open on Wednesdays & Thursdays from 7.00 am – 6.00 pm.
  • How to get there: Skytrain (BTS) to Mo Chit station; take exit no. 1 and follow the crowd.
  • What to find there: Ah well, you’ve 30 Acres of pretty much everything you need (or don’t need).
Just follow the crowd to Chatuchak market.
Just follow the crowd to Chatuchak market.
Chatuchak weekend market is a great place for good quality fabric and excellent tailors.
Chatuchak weekend market is a great place for good quality fabric and excellent tailors.
Foos stalls at Chatuchak market offer all sorts of different cuisines.
Foos stalls at Chatuchak market offer all sorts of different cuisines.
One of the many aisles at Chatuchak.
One of the many aisles at Chatuchak market.
Food stalls are all around Chatuchakt market; 200.000 mouths need to be fed every day ;)
Food stalls are all around Chatuchak market; 200.000 mouths need to be fed every day ;)

Bo Be Tower Clothing Market.

Bo Be market has been known as the centre of garment wholesale for over 30 years. Today there are well over 1.300 shops under one roof making Bo Be the biggest garment wholesale centre in Thailand. Furthermore, Bo Bae offers you shipping services to send your cargo worldwide. It is THE place for all types of clothing, for men, women and children; casual and formal. I liked this market because it was not so over run by people. And I actually bought something for a change ;) A shirt for my dad for about 40 bath…pretty darn cheap.

Facts.
  • Opening hours: Daily
  • How to get there : Taxi or Bus no. 1, 4, 7, 25, 53
  • What to get there: Cloths (including traditions Thai cloths), shoes, bags, etc.
Bo Be market in Bangkok is a real jeans paradise.
Bo Be market in Bangkok is a real jeans paradise.
Bo Be market is a great spot for children's cloths at a very low price.
Bo Be market is a great spot for children’s cloths at a very low price.

Saphan Khao Fruit Market.

I have never seen so many fruits in one spot as on the  Saphan Khao Fruit Market. Truly unbelievable! Tons and tons of different fruits. You’ll get every exotic fruit there is right here. We were told that all of Bangkok comes here for fruits; whether it’s the local food vendor from next door or the chef of a five star restaurant. Saphan Khao is THE place to go to!

Facts.
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 6.00 am – 6.00 pm (as far as the taxi driver told me correctly)
  • How to get there: Bus no. 2, 59, 60, 79, 511 or Taxi
  • What to get there: All kind of fruits in huge quantities.
A visit to a fruit market with dragon fruits, mangoes, melons, pineapples and star fruit piled up agains each other is a definite must. In Bangkok there is no better example of such a place than the Saphan Khao Fruit Market.
A visit to a fruit market with dragon fruits, mangoes, melons, pineapples and star fruit piled up agains each other is a definite must. In Bangkok there is no better example of such a place than the Saphan Khao Fruit Market.
Whether you're looking for fresh watermelons, or pretty much any other fruit, Saphan Khao is the right place.
Whether you’re looking for fresh watermelons, or pretty much any other fruit, Saphan Khao is the right place.
We've never seen so many pineapples on one single spot. The Saphan Khao fruit market is a real delight, also thanks to the lovely smell of fresh fruits.
We’ve never seen so many pineapples on one single spot. The Saphan Khao fruit market is a real delight, also thanks to the lovely smell of fresh fruits.
You can buy as many truck-loads of pineapples as you want at Saphan Khao fruit market.
You can buy as many truck-loads of pineapples as you want at Saphan Khao fruit market.
Mangoes are one of our favourite fruits and at Saphan Khao market, you'll find tons of the most yummy mangos you'll ever come across.
Mangoes are one of our favourite fruits and at Saphan Khao market, you’ll find tons of the most yummy mangos you’ll ever come across.

Pak Klong Talat Flower Market.

Pak Klong Talat is a large wholesale flower market. Merchants travel here from all over Thailand to sell their flowers and wandering the streets here is a colourful and fragrant experience. Out of all the markets, this one was the least “spectacular”; not because there was nothing to see but more because by the time we got there it was 3.00 pm and the “trading traffic” was over already. Next time I’ll be there at 2.00 am, cause that’s when the business starts at Pak Klong Talat.

Facts.
  • Opening hours: 2.00 am – 6.00 pm
  • How to get there: The market is on Chakphet Road. You can either get there by Taxi or with the Express Boat (station Saphan Phut) and then by foot.
  • What to get there: Flowers, flowers & more flowers.
Lots of lovely smelling flowers can be found at Pak Klong Talat market.
Lots of lovely smelling flowers can be found at Pak Klong Talat market.
Pak Khlong Talat is the primary flower market in Bangkok and is also called a "place of symbolic values" to Bangkok residents".
Pak Khlong Talat is the primary flower market in Bangkok and is also called a “place of symbolic values” to Bangkok residents”.
You'll definitely find the right flower for your loved one at Pak Klong Talat flower market.
You’ll definitely find the right flower for your loved one at Pak Klong Talat flower market.

If you’ve read the entire article (or just looked at the photos), you’ll realize that the markets in Bangkok are a big must. Not only for fans like us but everyone. If you have the time, stay a couple of days longer and simply stroll the streets of this super exciting city. You won’t regret it. These markets will give you an impression of Bangkok that will stick with you, away from the tourist traps.


35 Comments

Join the Discussion

“6 Markets In Bangkok You Shouldn’t Miss.”

  1. I’ve been to a few of these markets in Bangkok, but never to Khlong Toey. Will definitely go there now. Thanks for the overview. Thorsten

  2. Nisa

    Hey Thorsten,
    Thanks for your comment!
    Khlong Toey is really great and I’m sure you’d enjoy it ;)
    All the best, Nisa

  3. Hello. Thanks so much for your info. I have been to BKK several times and the only market I’ve been to is Chatuchak. Hopefully I get to explore the others as well. Thanks again.

  4. Nisa

    Hey Celeste! You’re very welcome :)
    Hopefully you get the chance to see many more markets in Bangkok because they’re really impressive. It’s a good way to get out of the regular touristy areas since you won’t find many of them at these markets (except of course Chatuchak). My favorite market in Bangkok was definitely Khlong Toey Fresh Market…
    All the best to you!

  5. Md.Masuder Rahaman

    I had been Bangkok so many times.Its really wonderful.I am going to visit Bangkok on 1st week of October 2012.I wish to visit all markets mentioned here as I did not visit some of those before.Thanks in advance.

  6. Devi Yuliawati

    Hi, thank you for your the detail info about Bangkok market.
    I am going to Bangkok at the end of this October, hopefully I can find Khlong Toey Market.
    Have a great day! :)

  7. Thanks for your comments :)
    @MD Masuder Rahaman: October is a great time to visit, let me know how you liked the markets ;)
    @Devi: Khlong Toey Market was very impressive and I’m sure you’ll find it. If you need any advice, don’t hesitate to contact me ;)

  8. Wow! this BO BE TOWER CLOTHING MARKET seems to be interesting place for clothing. I am going to Bangkok next week and definitely will go there.

  9. Shakhawat

    Hey there Nisa! It was a wonderful article. I will be visiting Bangkok during the second half of November this year. But I will have only 2 weekends to spare in the markets :( Could you pls suggest me 2 “must visit” fresh market places. Thank you so much. Would like to get in touch with you if there is an opportunity. Take care.

    Shakhawat
    Dhaka, Bangladesh

  10. Nisa

    Hi Kelly!
    And, did you go to Bo Be Clothing market? :) Hope you enjoyed your trip to Bangkok!
    All the best,
    Nisa

  11. Nisa

    Hey Shakhawat,
    I would definitely suggest Khlong Toey Fresh Market. It’s a very typical Asian market with different sections (meat, vegetable, fruit, etc.). And then I’d also visit Saphan Khao Fruit Market. I was really impressed with all the fruits they had there. I’ve seen a lot but seeing hundreds of truck loads of (for example) pineapples was even new to me ;)
    Enjoy your trip & let me know how you liked the markets!
    All the best,
    Nisa

  12. Nanda

    Hi! Thx for yr full information about market in BKK, it’ll be my first time to BKK. About chatuchak market, is that really has schedule for every things they sell?

  13. Sheree

    Hey Nisa, Thanks for the heads-up on markets, beautifully written too. Im heading back to Bangkok in Feb and will be sure to check out Klong Toey this time, although can you recall how accessible it was, as my partner uses a electric wheelchair.
    We are heading to Bali in Febuary, its un-charted territory for us, very excited !!
    Happy travels Nisa

  14. Nisa

    Hi Nanda! Hi Sheree! Thanks for your comments.

    @Nanda: Yup, the schedule is correct. The regular market is only open on the weekends. The best day to visit is Sunday (morning) because vendors bargain a lot more on that day, as they need to sell their goods before the new week starts :)

    @Sheree: Klong Toey market is accessible very easily. It’s pretty flat and therefore it shouldn’t be a problem getting around by wheelchair. Just keep in mind that it gets crowded (especially in the morning) and manoeuvring could get difficult then. If you need to know anything else about markets or Bangkok in general, please feel free to ask. Enjoy your trip, I’m sure it’s going to be fabulous :)

  15. sos chhay

    Thanks for the good information about markets in Thailand!

  16. Hello Nisa!
    I really love your blog! Thanks for the list of the 5 markets in Bangkok. I had visited the Klong Toey before my cooking workshop with Poo in the slums mid December 2012. I fell in love with it instantly, so I went again few days later (before I flew back home to Europe) and was great again, I think we were the only European there:-))
    happy+smily 2013 from me, around the world!
    J
    PS: I just posted my impressions about the market on my blog:
    http://janaaroundtheworld.blogspot.nl/2013/01/bangkoks-biggest-fresh-market-klong.html

  17. Nisa

    Hey Jana!
    Thanks for your lovely words!
    I hope to re-visit Khlong Toey market soon again, because there’s always something new to discover. I checked out your article as well – great impressions!
    Happy (late) New Year to you too & save travels :)
    Best,
    Nisa

  18. jumana.s

    Hi,

    thanks alot for such alot of handy tips as to how to travel to these markets on your own.I m going with a group of friends for the first time for fun n frolic with a lot of shopping in mind.Please let me know where to shop fo rthe famous NARAYA bags or similar bags under different tags.Interested in knowing the wholesalers n manufacturers for trading purpose.

  19. jonathan

    hello nisa, just a quicker. i will be in bangkok in 3 days. is the klong toey market have enough kinds of fruits to buy? i’ve like to explore saphan khao fruit market though but KlongToey market is more accesible because of the MRT. how much will it cost if i take the taxi from let’s say, nana station to SaphanKhao?

  20. Nisa

    hi jonathan!
    at khlong toey market, you’ll pretty much find everything you need. fruits, household goods, live animals…you name it. but obviously saphan khao fruit market is the best place to get all sorts of fruits for a good price (but you get a good price everywhere anyway). if you take the taxi, just make sure you have the meter running, because taxi drivers will tend to rip you off if they get the chance. not sure how much it will cost, because it always depends on the traffic situation :)
    enjoy your stay in bangkok & let me know if you need anything else.
    best, nisa

  21. Shirley

    Heading to BKK next week for 2 weeks … Like you I love the markets. Any markets … 14 days in BKK should cure my market carvings for a while…thanks for the great tips. Did you go to the floating markets at all? There seems to be a lot of markets all over the city.. I will try and post photos while I am there…Thanks again!

  22. Nisa

    Hi Shirley!
    You’re welcome, glad we could help you out.
    14 days in Bangkok should definitely be enough. You must be there on business, because I don’t know anyone who has spent that much time in Bangkok unless is was for business reasons :)
    We’ve been to the floating market quite some years ago (15?) but not during this trip. Today it’s more of a tourist attraction rather than a “real” market like Khlong Toey, yet we still want to go there to include it in this post :) That’s why Bangkok is on our list for next year…
    Have a great trip!
    Best, Nisa

  23. Nirav

    Oh I so wish I would have read this article a little earlier!! I was just in Bangkok for 10 days. Did go to Chatuchak and Bo Bae. But missed the others!! Phew! Next time! And yes, I read your comment about. I wasnt in Bangkok on business for 10 days. Just one business: making my wife happy letting her shop her life out for clothes!!! Lol!

  24. Nisa

    Hi Nirav!
    Well now you have a reason to visit Bangkok again :)
    Best, Nisa

  25. sveta

    Thank u for such useful information about Bangkok markets… Lived here for 18 yeas now and haven’t heard about Saphan Kao market before, which area is it in Bangkok?

  26. Hi Sveta!
    Well, there’s always something new to experience even in the city that we live in. I feel the same way about Vienna :)
    To be honest, I’m not quite sure what the name of the district is…but it’s right next to Lan Luang Road if that helps you in any way.
    Best, Nisa

  27. Abs

    Hi Nisa, lots of thanks for this great article. I’m treating my parents to a short Bangkok trip in 2 months and is very much interested to take them to Saphan Khao fruit market. They LOVE fruits and I think the place is perfect for them. Do you have any idea if we can purchase fruits in small quantity, you know, for personal consumption only, like for example, by kilos? Thank you in advance! :)

  28. Nisa

    Hi Abs!
    Thanks for your comment!
    You’re parents will love the market. And of course you can also buy smaller portions there as well.
    Best, Nisa

  29. Thank Nisa, I followed your recommendation and I visited the Klong Toey fresh market. it is an amazing place with some strange “creatures” that is better to be photographed than eat it.

  30. Great to hear that Ovi!
    Yeah I wouldn’t want to eat everything that can be bought at Khlong Toey Market either :)
    Take care & all the best!
    Nisa

  31. Hinda

    Hi Nisa,

    Well done on your blog, it’s well detailed. I am passionate about BKK and saying that there’s nothing to do in this unique city sounds like a blasphemy to me!! There is a market I love. It’s not outdoor, it’s indoor, it’s called Pratunam Mall. You probably know it. It’s my favorite market because of all the crazy stuff you can find in there (clothing for men/women + accessories). I’ve had to prepare for a hen night in BKK and the theme for “leopard”. I went to Pratunam and it took me only 1hour to find my whole outfit.
    Cheers
    Hinda

  32. Hey Hinda!
    First of all thanks so much for your lovely word about the blog. it’s always nice to hear that what we do appeals :)
    I totally think that Bangkok has so many cool things to offer, even though I feel like too many unpleasant tourists have downgraded the cities value a lot (I mean honestly, how embarrassing can tourists actually be?!)
    I’ve not heard of Pratunam Mall in Bangkok yet, but I just googled it and I’ll definitely have to check it out during my next visit. I’m always up for crazy accessories. I’m sure your hens night outfit looks brilliant :D
    Take care & all the best!
    Nisa

  33. Hello Nisa,

    Great site and excellent info on the markets with nice images too, I live here and I have my Cousin and wife arriving today from a 2-week trip in Melbourne OZ and they will be in Bangkok for 3 days and I know they like markets, me too, So I have written down a few good ones.

    Thanks again for this site, great.

    Cheers,

    Lou

    PS, I know some great live Music Venues especially live jazz and blues 7 nights a week.

Leave a Comment