Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market is, hands down, one of the most eclectic places we’ve seen in our travels. A jumble of food stands, tourists, animals, thais, and merchants, as well as a park and a mall, comprise the majority of this marketplace behemoth. Covering over 35 acres and containing thousands of vendor stalls, Chatuchak is not only Thailand’s largest market, but also the largest open-air market in the world.
Chatuchak is where I finally stopped making Win argue over all the prices and learned to do it myself. A maze of sois (small streets) and roads, Chatuchak is a bargain hunter paradise. Haggling is standard, and this is a great place to practice your negotiation skills. And, as we have discovered, knowing Thai numbers is the best tool to have when it comes to not getting ripped off. I might not be the best bargainer (I don’t have the will to walk away from something I really like), but I’ve certainly improved.
Hidden in the middle of the labyrinth of stalls is a section that resembles a pet store. Here you can buy
puppies, kittens, birds, or bunnies. And the pets are only outnumbered by the vast selection of dog attire. The Thais are very big on the tiny dog trend. This is also where we nearly bought a $10 squirrel, stopped only by the logistics of transporting a squirrel. They also have hedgehogs, sugar gliders, and various other animals for sale, as well as supposedly being the center of black market for endangered and rare animals.
Everything from clothes and shoes to raw meat and fruits is available at the market. There is a separate fish and aquarium section, where you can get beta, koi, or frogs in all sizes and colors. Trinkets abound --- jewelry, knockoff antiques, candles, incense, windchimes, toys, art --- you name it, someone’s probably selling it.
A bubble-blowing machine? Sure. Thai silk? It’s everywhere. Looking for a dragon made out of rope? It’s yours. In the mood for an over-priced draught beer while avoiding the mid-day sun? They serve those in the furniture store. Cheap dress? No problem. Bag of crickets? Whatever floats your boat.
Inevitably we end up turned around and disoriented, roaming through the hot tunnels under the protection of the various overlapped tarps, but we typically find something worthwhile. And if not something worthwhile, we still always find something.