Bangkok’s markets are one of the city’s biggest attractions, offering everything from cheap souvenirs to handmade paintings, surprisingly high quality clothes, and more. No trip to Bangkok, especially your first time in the city, is complete without a visit to one of the city’s busy outdoor markets for some shopping.
Markets in Bangkok range from touristy and overpriced to authentic and affordable. Most of the time, the best markets fit into the middle: they’re easy to navigate as a tourist and packed with great products, but not so overexposed that the products cost too much. Choose the right ones and you’ll have a great shopping trip; choose the wrong ones and you’ll end up spending too much for low quality products.
Touristy and best avoided
Located just off Silom Road, near the Sala Daeng BTS station, Patpong Market is a tourist shopping hotspot. Open at night, this seedy market is mostly surrounded by strip clubs and other seedy hangouts. Products are usually low quality imports from China with aggressive pricing, meaning you’ll need to haggle a lot to get anything even approaching a good deal.
The MBK Center is technically a mall, not a market, but its carnival-like atmosphere and huge range of shops makes it feel more like a market than most of Bangkok’s other shopping malls. MBK is only worth visiting for its gigantic cellphone and tablet selection; for clothes and accessories, you’ll find better quality products and better deals elsewhere.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Open from Friday evening to Saturday night, Chatuchak Weekend Market is the world’s biggest outdoor flea market and one of Bangkok’s best places to shop for, well, anything. The market is divided into different sections, each of which specializes in a certain type of product. The art section is one of the market’s best spots to shop for unique souvenirs.
Located close to Chatuchak Market, Union Mall is like a more local version of the MBK Center. Ideal for teenage or 20-something girls, Union Mall offers a good range of fashion products and accessories. Men’s clothing, ranging from white t-shirts to casual leather belts, is also available. Since this mall is more aimed at locals than tourists, prices are on the fair side but English isn’t always spoken by shop owners.
Underground and fun
Klong Thom Market
One famous for stolen goods, Klong Thom Market has cleaned up its act and is now one of Bangkok’s most exciting markets. Products here range from second hands goods to hi-fi, electronics, clothing and more. One of the most eclectic mixes of stands and stalls in Bangkok, Klong Thom is open from late Saturday evening to midday on Sunday. Visit at night for the full experience.