This sponsored post explores the markets of Thailand, from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, where from morning to night you can find everything from flowers and fruit, to antiques and handicrafts, not to mention delicious food stalls and a taste of everyday Thai life.
The markets of Thailand are legendary – not just for their affordable gifts, but because they allow visitors to get a taste of the real Thailand life experience. With cheap flights to Bangkok readily available, a visit to Thailand’s marketplaces provides an affordable way to experience Thai culture. Here are some of the markets you should look out for when you visit Bangkok and Chiang Mai;
Bangkok’s Jatujak Market offers everything from live animals to antiques. This is a large market and to cover all of its offerings in one article would take a considerable effort. Jatujak is open weekends from 7 AM to 7 PM. Entrance is free.
Pat Klong Talat Flower Market
Located near Wat Pho temple, the incredible array of flowers, fruit and vegetables makes Pat Klong Talat one of Bangkok’s finest fresh markets – this one is sure to tantalise the senses.
Nong Khai –Tha Sadet Market
The Sadet Market is located on the main pier for the Mekhong River crossing from Nong Khai to Tha Dua in Laos, and serves as a focal point for trade between Northeast Thailand and Laos. In addition to regional items and local produce, many of the goods sold at Tha Sadet Market come from areas outside of the region. Tha Sadet Market is open daily, but visitors must produce proper visa/paperwork for entry.
Bobae Market/Bobae Tower
Bobae Market offers inexpensive clothing at cost price, but can only be purchased by the dozen. Nearby Bobae Tower offers the same items in smaller quantities. Both the market and tower are open daily between 6 AM and 7 PM.
One of the biggest clothing markets in Thailand is Bangkok’s Pratunam Market. Note that clothing here varies in quality, as do the prices. Haggling is a must if you intend to buy more than one of any item. Pratunam Market is open from 8 AM to 9 PM.
Patpong Night Market
Patpong Night Market is brimming with street stalls offering pretty much anything the discerning traveller might be looking for. Prices are reasonable and the central Bangkok location makes it easily accessible.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Talaat Naam – the floating markets – are boats filled with wares, vying for the attentions of passers-by. Damnoen Saduak is one of four major floating markets in Bangkok.
Mae Hong Son –The Morning Market
A visit to The Morning Market is not for buying gifts, but rather gathering insight into how the locals live. The market opens early and is usually bustling by 9 AM. Located in Mae Hong Son, this market provides a wealth of photographic opportunities.
Chatachuk and Suan Lum
Chatachak Weekend Market and Suan Lum Night Market are two popular attractions for Bangkok’s visitors. Suan Luam is located in the heart of Bangkok while Chatachak is a 35-acre market featuring over 8,000 market stalls.
Ratchadaphisek Vintage Night Market
Located in Bangkok, Ratchadapisk, the night market, opens from 8 PM to 11 PM every Saturday and features a plethora of second-hand and vintage goods – from knick-knacks to vintage motorbikes.
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
Known locally as Kad Luang, the Night Bazaar is one of Chaing Mai’s most popular attractions. Located in the city centre, the Night Bazaar offers inexpensive trinkets and gifts, as well as some of the best street food in Thailand.
Chaing Mai Handicraft Markets
Chaing Mai also offers several popular and easily accessible day markets, including Warorot, Ton Lamyai Flower Market, Somphet Food Market, and Tapae Square and the Walking Street.
Enjoy more Asian Adventures
This article gives you an insider’s view of Bangkok from Julia Kernaghan, who originally comes from Australia, but who has been living and working in the “City of Angels” for over a year and now calls Bangkok home
I often get asked why I love living in Thailand, more specifically… how can I live in the urban, sprawling metropolis that is Bangkok. It’s so easy to answer… the smiles, the massages, the street food, the Chao Phraya River and of course the shopping! Thailand is often portrayed as the ‘Land of Smiles’, and I have to say that understanding and speaking a little Thai goes a long way in ensuring that you’re always at the end of a beautiful smile here in Bangkok. Employ a little patience and you’ll enjoy this vibrant, buzzing, bustling and hectic city. You might wonder what we locals actually do in our spare time that is different to what the guide books suggest?
The answer really is that I do a lot of what is suggested, however, I tend to deviate from what the guidebooks say. Since moving here over a year ago I’ve now got the courage to go off the beaten track – that’s with regard to everything from, say exploring the backstreets to sampling the street food. I agree with the general comments that Bangkok can be totally overwhelming with the amount of choice you have, therefore when I find my favourites and I tend to stick to them.
Shopping is the unofficial national past-time – there are so many places to shop in Bangkok. You’ve got the main shopping area in Siam – MBK, Siam Square, Siam Paragon and Amarin Plaza – just to name a few. But my favourites are Suan Lum Night Bazaar and Chatuchak Weekend Market, I love the intensity and vibrancy of Chatuchak; there are literally thousands of stalls and if you’re anything like me – you’ll come home with much much more than you set out to buy! Some other interesting places to visit are Chinatown and the nearby Sampeng Markets, wander along the narrow alleyways, you’ll see that the shops are overflowing with products, don’t hesitate to turn over the well trodden path – you never know what fantastic shopping fun you may stumble across! These Siam hotels will have you staying in the heart of the shopping vicinity.
Spas and Thai Massage
I like nothing more than being pampered… and in Bangkok I’m spoilt for choice. After a long day in the office, or exploring the city sights on foot, it’s so nice to pop into my favourite Thai massage, a 1.5 hour foot massage It’s also great to get a mani/pedi, facial or a traditional Thai massage (not necessarily all at once, but I’ve seen it done!). You’ll find a Thai massage house around every corner and possibly one, two or three next to each other! And yes, I agree with your next thought… how do I find the right one with all the choice available? I recommend that you choose the one you feel most comfortable in – it may not necessarily be the cheapest!
Chao Phraya River
The Chao Phraya River weaves and winds its way through Bangkok; it’s a major transportation artery for this city, it’s also a fabulous way to get around and see some of Bangkok’s beautiful sights. You’ll have great views of the river if you stay in a riverside hotel. Watch the hustle and bustle that occurs on the river, you’ll see barges full of building supplies chug their way up stream, oh try not to blink otherwise you’ll miss the long tail boats screaming past! Jump on the local ferry or take your own long tail boat, it’s a great way to access the flower markets, the Grand Palace, the stunning Wat Arun and even Khao San Road is not far from the river. It’s also a great way to get to the Floating Markets or even as far as the old capital Ayutthaya.
Thai Street food
So my home country is Australia and it has some pretty amazing Thai restaurants and great Thai food, however, it’s not a patch on what you’ll find in Bangkok. Once you’ve built up the courage to eat at the street stalls, you’ll wonder why it took you so long, although I’m personally not so sure about deep fried crickets! You’ll find everything from rice and stir fries; noodles; soups; fried chicken; grilled chicken, fish and bananas; skewers; fruit; drinks (coffee and tea); Thai style salads as well as grilled bread (toast) covered with butter, sugar and condensed milk! But my absolute favourite is Uncle Noodles, a local street vendor, and yes I am going to give up one of my secrets and tell you that it’s located on Lung Suan Road, down from Chidlom BTS Station – there are quite a few street vendors but keep your eyes peeled for the Uncle Noodle sign complete with a steaming bowl of noodles. I just love uncle’s big welcoming smile and tasty noodles with pork and wontons! As we’d say in Thai – aroi maak maak!
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More things to enjoy in Thailand and Asia
My friend Bernie is just back from a few months living in Chiang Mai in Thailand and brought back these elephant pictures from the Mae Tang Elephant Park that he visited while he was there. The elephant below is painting a T-shirt which will then be sold to raise money for the park.
You’ll find many different elephant parks in northern Thailand and around Chiang Mai. The elephants once worked in the forest to move logs, but since the logging trade was banned in 1988 you can see them by visiting one of these centres where they work with their mahouts to put on a performance for you.
There are around 80 elephants at this particular camp, 50 of which are owned by the camp and the rest are brought in by the mahoots who own them, whenever they cannot find work and so cannot afford to feed the elephants. At night the elephants are taken up into the forest, which is their natural habitat to rest and sleep. The camp supports 300 local people in direct employment and an estimated 1000 indirectly rely on the income from visitors.
The MaeTang Elephant Park is 45 minutes out of Chiang Mai towards Chiang Dao and the owners are in the process of setting up an elephant clinic to provide veterinary care for the elephants. At Mae Taeng they take a “soft” approach to elephant training and the mahouts who are sent to nearby Lampang to be trained to look after the elephants, some of which are fourth generation born in captivity.
There are different views as to whether it is the right way to treat the elephants to keep them in captivity and perform for tourists, but elephants have always worked in this area and by establishing the elephant clinic at Mae Taeng, they will enhance the veterinary care of the elephants. Elephants can have health problems, such as constipation, caused by eating too many banana branches and insect infestation under their skin which has to be checked for daily.
By having the clinic on the premises, they will avoid sometimes having to drive a sick animal to Lampang to see the vet, not ideal with such a huge animal and also stressful for the elephant.This elephant clinic will invite visiting vets from all over the world, who want to get experience treating elephants, to come to stay and will be equipped with a convalescing and nursery area as well as the natural and conventional medicines to treat the elephants. The clinic will also provide free veterinary care to all elephants in the MaeTang area, not just those at the park.
Elephant camps are an important part of the tourism industry in Thailand and provide local employment for those who would have formerly been employed in logging, so enjoy your encounter with these gentle giants but make sure you choose an elephant centre that has high standards of animal welfare.