Chatuchak or JJ as it is also known is a huge sprawling market with over 15,000 stalls on the outskirts of Bangkok. From Ploenchit where I am living it is an extremely easy BTS ride to Mo Chit which takes around 40 minutes and the market is a 3 minute walk from the BTS line and so I decided to head off there to explore on my last free day before settling into my new work routine. The market opens at 9am and I would highly recommend getting there at that time as I had a very relaxing few hours exploring the thousands of stalls before the mad hoards started descending at around 11:30am by which time I was settling down for a bite to eat in their food section and enjoying a well earned Ice cold Singha before I made my way back home, fighting my way through the crowds of locals and tourists arriving at the market.
They have huge maps around the outskirts of the market by many of the entrances and it is quite easy to orientate yourself as there is a large clock tower in the centre of the outside courtyard from which you can find your bearings.
I started off by walking through the pet section where cute little puppies, seemingly very well cared for and looked after were attracting plenty of attention but as I am not in any position to be buying a pet (and they are very strict on not letting you take photos or touch the animals in order not to get them over excited or distressed) I quickly moved on.
The open air art section was probably my favourite area of the market, there were some really beautiful sculptures, wood carvings and stunning pieces of art some affordable others less so and they also have a very nice little espresso bar and a lovely looking café if you want to sit and escape the crowds this would be a good little place to hide.
You can literally find anything at Chatuchak I gather, I saw plenty of antique stalls (beware of buying antiques in Thailand as you need documentation for all genuine antiques for customs clearance and of course the Thais are also master forgers so your purchase may not be as “antique” as you have been led to believe) as well as home wares, books, plants, arts and crafts, clothes, jewelry, wholesale stalls to buy stationary, bags, plastic fruit and so much more!
They also have hundreds of food stalls and things to eat and you could walk from stall to stall grazing for quite some time if you so desired or if you preferred to sit down they had everything from air-conditioned cafes to street stalls. I nibbled on an ice-lolly as I walked around, a steal at 4 baht and very refreshing in the heat as well as trying a cooling iced basil seed jelly drink which had an interesting sweet yet herbaceous flavour to it, quite unlike anything I have tasted before. When I decided to eat I settled for a 40 baht som tam (papaya salad) as I was too hot to want anything more substantial although all the food I saw looked quite delicious and I was sorry I didn’t have more of an appetite.
I took hundreds of photos, most of food unsurprisingly so here is a (sort of) edited selection to give you a bit of an idea about the market. I can see Chatuchak becoming a fairly regular place to head to if I do get a weekend day off as It was a lot of fun exploring even if I wasn’t buying anything, I may not be so restrained next time though!