Chatuchak JJ market is considered to be one of the world’s largest outdoor weekend markets. The market doesn’t seem to end and it is a real mission finding the way out! If I decide to go to JJ Market to shop, I’ll head there first thing in the morning, as it starts to get super-crowded around noon and on a humid day some of the interior sections can be suffocating.
What to buy & where to buy it:
Navigating your way through the maze of stalls can seem an impossible task, but if you follow these tips you’ll be shopping in no time.
- There is one main walkway that circles the entire market which is made up of 27 sections.
- Smaller alleyways branch off the main walkway and are numbered (Soi 1, Soi 2, Soi 3, and so on).
- It’s always helpful to find a point of reference such as BTS station, MRT station, banks, and numbered entrance gates to help navigate your way around and out
- Watch your personal belongings – pick pocketing is a known problem at the market
- Bring a large backpack for your newly purchased items, bottled water, baht (not credit cards), and sun protection
The sections are there to help you navigation your way through the market and to help you find goods that are divided into the following categories: (The guide below assumes you’re starting out at Gate 2)
Sections 5 & 6: retro heaven – used clothes, including worn-in jeans, sneakers, denim jackets, and cowboy boots.
Sections 8, 9 & 10: souvenirs galore – Thai handicrafts, ‘Oriental’ lacquerware, silk pillows, textiles, ‘antiques’, along with a lot of tourist tat.
Sections 12, 14, 16, 18, 20: plenty of cheap clothes and shoes, especially beachwear, hippy gear, t-shirts, army surplus stuff (good for cargo pants/shorts for travelling), sandals, handbags, beach bags, etc.
Sections 21, 22 & 23: lots of tiny ‘boutiques’, some ran by aspiring young designers, fresh out of fashion school, and hippy clothes.
Sections 24, 26 & 25: Hill tribe clothes, textiles, bags, jewellery, and ‘antiques’.
Section 1: used books and magazines, musical instruments, amulets, Buddhas, and both reproduction and authentic antiques.
Sections 20, 19 & 17: handicrafts, Asian home décor, ceramics and souvenirs, some kitschy.
Sections 15, 13 & 11: pet heaven! Mainly puppies, pussycats and bunny rabbits, some birds, and the occasional oddity, though don’t expect the bizarre and illegal wildlife that was once notoriously sold here.
With somewhere around 15,000 vendors, there is hours upon hours of shop-till-you-drop action at Chatuchak. You can buy about anything here including puppies, flowers, food, clothes.
Chatuchak Weekend Market is the best for bargain hunting, although whatever you buy here is probably no longer the best deal you can find. Make sure you brush up your negotiation skills and be prepared to walk away when the deal fails to go your way. Then, you’ll either be offered a lower price or simply find the same merchandise at another stall.
You can opt to take the BTS to the end of the Sukhumvit Line. Get off at Mo Chit station and follow the crowds back through Chatuchak Park to the market. Alternatively, and a little easier the MRT brings you up directly inside the market. Just make sure to get off at MRT Kamphaeng Phet Station not Chatuchak Park.
Only open on Saturday and Sunday from 6 am to 6 pm. My apartment is located within walking distance which has been very useful!
Romantic Vintage is a bridal accessories boutique within Chatuchak Weekend Market with a small collection of vintage items. They offer a beautiful range of elegant bridal accessories that have been handmade using a unique collection of stylish fabrics, embellishments and sparkling details. I couldn’t resist buying a few stunning hairpieces that would cost a fortune back home in London.
You won’t visit the same store twice because it is a nightmare trying to find it again. You might think you have but no doubt you will have wandered miles from where you originally were. So if you like something, bargain, and then buy it. I found this adorable vintage shop but I couldn’t find it again which was very frustrating. I took a photograph of the shop below but can’t remember what the store was called.