A shopping paradise and a food haven, Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, offers one plentiful reasons to fall in love with. Beyond its shopping malls, hipster cafes and its well-earned reputation of embracing the weird, visitors to this enigmatic city will undoubtedly agree that Bangkok’s night markets offer a never-ending supply of cheap thrills, that’s if you know how to bargain.
Read on to find out some of Bangkok’s most interesting night markets and learn a trick or two on how to bargain your way to a great deal.
1. Rot Fai Market, Srinakarin
Photo Credits: Bangkok.com
Open only in the evenings from Thursdays to Sundays, Rot Fai Market, which translates to ‘Train Market’, is located behind the popular and enormous Seacon Square. This open-air market helms a retro theme and is an oasis for those seeking vintage collectables, antiques or memorabilia from yesteryears.
It features three unique sections where visitors can shop at: ‘Market Zone’, ‘Warehouse Zone’ and ‘Rod’s Antiques’. People often make the mistake of impulse buying a certain item and later miss out on a bargain. Always keep your eyes peeled at what different vendors have got to offer, and take your time to probe carefully, and compare prices before finally making your purchase.
Opening Hours: Thursdays - Sundays: 5.00pm to 12.00mn
*Pro-tip: On Fridays and Saturdays, the traffic leading up to Rot Fai Market in Srinakarin is often congested. Consider taking the BTS train and alight at On Nut Station and hop on a taxi from there. You’ll beat the traffic and have more time to shop.
2. Asiatique The Riverfront
Photo Credits: Tour Asia
Combining shopping, sightseeing, and dining in a single location off the Chaopraya River, Asiatique The Riverfront unites the exciting shopping experiences of a night market and a shopping mall together.
Once a bustling international trading port, Asiatique The Riverfront not only houses more than 1,500 boutiques and 40 restaurants, it also features the ever-entertaining Calypso Cabaret Show and a 60m Ferris Wheel, which offers a scenic view of the river amidst its surroundings.
Many will agree that most of the fares here fetch a higher price as compared to other markets, but not if you know how to haggle. Sometimes putting on your poker face and staying mum can help. The idea is to create that awkward silence and have the shopkeeper rethink their initial proposition and have them make it more appealing.
Address: 2194 Charoen Krung Rd, Khwaeng Wat Phraya Krai, Khet Bang Kho Laem, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10120, Thailand
Opening Hours: 4.00pm to 12.00mn daily
*Pro-tip: Because of its somewhat hard to access location, hopping onto a taxi may be a good move. Remember, ask/bargain for metered fare lest you get overcharged.
3. Chatuchak Weekend Market
Photo Credits: Bangkok.com
One of the most popular markets in Bangkok, Chatuchak Weekend Market never fails to attract a sizable crowd each weekend. With a wide variety of vendors, the sheer size of this market may be impossible for one to conquer in a single day.
You can find almost anything here ranging from fashion wares, accessories, antiques, handicrafts, and even furniture too. You will also be glad to know that the merchandise sold are from local factory outlets at affordable prices. Also, most of the vendors here do not offer credit and debit payment. Thus, you are advised to bring along some spare cash and pre-download an online map to better navigate the area.
If you are travelling together with a friend, pull all your purchases together and ask for a deal for bulk purchase. Merchants are generally more flexible and willing to offer a nicer price tag if they think they can sell more items. So if the price of a T-shirt costs 250Baht (approx USD 7.50), ask to have one at 170 Baht (approx USD 5.00) if you purchase 10.
Opening Hours: Saturdays and Sundays: 9.00am to 6.00pm Fridays: 6.00pm to 12.00mn
How to get there: Alight at (N8) Mo Chit Station (Sukhumvit Line) while you hop on the BTS line
*Pro-tip: The place is huge. In the event you’re a little lost, BTS and MRT stations, as well as banks and numbered entrance gates, are good points of references, as you will come across them as you turn corners. It is recommended to head to Chatuchak in the morning to avoid the scorching afternoon sun (although a bowl of iced coconut ice cream does sound awesome).
*Pro-tip: It is recommended to head to Chatuchak in the morning to avoid the scorching afternoon sun (although a bowl of iced coconut ice cream does sound awesome)
4. Rot Fai Market, Ratchada
Photo Credits: Novotel Bangkok Impact
Retaining the similar retro theme as its suburban counterpart in Srinakarin, the Rot Fai Market in Ratchada is located behind The Esplanade Shopping Mall. While smaller in size, people still flock to this market because of its accessibility (It is just a few minutes’ walk away from Cultural Centre MRT Underground Station).
You can expect similar antique wares, secondhand toys, and hipster fashion and along the different lanes within the market. When bargaining, if a deal fails to go your way, consider giving thanks before slowly walking away. Risky as it seems, if you manage to pull this technique off, the shopkeeper may call you back for a renegotiation.
Address: Ratchadaphisek Road, Khwaeng Din Daeng, Khet Din Daeng, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10400, Thailand
Opening Hours: Thursdays - Sundays: 5.00pm to 12.00mn
5. JJ Green Night Market
Photo Credits: Shopjj.co
Also known as Jatuchak Green Night Market, JJ Green is a vintage market that sits beside the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market. The crowd at JJ Green comprises of locals seeking out interesting vintage finds or tourists who have nowhere else to go when Chatuchak Weekend Market closes. Expect yourself browsing through makeshift stalls or floor mats for an eclectic selection of vinyl CDs, antiques, second-hand clothes, handmade accessories and more.
Although there are several vintage night markets popping up, what sets JJ Green apart is the presence of several watering holes which essentially is a sign of a thriving nightlife and a great post-shopping treat.
It is wise to set aside the money you are willing to part with before bantering for a certain item. In the midst of bargaining, and if the shopkeeper refuses to lower the price of a certain item, take out that stash and let the shopkeeper know that this is what you have left. Chances are, the sight of the money will win them over. Plus, offering to pay cash over credit saves them the trouble of paying credit card transaction fees.
Address: Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
Opening Hours: Thursdays - Sundays: 5.00pm to 2.00am
6. Siam Gypsy Junction Night Market
Photo Credits: RunBkk.net
Once part of JJ Green Night Market, the Gypsy market has since relocated to right beneath the MRT Bang Son station. Exuding a hippy vibe, the Siam Gypsy Junction Night Market sprawls over 1.6km and attracts a young crowd seeking interesting loots and finds.
With interesting knick-knacks, time-honored curios, or second-hand apparels displayed at the side of their lorries or vans, vendors will tout eagerly to anyone browsing. There is even an open-air barber where you can get a trim or a new cut in tune with the latest trends.
If you are unsure about how much to pay for a certain item, you may consider first bargaining about 50% below the original price before negotiating and coming to a consensus.
Opening Hours: Wednesdays - Sundays: 6.00pm to 1.00am
7. Pat Khlong Talat (Flower Market)
Photo Credits: Notes from Camelid Country
Sick of the usual sights in a typical night market? Then, make a visit to Bangkok’s largest wholesale and retail flower market, Pat Khlong Talat, where you can explore something entirely different yet equally refreshing.
Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in a beautiful environment where each storefront is fully stocked with flowers of different variants and colours. The range of flowers here comprises of local species, such as jasmine, orchids, and lilies, to species imported overseas, such as tulips and iris.
Not only are these bundles of flowers sold cheap, you can also purchase accessories for flower arrangements, such as vases, floral foams or decorative leaves, at affordable prices too.
While haggling is quite the norm in Bangkok, being overly pushy and persistent may not necessarily work out an ideal deal. Do spare a thought for the vendors for the amount you may save today could have gone a long way for their families.
Address: 116 Chakphet Road, Khwaeng Wang Burapha Phirom, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
Opening Hours: Opens 24/7 daily
*Pro-tip: Drop by the Pat Khlong Talat in the wee hours of the morning (it opens 24/7) and you get to catch the market when it is most alive and when freshest batches of flowers delivered.
It is true that most of the vendors in touristy areas offer items with overly-inflated prices to unsuspecting tourists. Haggling and bargaining, of course, becomes quintessential in leveling the playing field. At the end of the day, it is important not to lose your cool and remember that the act of haggling or bargaining is supposed to be an enjoyable experience that makes your Bangkok trip more rewarding.