The five best offbeat markets in Bangkok

Bangkok has the legendary Chatuchak Weekend Market but there's more markets to explore that go from a chilled vibe to an all-party mode.

A woman on a market streets of Khao San, Bangkok.
  • Julia D’Orazio
  • September 2018

Besides the tourist behemoth that is Chatuchak Weekend Market, these offbeat markets will tempt you to overfill your suitcase (and tummy).

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A crowded Chatuchack Market of Bangkok.
The tourist behemoth that is Chatuchak Weekend Market.

1. Youthful Market with a Chilled Vibe

Talad Neon Night Market

Where: 1087 New Petchburi Rd.
The lights are shining bright at the latest night market on the Bangkok scene, the funky Talad Neon Night Market opens in new window. Forget overcrowding; this is one hip market to stroll through on a night out in the Pratunam district in downtown Bangkok. Boasting more than 900 stores, Talad has plenty of quirky fashion and kitschy trinkets. It’s also bursting with upmarket food trucks selling both traditional and creative cuisine – fried chicken burger topped with macaroni cheese, anyone? After giving your legs a workout, drop the bags and enjoy a live music performance at one of the many bars housed in shipping containers. Open Thursday to Sunday, 4pm to midnight.

People shopping at Chinatown Shopping Centre in Bangkok.
Chinatown is undoubtedly one of the most culturally rewarding parts of Bangkok.

2. Chinatown Wholesale

Sampeng Market

Where: Soi Wanit 1 (Sampeng Ln)
Throw away the map and let your nose and wallet guide your way around Bangkok’s Chinatown. This is undoubtedly one of the most culturally rewarding parts of the city with its authentic Thai and Chinese street eats, but when it comes to shopping, Sampeng Market opens in new window takes the crown. Running parallel to Yaowarat Road, Chinatown’s golden mile of action, Sampeng Market stretches along a narrow laneway and offers a wide variety of cheap jewellery, fashion accessories, Chinese goods and Indian silks at wholesale prices. It’s obviously the place for bargains – just ask the Bangkok shop vendors who also come here to stock up. The constant hustle and bustle between street-food carts, motorcycle deliveries and avid shoppers adds to the atmosphere.

A crowded street of Khao San Road in Bangkok.
No trip to Bangkok is complete without exploring the Banglamphu neighbourhood, a rite of passage for budget-conscious travellers and partygoers alike.

3. Mix Shopping with All-night Partying

Khao San Road

Where: Along Khao San Rd.
The sun may have set, but Bangkok continues to sizzle with vendors selling tourist essentials (selfie sticks and bootleg brands) and hawker eats heating up Bangkok’s famed backpacker haunts of Khao San Road and Soi Rambuttri. No trip to this city is complete without exploring the Banglamphu neighbourhood, a rite of passage for budget-conscious travellers and partygoers alike. Its bars are pumping until the wee hours of the morning.

A guy buying on a vendor in a crowded market.
Food stalls are dotted around Pratunam Market.

4. Bargain Hunters Rejoice

Pratunam Market

Where: Intersection of Ratchaprop and Petchburi roads to Ratchaprarop Soi 3, +66 81 402 0631
Need a new wardrobe? You’ve come to the right place at this multistorey, bargain-lovers’ paradise. In the shadow of Bangkok’s second-tallest skyscraper, Baiyoke Tower 2, Thailand’s biggest wholesale garment market is a place to happily get lost in a maze of clothing, shoe, fabric and accessories stories. Not just for the bulk buyers, it’s also popular with thrifty fashionistas looking to complete their look on a shoestring budget. Street-food vendors at the markets provide much-needed fuel for the day (or night, as it is open 24 hours) of shopping exploration.

Aerial view of Rod Fai Market at night, Bangkok.
The colourful tents filled with bargains at the new Rod Fai Night Market.

5. Collector's Paradise

New Rod Fai Night Market

Where: Ratchadaphisek Rd. (Near Esplanade Shopping Mall), +66 81 713 5599
Taking its name from its former location in an abandoned railway station, the new Rod Fai Market opens in new window maintains the bizarre hipster characteristics of its predecessor at its new home in Ratchada, near the Thailand Cultural Center MRT station. Not only does it sell anything you can think of – homewares, furniture, fashion, toys – it is also retro heaven with an enormous collection of vintage memorabilia including classic cars and antiques. Be prepared to get snap-happy when faced with a sea of rainbow-coloured marquees, bars and restaurants. Open Thursday to Sunday from 5pm.