It is a consumer’s market in Thailand, and none more obvious than in Bangkok City. Shopping seems to be a favourite past time not only among the Thais but apparently even tourists who would surprisingly go out of their way to try out a new shopping and sightseeing experience in Thailand. There are street markets, floating markets and of course the night markets. The latter being a little less available as the space designated are rather limited within the city. Night markets are only open on the nights leading up to the weekends very similar to the floating markets or Chatuchak Market.
These market places are one of the tourist attractions for Bangkok City, however there are very few tour agencies that actually offer these night market routes as part of their tour attractions in Bangkok. Therefore if you are visiting the Big Mango and would like to visit one of these night markets, you would have to make an effort to find your way there. The two main night market attractions are in Rachada Road and in Srinakarin.
The Rachada Night Market is a little more accessible but is yet to be completed. It is reputed to be the biggest night market in the city and within the easily accessible areas of RCA, which is one of the main night entertainment hot spots and the MRT services. The other night market, which is in Srinakarin is a little further on the outskirt of the city and used to be at the old railway lines in Chatuchak area. It is known as the Talat Rot Fai (“talat” meaning market and “rot fai” means the railway in the Thai language).
What is it that attracts throngs of people to a night market or is it simply because people just like to shop? Unlike the other markets, in a night market you can shop in relative comfort even though it is crowded and do not have to bear the heat of the day as night markets are in an open space which also means that during the rainy seasons, business would be a whole lot slower! The night markets in Thailand are a variety of goods and food that appeal to a good cross section of the shopping taste. You can find anything from brand new clothing, second hand designer goods, old vintage toys and décor or even second hand clothing and toys. The Talat Rot Fai in Srinakarin has a good blend of up market retail shops as well as restaurants and cafes which makes it a pleasant place to hang out for those who are tired of shopping. It is a far better environment compared to the original night market which was in a dirt road back area, always muddy and dark. Night markets also offer a good bargain opportunity for those who like to haggle at prices.
The night market concept offers a business opportunity for small scale proprietors that are keen to do a little side business over the weekends for extra income and this is where you can find many unusual items for sale which are homemade or customized and not found in department stores or big shopping centres. While you are at Talat Rot Fai night market, try one of the attractions here which is a big bowl of porridge with all the trimmings on it boiling hot in a clay pot at your table! You will not find this anywhere in a shopping centre or even at a food court and one pot serves up to three persons with plenty to spare even for> those with a big appetite.
Shoppers who are keen on collectibles, this is a good place to start looking for them. Some vendors at the night markets have a good collection of vintage tin toys, obsolete comic books and collectibles or even antiques which are going for a steal. You just need a sharp eye and a good sense of what is vintage and a collectible. You can even buy some good car, bike and bicycle parts here if you like something unusual. These night markets normally start around 4.00pm and go on till 3.00 am in the morning which gives you ample time to mooch around especially if it is one of those sleepless weekend nights or you happen to be a night bird and prefer nocturnal activities. Tourists will have a fun time eating and shopping their way through or even taking some great photos of things that make up the culture of the urban Thai shopping adventure. If you are not sure what to do on weekend evenings in Bangkok, add the night market adventure into your list of sightseeing in Bangkok Experiences, hop onto a BTS train and head for On Nut station and grab a cab to Talat Rot Fai or take the MRT to Phra Ram 9 and walk from there to the Rachada Night Market.
The hustle and bustle of Thailand’s night markets can best be described as an eclectic shopping adventure of local smells, taste, sight and sound. The familiar Thai greeting of “Dai na kha?” akin to “Anything?” will see you ending up with an item or two into your shopping bag! So the next time you are in Thailand, especially Bangkok, rather than just heading out to Chatuchak Market or the famous floating markets, try a night market experience in Bangkok and tell us what you think!
Picture credit:: Iwondered,propertyseven