One of my most favourite places to go to is Bangkok, Thailand. Nothing beats the vibe of this city. It’s a travellers’ paradise complete with markets, history, local food and culture; This city has something for everybody. I first visited this vibrant city back in 2008. We dint see much then save for one or two night markets and shopping was mostly restricted to the famous MBK Mall. But my recent visit, which was almost 9 years later, has helped me discover the joy of shopping from various local markets across the city. The most fun thing about being in Bangkok is the street food and the shopping!
I’ve tried to list down the best ones that I loved and my list does not include Chattuchak market since I missed seeing it this time.
Patpong Night Market
Go here for :-
- Bags, wallets, luggage , Trolley bags, laptop bags, slings etc
- Local art stuff (good for gifting) – 3D cutwork cards, shell work platters and bowls
- T shirts – fairly good variety of tees for kids and adults
- Toys – Found these really good fake lego sets (small ones in ‘Star Wars’ theme) that were dirt cheap and kept my kid busy through the trip.
- Souvenirs – Keychains and a lot of other random stuff at nominal rates
Bargaining? Yes, almost half or less than half of the original quote.
One of the older night markets, Patpong is easier to get to if you are staying in and around Sukhomvit area. Just hail a cab or a tuktuk(popular local transport) and you’ll reach there in a few minutes (depending upon traffic). This market has a total tourist vibe with the prices fairly marked up because they are used to bargaining tourists. What surprised me most were the bargains that we actually managed to get here.
Patpong has almost everything, clothes, bags, local art stuff but the basic rule about this market (as I realized) is the ‘bargaining skills’. There are no fixed rates anywhere (even if they insist), but the rates for the same item vary across stalls. So for you to be able to strike a bargain, you need to first check all the stalls once and just ask prices as you move along and start bargaining in the second round. OR if you had seen an item before elsewhere compare the price and then bargain. It’s also a ‘game of wits’ as I call it. But it was a great place to shop overall.
The market however is in the middle of the street that has seedy bars (‘Seedy’ for my Indian sensibilities) lined up all across. Eateries are fairly scattered so no dearth of places to eat and drink in between the shopping. But it gets crowded and stuffy and one gets tired soon.
Palladium Night Market
Go here for :-
- Clothes for women – Dresses, tops, nightwear, loungewear , gym wear, formal jackets , stoles, traditional Thai dresses etc
- Clothes for men – Shirts, lounge wear, gym wear, jeans, trousers, etc
- Bags, wallets, slings etc
- T shirts unisex
- Souvenirs (Limited) – a Lot of random stuff
Bargaining? Yes, Almost 10 to 20% of quoted price, depending upon the quantity of units being bought.
This market is set up outside the Palladium Mall and it’s better to plan a trip here together with the ‘Talad Neon’ that is walking distance. This market is meant mostly for clothes for men as well as women. The larger quantities you buy the more bargain you get. A lot of wholesale shoppers can be seen all over the market. The clothes are not all of great quality but ‘dirt-cheap’. Most stalls have less prices but one can always bargain a bit.
From t shirts to shirts and even formal office wear jackets, they have all basics for your wardrobes so worth a visit!
Talad Neon Market
Go here for:-
- The food, especially the live music in the pubs towards the end of the market
- Exotic animals and pets are sold here and tourists also take pictures with snakes etc (Personally I dint like that part)
- Fashion clothing
- Home décor
Bargaining? Yes, almost 10 to 30% of quoted price.
Talad Neon is the new entrant in the night market scene in Bangkok. While our cabbie was taking a short cut to get somewhere we noticed this cluster of shipping containers arranged neatly into rows of stalls and the pink mascot with ‘Neon’ marked on it, so we googled and found out this market quite accidentally. It opened for business in Dec 2016 and has a great young vibe. Apart from tourists I found a lot of locals relaxing in the bars towards the farthest end of the market. This is a happening market indeed. I found a stall selling posters and t shirts of popular hard rock bands. There were also stalls by local artists. Stalls selling perfumed soaps shaped like flowers and fruits with far better prices than we saw at MBK Mall. Lots of clothes and bags’ stalls spread everywhere. Even a few fashion jewellery stores. But the best part about Talad Neon is that it is very nice and open. Unlike in Patpong where it gets claustrophobic, this market is neat and clean and has open areas with benches to sit on and take a break in between the shopping.
We spent an hour shopping and another couple of hours hanging out at the pubs. Highly recommend going here!
Thai Maharaja Mall
Go here for:-
- Cup of coffee to relax after the trip to The Grand Palace (that can be exhausting, given the temperature outside)
- Shop for clothes
- Eat from Ac restaurants or food stalls
Bargaining? Not much
If you take the Chao Phraya Express boat then this mall is one of the stops that you can get off at. It’s very close to the popular tourist attraction, The Grand Palace. It’s a very picturesque mall with lots of restaurants, cafes and also open-air food joints. There are stalls to shop clothes etc from. The clothes here are of better quality and designs than many other markets and there are branded stores too. The mall has only two levels and being on the riverside has added advantages for river view coffee places like the Starbucks here. Not so much for shopping but to relax and eat in peace, Thai Maharaj is one of the ‘not so crowded’ destinations in Bangkok. Can’t say how it gets in the evenings though as I visited during the day.
Wang Lang Market
Across the Thai Maharaja Mall on the Chao Phraya river, is Pier N 10 which is also home to the famous Wang Lang market. We discovered this market by accident. On our return from the Grand Palace, we were supposed to catch the express boat back from the other side of the river. So when we crossed we saw rows of shops selling interesting footwear for women at very low prices. Naturally, we bought a few pairs (after bargaining) and then we walked into the shops that stretched inside and opened towards the Wang Lang Market. Known mostly for the food stalls here, this market has a typical local feel to it. A place where you would go to buy your daily wear and your daily needs if you were a local.
At that time we had no idea that we had stumbled upon yet another good market. Since we were passing through we bought a few things and saw the food stalls in a jiffy as we had to catch the boat back to where we started in the morning. Later when I googled this place I found out about the Wang Lang Market!
Tripadvisor has a lot written about it in detail and one can easily decide whether to skip or to just visit.
The best thing to do in Bangkok is to take the Chao Phraya express and just get off at any station and explore. The river has so much happening around it that it doesn’t stop to amaze you as a tourist. If possible do a tour on one of the boats.
While there were many more markets left for me to explore, I cherish my experiences from the ones I visited in both Bangkok and Phuket. I cannot wait to go back and add more to my endless list of shopping destinations. Here’s to many more!
Thanks for reading!
PS: It feels great to receive feedback from a few readers about how my blog helped them. I’m forever grateful for it!! Thanks so much for reading my blog and for appreciating it. Cheers