Tips on Surviving the Chatuchak Weekend Market

If you’ve got room to spare in your backpack or suitcase then a day at the famous Chatuchak weekend market is a must.  It’s a market like no other, covering more than 35 acres of land with almost 10,000 stalls and selling everything imaginable from pets to scarves to spices and souvenirs.  Here are some handy tips to help you navigate the market like a pro:

Chatuchak market, Bangkok
The amazing and overwhelming chatuchak market
  1. Transport – if you’re staying on Khao San Rd, save yourself the taxi fare and hop on bus 44 that goes straight to the market.  Get a local to point you in the right direction
  2. Timing – start early in the day.  The market opens at 9am on Saturdays and Sundays and it pays to get there early.  The sun won’t be beating down on you, and most Thai people will offer a more reduced price for their morning sale, as the first sales of the day are said to bring in good luck.
  3. Pricing – it is imperative that you get pricing ahead of time before entering the bowels of this market.  While some vendors pricing is reasonable, others are trying to take you for every penny.  Make a list with prices you’ve obtained from somewhere like Khao San Road and use it to your advantage.
  4. Bargaining – review these tips for working your poker face. Bartering is expected on every item at the market and items can be discounted for sometimes up to 75% of the first price.  Bargain very, very hard and never be afraid to walk away if you can’t come to a reasonable price.  There will be other (in fact many other) stalls selling the same item.
  5. Navigating – although it will seem like a giant maze at first, the market is broken up into 27 sections with 11 categories of goods. Now while it would seem logical to group all the similar categories together, they have made several section of each good, probably to help with competition. Get yourself a map when you arrive and plan your day accordingly.

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