Surviving Chatuchak Weekend Market
If you're the kind of person who loves crowds and never gets hot nor annoyed by heat, and is also blessed with incredible negotiation and orienteering skills you're gonna love JJ market, a labyrinth of narrow alleyways lined with vendors and appealing merchandise and overflowing with customers. For the rest of us Bangkok's number one shopping destination has such an incredible variety of merchandise (from shadow puppets to ceramics to designer clothes... even snakes!) and such great prices that the heat and the crowds and the general chaos are worth enduring. In which case it pays to come prepared, so here are a few ideas on how to survive Chatuchak:
- Buy a Nancy Chandler map of Bangkok. Not only is it a great map for traveling around Bangkok, it also includes an awesome color coded map of Chatuchak market (it makes for a great fan when you're at the market, too).
- Plan (as much as possible) where you want to go and what you want to buy ahead of time. Difficult but worthwhile - it's hard enough to think let alone plan when you're there.
- Get there early to avoid the worst of the heat and the crowds.
- Carry water with you - stay hydrated!
- Stop and rest often. There are heaps of cool cafes and restaurants (I recommend Vivas in Section 8 and there's a great Isaan restaurant in Section 24, too).
- If you see something you like, buy it (or else mark the stall clearly on your map - just know that you still may not be able to find your way back to it).
- Planning to meet someone? Make sure you both have mobile phones or at least have a good back up plan if you either of you gets lost.