Chatuchak Market, Thailand: Shop Like a Local in the JJ Market

Chatuchak Market, or JJ as it is called by the locals and in this article, is one of the largest markets in Southeast Asia.  It is a city of it’s own with tin-roofed building housing vendors selling a variety of goods from food to clothes and crowded “sois”(“soi” is the Thai equivalent of side-street, pronounced like “soy”) with vendors hawking their goods and buyers snatching them up.

If you need something while in Bangkok, Thailand, you can find it at JJ market and on top of that, it will be cheap!  While that thought might be comforting, navigating JJ is an Olympic event on it’s own and requires a lot of patience and a good dose of perseverance.  But this is Southeast Asia, everything comes with a headache for Westerners!

When you first enter JJ market, all of your senses will be overwhelmed by foreign sights and smells and a cacaphony of Thai as vendors compete for who can yell the prices of their goods the loudest.  Don’t be put off yet; I promise you are going to find something for a price that will make your jaw drop!  Now, the best way to navigate JJ market is to not navigate it; just take a right or left hand turn if it feels right to you in the moment.   If you are someone who insists on following a map, then you can pick one up from one of the tourist information booths at the many entrances to the market.

Now that you are inside the market, what do you buy? Well, anything and everything! You will find some many useful, and not so useful, things at JJ that you will wish you had more than two arms to carry all the bags you will inevitably fill up.  You certainly won’t have any regrets about the size, or lack thereof, of you your wallet because prices are dirt cheap at JJ and the place to find cheap stuff in Bangkok; even the Thais know that!  Not only is everything already cheap, but haggling is accepted and even expected.  If you need to buy gifts for family and friends back home, buy in bulk and you will get a great deal that even the stingiest of people would approve.  If your clothes are a bit tatty from months of living out of suitcase and not doing much laundry, the JJ is the place to get new, cheap clothes to replace them for your life post travels.  Or maybe you want to look stylish while traveling but not break the bank? Knock-off Rayban sunglasses are plentiful and usually $1-2.


JJ market is only on the weekend(Saturday and Sunday), so if you are in Bangkok on one of those days, it is well worth the visit. Many people fly back home from Bangkok after their travels and make a stop at JJ to pick up any last things for themselves and friends and family back home.  JJ market can easily be reached by BTS Skytrain as it is next to the last stop, Mo Chit, on the Sukhumvit line.  There are also buses that go there and any taxi or tuk tuk driver will know where to go if you say “JJ”.

August 9, 2011

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