Bangkok Outdoor Markets
What to Buy and Where to Shop in Bangkok
Bangkok is peppered with street-side stalls and shops. Sometimes, they pop up at the most random, unexpected places such as a parking lot or narrow alley between two office buildings. At outdoor markets, you have a large concentration of these stalls crammed in one big space. Some markets are specialised in certain goods, such as textiles (Pratunam Market), amulets and charms (Tha Chang), electronics (Saphan Lek) and clothing (Khlong San); others have bits of everything - including (stolen) second-hand goods.
Unlike shopping malls, prices at the outdoor markets are not fixed, so you can always have a go at bargaining for the best posiible price you want to pay. Just remember to do it politely and with a sense of humour.
This small Plaza is neatly tucked down Samepeng lane and is solely dedicated to shoes. Brands such as Nike, Converse, Vans and Campus can be picked up here for a fraction of the 'normal' price and there is the wholesale option too. Other styles of shoes include ladies' sandals and flip-flops.
- Highlights: Branded trainers at a cheap price.
- Address: 382-386 Vanish Rd, Sampeng
Open since the '80s, this market is popular with locals for its bargains. Banglamphu Market is a good place to find inexpensive Thai products of almost everything from jeans, T-shirts, shorts, to well-known brand sneakers. There are a few secondhand bookstores and numerous internet cafés located here.
- Opening Hours: 08:00 – 18:00
- Location: Banglamphu Market, Jakkapong Road (north of Khao San Road)
Khlong San Market
Step off the pier at Khlong San (Thonburi side) and you will find this market straight ahead (there is also an entrance to the market on Charoen Nakhon Road). In Bangkok, it’s common for the many piers on the Chao Phraya to have markets set up right next to them, so you have to walk all the way through past the shops to get to where ever you’re going.
If you’re a young girl into cheap jeans, knock-off shoes and bags, tacky accessories and colourful dresses, this market would be worth the trip across the river for its shopping options. For anyone else, it might not be worth a special excursion, though there are some great riverside restaurants in the area and the excellent Millennium Hilton Hotel is just two minutes walk away.
- Opening Hours: 07:00 - 22:00
- How to get there: Directly cross the Chao Phraya River from River City, the Shangri-La hotel, or the Si Phraya Pier and get off at Khlong San Pier.
Similar to Saphan Mai, this market is a bit of a distance from the Skytrain, although this is made up by the friendly vendors plus a variety of items mainly for locals. Located near the busy Lad Phrao Road, it is divided into three main sections spanning two city blocks. A bit more congested than Saphan Mai but a lot less stressing than more popular markets, it is worth a trip for true local market flavor.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 20:00 (every day)
- How to get there: From BTS Skytrain Mo Chit station, you can take a taxi down Lad Phrao Road to the market (20 - 30 minutes, 100 - 120 baht). Air Con bus numbers 2, 15, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, and micro bus numbers 2 and 3 go to the market. Also, you may want to head there between 09:00 and 15:00, as traffic can get pretty congested in the morning and late afternoon.
Pahurat – Little India
Also known as Little India, this market is frequented by few tourists but is nonetheless bustling with locals. The labyrinth of narrow lanes gives way to plentiful rolls of textiles such as silk, cotton, wool and cashmere in all kinds of colours, each to be brought at a good rate. Once crossing Chakraphek Road you will enter Pahurat. Within these first few blocks lay Pahurat's textile-selling action, so choose one of the many small alleyways and dive into the heart of it all.
- Highlights: Textiles, Indian paraphernalia, trinkets and sandals
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 18:00 (every day)
- Location: Running parallel south of Yaowarat (the main street) walk south along Sampeng Lane.
- Address: Chakraphek Road and Sampleng Lane, Chinatown
Pratunam Wholesale Market
Located at the intersection of Ratchaprop and Petchburi roads, Pratunam Wholesale Market is one of Bangkok's major markets, selling clothes, shoes, and fashion accessories at wholesale prices. Entry the small alleys and jam-packed small streets and you will find yourself in the middle of a clothe-maze. Shops and tiny stalls dotted on both sides displaying all kind (literally) of clothes from; shorts, t-shirts, formal evening, suits, winter jackets or even bizarre outfits and fancy dress. Bargaining at the market is acceptable, though you barely need to – they’re cheap.
- Opening Hours: 24 hours (retail shops open from 10:00 - 21:00)
- Location: Intersection of Ratchaprop and Petchburi roads
Few tourists discover the joys of this atmospheric wholesale market, best described as the main artery of Chinatown. It is a very narrow lane that runs from Songsawat Road in the East to Chakraphet Road in the West, running parallel to Charoen Krung (New Road). Even if you don’t wish to buy anything it’s well worth visiting just for the sheer experience. Goods such as flip-flops, toys, household items, and herbs can be bought here. Ladies will appreciate the vast selection of shoes and imitation ‘IT bags’ to be found. The area has a distinct smell of leather crossed with the aromatic scent of food being prepared.
- Highlights: Wholesale Market – Fabric, Clothing, Haberdashery and Jewellery
- Location: Walk down the narrow lane that runs from Songsawat Road in the East to Chakraphet Road in the West, running parallel to Charoenkrung Road.
- Address: Sampeng Soi (Soi Wanit 1), Chinatown
Saphan Lek Market
It is thought that certain customs duties haven't been paid on most of the items here, and therefore bargain hunters can save up to 40% off department store prices. Bootleg software, pirated videos, unlicensed cassette tapes; these are just some of the things that you can find crammed into the aisles that make up Bangkok's Talat Saphan Lek. Just to the west of Chinatown, The 200-metre-long aisles, which run along both banks of the canal, stretch from Charoen Krung or New Road south to Yaowarat Rd.
- Highlights: Electronics, software, DVDs and CD’s
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 18:00
- Location: Iron Bridge Market. The market itself is built on a large metal bridge over Ohng Ang Canal in the Wang Burapha
Tha Chang Amulet Market
This is one of the oldest markets and is probably the best place in Bangkok for buying religious paraphernalia. Along the side of the road are plenty of vendors offering everything a good Buddhist would need, from antlers or tusks, dentures from famous abbots, images of Buddha to famous monks embossed in bronze, wood or clay. The market is meant for religious locals rather than tourists, though it is worth a visit.
- Opening Hours: 08:00 – 18:00
- Location: Tha Chang Pier
Tha Prachan Pier Market
Most people come here to look for used brand-name shoes on sale in various sizes, and for creative printed T-shirts designed by students of art faculties from nearby Thammasat and Srirpakorn universities. Other goods available include fashionable clothing, handbags, accessories, interior decorating items, musical instruments, books, postcards, and handmade souvenirs. Celebrated fortunetellers also gather here, and some can communicate in English.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 19:00
- Location: Tha Prachan Pier
The Sukhumvit Market
A lot of Nana shopping exists on the street, with the vendors that make up the roadside market fringing the main road. This part of Bangkok is also known as the Middle Eastern quarter –'Little Arabia’, where many Arab businesses set up shop. Street stalls selling counterfeit T-shirts, bags, trinkets, DVD's, CD’s and eastern-influenced apparel contribute to the bustling vibrancy of the place. This is a great location to pick up indigenous tokens for friends and family back home.
- Opening Hours: 11:00-22:30
- Location: BTS Nana
- Address: Sukhumvit sois 2-12 and sois 3-15
The Thieves Market (Woeng Nakhon Kasem)
While we do not recommend a trip to Chinatown for the purpose of visiting the Thieves Market, briefly including it on a walking tour somehow feels more appropriate. The one-time hub for antiques in Bangkok (a role now filled by Chatachak), it is no longer a trading ground for stolen goods but now secondhand items including electronic devices, musical instruments and uniforms.
- Highlights: Flowers, musical instruments and some electronics
- Opening Hours: 08:00 – 17:00
- Location: Between Yaowarat and Chakrapet Rd
- Address: Yaowarat Rd. and Chakraphet Rd
Wang Lang Market
Wang Lang Market (or Wang Lang Plaza as they has rebranded it in English) is a sprawling day time market next to Wang Lang Pier and the vast Siriraj Hospital.
As this is on the Thonburi side, the market welcomes a 99% local crowd, with the foreign visitor a bit of an uncommon sight. That means vendors tend to give you extra, friendlier attention, with un-inflated prices too. Like most markets next to the numerous piers on the Chao Phraya River, expect a range of cheap clothes (girl’s jeans from 200 baht, sunglasses for 50 baht, dresses from 150 baht, and shoes from 200 baht) as well as a few street food stalls serving up barbecued pork and seafood for 10 baht a stick. The excellent Baan Wanglang Riverside Hotel is nearby and so is Zoom 4 Zoom 5 for some cheap eats with a river view.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 -17:00
- Location: Wang Lang Pier, near Siriraj Hospital