Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok – revisited

15 06 2008

Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok

Chatuchack Weekend Market or JJ Market is located in the Khet Chatuchak area of Bangkok on land owned by the State Railway Of Thailand and is a popular destination for tourists.
The name of the market is Chatuchak, Jatujak, Chatujak or Jatuchak Market depending on which sign post or publication you are reading.
Chatuchak Market is not the cheapest place to shop in Bangkok but there are bargains to be had although the main draw of the market for locals is the wide range of items for sale. From ducklings to marble staircases are here, one couple that I talked to had come to the market to buy some artificial flowers and left with a pedigree St Bernard Puppy.
On the subject of dogs for sale at Chatuchak – there has been a vast improvement in the conditions in which they are kept while waiting to be sold – gone are the small cages and overheated wet sweaty pathetic looking puppies and in with the open pens with electric fans keeping the dogs cool while the stall holder constantly grooms the dogs and cleans up any mess – a welcome improvement.

A big disadvantage of the market is the almost unbearable heat and number of people packed together in small isles sometimes only 3 feet wide – a dangerous situation if there was a need to get out in a hurry. Unbelievably there are hawkers pushing ice cream and drink carts through the narrow channels and people back up in front and behind them so you end up in a human traffic jam. Lots of people in an enclosed area with restricted exits with plenty of flammable materials and dodgy DIY electrical wiring is not for me.

Do not get there too early – some website recommend getting to Chatuchak Market at around 07.00am as it is less crowded, this is true but nearly all the stalls open at around 08.30am to 09.00am so there is a good reason for it to be less crowded. If you do arrive to early, make your way to the pet stalls and you can watch every dog, cat and rabbit be washed, shampooed and blow dried to furry fuzzy perfection ready to be sold.

It has been 5 years since my last visit to Chatuchak and a few things have changed, my top three are

It is not the place for a bargain that it used to be – the rent for a stall in the weekend market is now very high so this has to be paid for by the shopper.

Conditions are better for animals and a little better for shoppers as some stalls have fitted Air Conditioning units so you receive a welcome blast of cool air as you pass by (knowing that if you buy anything from that stall you will be paying more than the hot shop next door)

The toilets are better but just soiling yourself is still an option you would consider

There are rumors abound that the land on which the weekend market is held has been earmarked for development into a multi story market building after the success of the JJ Mall which was built over reclaimed stall sites a couple of years ago
JJ Mall is a shopping mall full of market stalls – it is a sort of indoor air conditioned market with all the usual shopping mall features and unfortunately it has the prices of progress.
I went to Chatuchak Weekend Market and JJ Mall looking for a marble staircase and left with a ladder in my wifes tights which was the only thing we did not have to pay too much for.

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