Of all the things we saw in Chatuchak (or Jatujak) Weekend Market, those three monk-figurines caught my attention the most. It took me few minutes to step away from the shop where we saw them on display for sale before I moved on to the next. The set made me wish I could bring them home as a great souvenir but I held on to my wallet tightly, paused and took a deep sigh and just snapped my cam for posterity and smiled. I think capturing the things on photos, particularly those that you cannot have reduces the negative feelings in a heart beat. I digress. But seriously, this and more things to shop and window-shop keep us coming back to this touristy place in Bangkok. We love Chatuchak; ask my wife, Tina! 😀
18th August 2012, Saturday. Because going back to Chatuchak after 8 long years was one of the major reasons of revisiting Bangkok, we made it a point to go there on our first day of our 4D3N break. Good thing that our chosen hotel, Mystic Place Rooms in Bangkok offers complimentary tuk tuk shuttle service directly to Chatuchak which is a few minutes away; getting there was such a breeze. 🙂 Saving a few baht for not taking the taxi cab or BTS was indeed welcoming.
Our free tuk tuk shuttle dropped us off right in front Chatuchak…Few steps after, we found ourselves trying to blend with the foreign and local tourists and shoppers; we became instantly preoccupied looking for some great but cheap finds.
Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok may challenge the shopaholic and the tourist in you, so here’s a list of personal tips and a few suggestions for those of you who are planning to drop by for the first time or go back to this shopping heaven. I hope you find them useful. 😉
Bring or buy bottles of water and drink a volume before you wander around Chatuchak. Remember that the sun in Bangkok may be scorching hot sometimes and may dehydrate anyone. Don’t worry to fill up your bladder, there are toilets around the market for a minimal fee of 3 baht per entry. So better save some coins too. Go ahead, drink, drink and drink!
Sure, there are bottled and canned sodas from stalls around there but I prefer and suggest to drink distilled water rather than these hypertonic-glucose-rich-fluids. Although a bottle of chilled Coke or Pepsi with Thai labels seems more refreshing to the throat, hehe!
#2. BE VERY CAREFUL WITH YOUR BELONGINGS.
I guess this is self explanatory. As shoppers like you may be overly excited with all those goods per stall, pickpockets may be feeling the same way too! 😦 There could be more but we spotted one Police station right outside the vicinity of the market and in my own opinion, that’s not enough to make you feel safe. Responsibility should come from the shoppers’ end of course. Apparently, you can enjoy your shopping more if no untoward incident like losses will happen. In few tourist spots in Bangkok that we went to including Chatuchak, we constantly heard reminders and read warning signs posted all over, to be careful of NON-THAI pickpockets. Regardless of the nationality of the pickpockets, losing hard-earned-money or shopping bags should not be part of the experience. You may also try safe-guarding your valuables by layering your wallets and bags (bag on bag or wallet inside a wallet, get it?).
# 3. BRING REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS TO CUT ON THE USE OF PLASTICS.
I know. We forgot ours in the luggage. Sorry.
# 4. WHEN BUDGET ALLOWS, BUY IT. THOU SHALL NOT PROCASTINATE.
Forget about comparing prices and canvassing from one shop to the next. With the vast and massive stretch of Chatuchak, chances are you’ll never find your good-finds again once you passed them up to look for cheaper or better ones.
Before you think that we splurged and indulged too much, here are the facts : We only bought 3 colored round neck-T-shirts for Gabby (all for 50o baht), one XXL shirt for me (200 baht), a bag for Tina and my mom (200 baht each), 3 white-sando for Gabby (all for 100 baht) and few baht spent for toilet entries and food (separte Thai food post soon!). We’re happy to spend time on family bonding over a little shopping rather than burn more cash (how we wish we have more!) in this favorite Bangkok Weekend Market. Blessed are those who bring so much budget for shopping, they’ll end up happier. 😀
# 5. APPRECIATE THE THINGS BEYOND THE ORDINARY.
We’ve only been to Chatuchak twice but each experience has been rewarding. Not because we went home with so many loots but by mere seeing this market over again in a differnt perspective was good enough for us. I don’t know with you, but we absolutely enjoy looking at special things that aren’t found on a daily basis.
For those who have gone to Chatuchak, they know and understand how huge it is. To those who have not, prepare to be impressed or worse, exhausted. Think of your local market (probably Divisoria in Manila or Central Market in Kuala Lumpur) times 3 or even 5 times the size. My approximation may sound an exaggeration but it’s really an enormous weekend market that can suck out not only your wallet’s content but energy too.
# 6. TRY OUT THAI FOOD AND OTHER GASTRONOMIC OFFERINGS AT YOUR OWN RISK.
We sampled Pad Thai, Fried Rice and few other things in Chatuchak Market (photos of the other dishes on the succeeding blog posts). We also savored Thai ice popsicles, a chocholate drink made extra-frothy by pulling it up on air, and one of a kind-coconut ice cream served on coconut shell. Since this is a public market, sanitation is always an issue, ergo, savor everything at your own risk.
#7. FORGET ABOUT WORRIES. JUST SHOP, EAT, AND HAVE FUN!
This Blog’s Bangkok 2012 Series includes :
- Our Bangkok Hotel : Mystic Place Rooms in Bangkok
- Our Sunday at the Grand Palace
- Wat Pho or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha
- Thai Food Porn
- Penang-Hat Yai-Bangkok via bus
- Chatuchak Weekend Market
- Malls in Bangkok