If the idea of trawling through 9000 booths in the world’s biggest market appeals, then you will love Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, Thailand.
This place is so huge that I seriously considered dropping breadcrumbs on the ground so I could retrace my steps and get out of there.
Many of the stalls sell similar things, so after you’ve had a good look around it all comes down to who will give you the best deal. That is, of course, if you can find the one you now want to return to! Haggle, barter, offer half what they ask for and work up. But make sure you do it all with a smile, don’t be rude, it’s a game – they need to make a living and you either want it or you don’t.
Take an extra suitcase because you’ll be able to stock up on all your Christmas gifts from handbags and shoes (by the thousand), loads of clothes including sloganed T-shirts and pretty sun dresses, so much jewellery you will probably find it too hard to decide, sunglasses and video games. DVDs, CDs, wooden furniture (antique, modern, Thai or Western) and plenty of homeware bling like ceramics and art. There’s even a pet section if you want to risk quarantine, but I’d suggest you just take photos of the cute and exotic animals.
It gets terribly hot as the market is under tented awnings with nary a breeze upon your face, so take your water bottle and keep your fluids up. But remember there is a fine line between remaining headache-free and hydrated and needing to find a public toilet that 20,000 people have already used! There are also food and drinks stalls.
Chatuchak Market is open Saturdays and Sundays. Take the skytrain (BTS) to Mo Chit station or the metro (MRT) to Suan Chatuchak station.