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Bangkok’s best markets for bargain shopping

Nothing whips me up into a frenzy quite like a market. The whole haggling and joking with vendors thing, makes it not only a business transaction over an item I didn’t know I needed, but a fun time interacting with the locals. Truly that this place is one of the favourite cities for shopaholics.

In Thailand bartering is compulsory. You’d be beyond dork-like to accept the price the seller is asking and just hand over your baht. The general rule of thumb is to start by offering about half what he asks for. Of course, you won’t get it for that, but you can expect to get between 10-40% off, depending on how many of the same item are around and how badly you want it. Thai people appreciate a bit of a laugh with their customers. What isn’t appropriate is to begin negotiations with no intention of buying. Just say no thank you instead of throwing out a ridiculous figure as you walk past.

So let’s go, here are 3 markets in Bangkok to try your haggling skills, pick up some bargains, and have a great time doing it:

Chatuchak weekend market
A typical mannequin at Chatuchak

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Prepare to be totally overwhelmed! I nearly passed out with excitement when I first came here. There are about 15,000 vendors in a labyrinth of rows under tarpaulin covers and 200,000 shoppers squeezing around. It’s hot in here on a summer’s day and I found myself grabbing ice out of bins that were chilling drinks just to hold on to. You’ll find many of vendors selling the same things, so choose your best price.

Open: Technically it is a weekend market from 9am till 6pm but you can also go on Fridays during those hours.

Where: Take the SkyTrain to Mo Chit Station and walk 5 mins.

To experience this place the most, here is a full blog on my 7 shopping tips when visiting the Chatuchak Market.

Pratunam Bangkok
Pratunam wholesale market


Is one of the original wholesale markets selling clothing at crazy cheap prices. If you buy 3 or more you can get a wholesale price, but to be honest the prices are low anyway. It’s great for fancy dress costumes (I’m talking feathers, sequins and beads) but walk further in and you’ll find T-shirts, shorts and dresses, and even evening wear. You get what you pay for though and it might be possible to barter – if you think you need to.

Open: 10am – 9pm

Where: Intersection of Ratchaprop and Petchburi roads to Ratchaprarop Soi 3, next to Amari Watergate Hotel

Patpong Market Bangkok. Pic by Octal/Flickr
Patpong Market

Patpong Night Market

This is great fun if you’re looking for souvenirs, knock-off hand bags, sunglasses, jewellery. The selection here will be better than you’ll find in the seaside towns. There are also street food vendors and actual shops and the market stalls are set up in front. Be warned though, you will thread your way past the Go-Go Bars in the red light district where young men with ‘menus’ laminated on card will try and entice you in to watch all sorts of lewd and strange entertainment.  But the market itself is buzzing and busy, full of tourists and again haggling is expected. There also (conveniently) ATMs if you run out of cash.

Open: 6pm – 1am

Where: BTS: Sala Daeng, but my suggestion would be to get a cab to one end and walk through to pick one up at the other.

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!