Bangkok is famed for its shopping – but as well as high-end malls and countless floating markets, every night a plethora of night markets spring up. With everything from clothes to noodles, they offer a great shopping atmosphere with a welcome reprieve from the heat of the daytime. At a number of them you can also pull up a stool and enjoy a beer. Here are some of our picks of the best night markets in Bangkok. If you are interested in very late night food, flower and wholesale markets then you can also read about additional niche night markets here
This market, set on the outskirts of eastern Bangkok and just beyond the outer fringes of the Skytrain line, is the reincarnation of a popular vintage setup that was originally sited on Thai state railway land near the popular Chatuchak weekend daytime market. After the organisers got their marching orders from that side of town, they upped sticks and set up here, on Srinakarin Road behind the Seacon Square shopping centre. Though there is now less emphasis on retro goods, you can still find a good bargain on something unique – and the Volkswagen camper vans and similar vintage vehicles remain, a number doubling up as cool cocktail cars. Throw in plenty of great eating options and you’ve got the recipe for a long night of much more than shopping. Talat Rot Fai is now open Thursday to Sunday, from sundown until about 1am. Take the BTS to Udomsuk station and then a taxi to Seacon Square – the market is directly behind and well signposted.
With the ever-bustling flower market a stone’s throw away (the two markets pretty much merge into one another), the Saphan Phut (Memorial Bridge) night market dishes up a very different collection of goods – there’s a heavy focus on cheap fashion, and the market is popular with Thai students, who you’ll also find on the Memorial Bridge itself enjoying a few drinks with friends. There are also some cheap eats, including some particularly good kanom jeen rice noodles doused with a variety of Thai curries. The Saphan Phut night market is open every evening except Wednesdays and gets going around dusk. Take a Chao Phraya river boat to Saphan Phut pier – the boats stop as it gets dark so you’ll need to take a taxi home afterwards.
Our Diversity and Harmony walking tour passes very close by this market, so if you want you can check it out afterwards.
UPDATE: As of October 2015, On Nut night market is now sadly closed.
Increasingly popular over the last few years with expats who live in ever greater numbers along this end of the Skytrain’s Sukhumvit line, On Nut night market is a low-key affair but a pleasant spot to spend an evening. Efforts at its gentrification have even been made recently with the use of the nickname On Nut Square – but thankfully it doesn’t seem to have caught on. The focus in on a courtyard of tables set inside the market itself, perfect for ordering up food from the line of twenty or more food stalls facing the street – choices include everything from somtum papaya salad to massuman curry, pork skewers, pad thai and German currywurst – and a few drinks from the couple of bars on hand. For shopping, a few narrow alleys of stalls sit at the back of the market, with a focus mostly on fashion. On Nut night market is open every evening until late and is directly underneath On Nut BTS station.
Right in the very centre of the city, the huge number of street stalls that stretch along the road from Siam through to National Stadium are the epicentre of cheap fashion buys. This is a bustling, crowded area, but it’s easily reached thanks to the Skytrain and packs in a good choice of sit-down streetside eating options as well a buzzing shopping environment. Nearby shopping centres like Siam Paragon, Siam Centre and Siam Square One are also open until late, so you can easily combine two very different shopping experiences in one evening! Things get going around here in the late afternoon to early evening – take a wander from Siam BTS station and it won’t be long before something catches your eye.
One of our favourite night markets in Bangkok, Klong San is the site of a former Thai railway station and as a result still has easy access by river boat to the pier that sits at the far end of the market. Nowadays Klong San is popular with young studenty types looking for the latest cheap fashion and make-up accessories, but the market has a good deal of choice to interest others too. There is plenty of standard Thai market fare to munch on, while on the outer reaches of the market a number of bars have pleasant views over the Chao Phraya and would make for a relaxed way to end your evening. Klong San market can be reached by cross-river ferry from the Si Phraya pier, which in turn you can get to by Chao Phraya river boat.
We visit Klong San night market on our Bangkok Night Lights tuk-tuk tour.
The second location from the Talat Rot Fai train market, which once upon a time was all the way over in Saphan Khwai, sees it open up behind the Esplanade shopping centre in Ratchada, right next to the Thailand Cultural Center MRT underground station. For many this location will be easier to reach than Srinakarin Road, where a taxi from the Skytrain is also involved. But in terms of the market, you can expect much the same focus on street clothing and vintage-style household decorations, as well as plenty of options for chowing down on Thai street food. This second edition of Talat Rot Fai might be on a smaller scale than the original, but it still packs in the punches and is a welcome unofficial replacement for the Ratchada night market of yesteryear, and there are just as many cool spots to grab a drink – including the infamous converted VW campers – when the shopping all gets a bit too much. Talat Rot Fai Ratchada runs Thursday to Sunday, 5pm-1am.
One of the newest additions to Bangkok’s string of night markets, Siam Gypsy Junction is set way out in the capital’s northern reaches, right next to the as-yet-unopened stretch of MRT purple line underground train line at Bang Son, where connections with the light red commuter train line and the mainland railway will be possible. All these future transport options make us think that Siam Gypsy Junction will be one to hit the big time – not that it’s not already popular with in-the-know locals, both from the immediate area and from further afield across Bangkok. A vintage market that has a feeling much like the original Talat Rot Fai over in Saphan Khwai, which has since relocated to Srinakarin Road (see above), there is also a wild-west theme going on over here, with a number of saloon-style bars getting in on the action. Other memorable drinking options include a converted school bus with tables up on the roof, and a pleasant bar with an almost reggae feel set under a cabana-style thatched palm tree shelter.
The market itself is one long stretch of road, with classic motorbikes competing with pedestrians for right of way and the first look at a large collection of vintage clothing, furniture, household decorations and other trinkets. There are also a number of food stalls and restaurants to fulfil your hunger cravings. To get to Siam Gypsy Junction, take the MRT to Bang Sue station and then hop in a tuk-tuk for around 60 baht – local tuk-tuk drivers are more likely to know the spot than taxi drivers covering a wider area. Alternatively, bus number 97 from Bang Sue runs past the market’s entrance in the direction of neighbouring Nonthaburi province. The market runs from Wednesday to Sunday, 6pm-1am.
Perhaps one of Bangkok’s most well-known night markets, particularly among those newly arrived in the city, is Patpong. Wedged between Silom and Surwaong roads and infamous for the raucuous nightlife scene as much as the shopping possibilities, Patpong night market nonetheless offers the chance to pick up plenty of clothing, fashion accessories and more. Just remember that any designer goods you snag here are unlikely to be the real thing, so come with this in mind and expect to bargain hard – this is prime territory for late-night tourist shoppers, and as a result prices start high. All the same, it’s a fun environment and there are plenty of great restaurants and lively bars and clubs in the area, where you can continue your night once you’ve had your shopping fix. Patpong night market runs daily between 6pm and around 1am; Sala Daeng BTS station and Si Lom station on the MRT are nearby. Stalls also line the pavements on Silom Road itself of an evening, and on Sundays between 3pm and 10pm this stretch of Silom Road is pedestrianised for a weekly walking street market.
Variously known as JJ Green and more recently Green Vintage, this night market runs between 5am and midnight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Within spitting distance of the main – and more well-known – Chatuchak weekend market, JJ Green offers many of the same goods, but in an altogether more chilled-out and ever so slightly more local-feeling setting. Food options are plentiful – everything from Thai street food staples to trendy burger joints in converted market units decked out in light wood – as are bars, including a couple of particularly pleasant elevated spots with views over the hustle and bustle below. JJ Green is a great place to wind down the weekend on a Sunday afternoon in particular. The market is located on Kampaeng Phet 3 Road; to get here, take the BTS to Mo Chit or the MRT to Chatuchak Park station, and cut through Chatuchak Park.
Though not an organised market as such, the footpaths around Nana BTS station in the heart of Sukhumvit Road are a must-visit to many visitors to Bangkok in search of cheap souvenirs and gifts for those back home. You’ll find everything here from clothing to wallets, bags and other fashion accessories, and plenty more besides. Recent attempts to clear up the pavements in this area means that traders, who previously operated for much of the day, are now at least in theory only open from 7pm onwards. Much like Patpong night market in Silom, this is prime tourist stomping ground so you should expect to have to bargain hard to get a good deal – and even be prepared to cut your losses and walk away. It’s a bustling area, though, and chances are you’ll find something similar just a short walk along the street; the Nana neighbourhood is also full of eateries covering just about every cuisine imaginable, as well as a number of quirky drinking holes like the stalwart Cheap Charlie’s on Sukhumvit Soi 11.
An entirely different, and much less rough-around-the-edges, night market experience is the one to be had at Asiatique, a distinctly higher-class, open-air shopping centre and entertainment venue set in a number of converted warehouses at what was once an international port. As well as countless vendors with a focus on both fashion and handicrafts, you’ll also find plenty of eating and drinking possibilities, plus cabaret and traditional Thai cultural performances; there’s even a large ferris wheel with views over the Chaophraya river and further across Bangkok. Asiatique’s shops and stalls are well organised into different zones, and there’s even a map that will help you find the one you’re looking for – this really is a different experience from most Bangkok night markets! The market is located a few minutes downriver from the Sathorn express boat pier at Saphan Taksin BTS station; a free shuttle boat transfer is provided (until 11pm) and allows you to escape the traffic, though be aware that queues for the shuttle can get very long at peak times. Asiatique The Riverfront is open daily from 5pm to midnight.
Talat Rot Fai Srinakarin photo by Talat Rot Fai Srinakarin; Saphan Phut photo by Watit Thankidchatchawan; Siam Square photo by Anton Strogonoff; Talat Rot Fai Ratchada photo by Talat Rot Fai Ratchada; Patpong photo by Shankar S.; Nana photo by null0; Asiatique photo by chee.hong; all other photos by Chris Wotton.
Want to explore more? Contact us about arranging to come on a Market Adventure with Expique.