Sukhumvit Road night market – lively shopping in the heart of Nana

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Published: August 31, 2016

Though perhaps not a night market in the strictest sense of the organised setups that take place elsewhere across Bangkok, the stalls on the footpaths around Nana BTS station are a popular spot to pick up clothing and souvenirs, and are particularly convenient for visitors staying on and around the popular Sukhumvit Road. Its location means it’s also sometimes referred to as the Nana night market.

A market under threat

Sukhumvit Road night market in Nana, Bangkok, Thailand - photo by null0

Vendors on this stretch – which runs almost as far as the next Skytrain station at Asok – previously traded right throughout the day, largely without regulation, with the number of stalls gradually increasing as the evening went on until the pavements admittedly became impossibly tight. They have felt the full force of efforts by both local and national authorities to clear up footpaths and other public spaces across Bangkok, meaning that traders here at least in theory only operate from 7pm onwards. If the powers that be get their way, the longstanding collection of street stalls that makes up the Sukhumvit Road night market will in the future be wiped off the map altogether.

For now, though, you can expect a wide array of everything from clothing to wallets, bags and other fashion accessories, and plenty more besides – including, just as at Silom’s Patpong night market, goods of both the genuine and counterfeit variety. In keeping with the semi-legal status of the market’s very existence, you’re also likely to come across the likes of pirate DVDs and potentially less family-friendly items like sex toys (sold on the black market, since they’re illegal in Thailand) and offers of sex-related services. That said, it’s easy to decline the touts’ advances and just keep on walking.

It’s worth us repeating the same warning we give about Silom’s Patpong night market: this is a popular area for tourists, and the vendors working here know it. Expect to bargain your way down from a totally overinflated price, and to walk away if it doesn’t look like you’re going to get the deal you’re after. Do all this in good humour and you’ll likely come away with some purchases you’re proud of. Likewise, expect to encounter plenty of knock-off items – we’ll leave it to you to weigh up the pros and cons of buying counterfeit goods.

Street food and dive bars to high-end venues

Food stalls on Sukhumvit Soi 38, Bangkok - photo Johan Fantenberg

You’ll find a fair number of food stalls interspersed between those selling clothing and souvenirs on the main road, plus plenty more on street corners and inside the sois (side-streets) that branch off from Sukhumvit Road itself. These stalls tout solid Thai street food staples – everything from simple stir-fries to noodle soups and grilled meat skewers. But you’ll also find a wealth of excellent restaurants to suit a range of budgets in the Sukhumvit area; this is, after all, a popular neighbourhood for both holidaying tourists and resident expats and Thais.

On the booze front, too, the streetside market drinking experience is taken care of thanks to converted camper vans – which come and go depending on the mood of the latest local government crackdown – pouring inexpensive beers, spirits and cocktails. And again, the surrounding streets are packed with bars and clubs catering to every taste and budget, from Irish-style pubs to high-end rooftop bars serving Peruvian tapas, and our favourite stalwart dive bar Cheap Charlie’s (though it’s due to close in March 2017, so hurry!) The Sukhumvit Road night market is certainly one where shopping need only be the start of your evening!

Daily, 7pm-1am; BTS Nana

Have you been to Sukhumvit Road night market? Let us know in the comments!

Photos by null0 and Johan Fantenberg.

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