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Ask a long-term Bangkok resident to name the city’s best or most famous night market ever, and chances are the first one to come to mind will be the Suan Lum Night Bazaar. Once the biggest Bangkok night market, the Suan Lum Night Bazaar was a mammoth outdoor retail fest in the heart of downtown Bangkok, opposite Lumpini Park at the intersection of Rama IV, Wireless and Sathorn roads.
But all good things must come to an end, and it closed in 2011. Since then, the majority of newer Bangkok night markets have opened in relatively far-flung locations on the outskirts of the Thai capital, where large plots of land are both more readily available and more affordable. That includes Suan Lum Ratchada.
Suan Lum Ratchada is the newest reincarnation of the former Bangkok night market heavyweight. Officially open since December 2015, but having taken some time to find its groove and get going properly, the market has held onto its old name and identity despite popping up in a new, less central location on Ratchadaphisek Road, close to the Lat Phrao MRT subway station. With echoes of the original Talat Rot Fai night market in Saphan Khwai, Suan Lum Ratchada’s new plot is leased from the State Railway of Thailand.
Suan Lum Ratchada was billed as hoping to attract many of the original vendors that made the legendary Suan Lum Night Bazaar what it was – and the new night market is certainly a sizeable effort, cramming in thousands of outdoor market stalls, plus bricks-and-mortar shops. In addition to the on-site Bazaar Hotel, the attempt to make Suan Lum Ratchada more of a multi-purpose venue includes incorporating entertainment such as boxing matches and cabaret shows – presumably learning from what seems to be a winning formula at ever-popular night markets like Asiatique The Riverfront.
If you’re making a trip out to the Suan Lum Ratchada night market to indulge in some budget-friendly retail therapy, you can expect a similar selection of wares to those available at other popular Bangkok night markets: think plenty of street fashion, accessories, and quirky one-off vintage and kitsch second-hand items.
Plenty of the stalls here tout their goods from mats laid out on the floor in front of retro camper vans, once again lending a similar vibe to the original Talat Rot Fai over in Saphan Khwai, which in turn was arguably influenced by the Suan Lum Night Bazaar’s previous incarnation.
Needless to say, this is a Bangkok night market and so you can expect a dizzying array of food and drink both sweet and savoury – including the usual stalls dishing up Thai street food market staples, plus a number of proper restaurants and coffee shops.
While many of the best Bangkok night markets only open over the weekend, one thing that sets Suan Lum Ratchada apart is that it’s open every day of the week. That makes it a convenient choice for visitors passing through Bangkok for just a day or two mid-week, but who nevertheless want to tick off the bucket list item that is an authentic Bangkok night market.
Daily, 4pm-midnight; 5 Ratchadaphisek Road, (at the Ratchada-Lat Phrao junction; MRT Lat Phrao); www.bangkoknightbazaar.com
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All photos by Suan Lum Night Bazaar Ratchadaphisek.
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