Bangkok and its night markets are synonymous. From the heydays of legendary markets like the Suan Lum Night Bazaar to the wave of new openings in recent years prompted by the original and infamous Talat Rot Fai train market in Saphan Khwai – now relocated and with no fewer than three locations across the city – the Thai capital sure loves indulging in retail therapy, chowing down on street food, and knocking back beers and cheap cocktails, all by the cool of darkness. There’s no let-up in new arrivals on the Bangkok night markets scene, either – these are some of the new night markets in Bangkok that are well worth checking out.
Far more than just another market, Chang Chui has so much going on that it’s probably easier to talk about what it’s not. Located all the way over on Sirindhorn Road in the far reaches of Bangkok’s former-capital Thonburi district on the other side of the Chaophraya river (Chang Chui is only just on the Bangkok side of the border with neighbouring Nonthaburi province), since Chang Chui first threw open its doors in June 2017 it has perhaps been most well known among Bangkokians and the clued-up visitors alike for the attention-grabbing full-size disused aeroplane that sits at the site’s centre. In fact, the venue is already even being popularly referred to in English as the ‘plane market’.
Chang Chui is widely billed as a ‘creative hub’ rather than purely a night market, and indeed the enormous site is made up of various segments that operate exist independently of one another, with staggered openings throughout the day according to the nature of their operations before they ultimately become part of the one bigger venue of Chang Chui as a whole.
The name Chang Chui roughly translates into something along the lines of ‘slovenly artisan’ (the Thai word ‘chang’ is used to refer to everyone from a handyman/woman to a hairdresser to a specialist craftsperson) – although pop the original Thai script into Google Translate and amusingly it just throws back ‘snob’. It’s true that Chang Chui as a venue is a high-end, creative take on Bangkok’s conventional markets, and it’s something of a far cry from the humble beginnings of the likes of Talat Rot Fai.
There’s a firmly arty focus here, with different zones dedicated to different artistic disciplines, and things to do range from restaurants (including a high-end spot that’s inside that infamous plane, plus a modern food court and an insect restaurant), coffee shops, boutiques selling everything from books and stationery to plants and clothes, an art gallery, a cinema and live-performance theatre, a barber’s, of course a handful of bars, and heaps more besides. If nothing else, Chang Chui is even arty in so far as it’s a design-lover’s heaven and one big Insta-worthy photo-shooting spot.
Although it’s further out than many other Bangkok attractions and night markets, Chang Chui is just a 10-minute walk (or two-minute motorbike taxi ride) from Bang Bamru railway station. This station will be on the SRT’s light-red suburban line when it eventually opens, with connections to the BTS, MRT, and Airport Rail Link – but right now Bang Bamru is only served by mainline trains on the southern route. For an atmospheric journey, take one of the 14 daily trains from Bangkok’s main Hualamphong station to Bang Bamru – the ride takes between 35 and 49 minutes and costs as little as four baht. Alternatively, take bus number 515 or 539 from Victory Monument to Bang Kruai, or take a taxi.
Thursday to Tuesday, 11am-11pm (booze-free ‘green zone’ 11am-9pm; ‘night zone’ 4-11pm); Sirindhorn Road, Bang Phlat; 081-817-2888; www.changchuibangkok.com
Huamum is a new opening in the northern Bangkok neighbourhood of Lat Phrao, and is a relatively off-the-radar night market with a local vibe. Yes, the goods you’ll find for sale at Huamum are along much the same lines as you’ll find at popular night markets elsewhere in Bangkok – everything from clothing and shoes to homewares and cute trinkets – but that doesn’t mean they are the typical tourist tack common in some places. Indeed, the vast majority of visitors to Huamum night market are locals – don’t expect much in the way of English-language signage – and an additional benefit to that is that it’s likely you’ll come across some slightly cheaper prices than elsewhere.
Nothing makes a night market more appealing to local tastes than an awesome selection of street food to graze on between shopping stints, and Huamum excels here, with an array of market staples and more, from desserts and snacks to noodles and seafood. The market has also become renowned for one (possibly not so family friendly!) novelty shellfish restaurant in particular, Staneemeehoi, where waiters come in the form of singing, dancing hunky men scantily clad in tutus, tight vests, bath towels, and even plastic bags fashioned into dresses.
An out-of-the-way location means you’re best off taking a taxi to Huamum Night Market. By public transport, the market is around a 20-minute drive from Lat Phrao MRT station. Note that the location can be confusing – the market is on Prasert-Manukitch Road, which is also known as Kaset-Nawamin Road, and close to the junction with Pradit-Manutham Road (which is often also given as the address for the market).
Daily, 5pm-1am; Praset-Manukitch Road, Lad Phrao; 099-492-2561; www.facebook.com/huamummarket
With a name that translates as ‘the market beside the expressway’ (which it is), Liab Duan night market might not be a brand new opening but it remains new and unheard of by plenty of visitors to Bangkok. Like Huamum night market, the vibe at Liab Duan is about as local, down-to-earth and unassuming as you’ll find at any of the many night markets in Bangkok.
This is a large and bustling market, with cheap stall pitches attracting new and low-budget vendors – some simply throwing out their goods on a rug on the floor, like the good old early days of Talat Rot Fai in Saphan Khwai – which not only adds to the no-frills atmosphere but also means this is somewhere you could score a real bargain.
Add to the mix an especially impressive selection of food and drink – seriously, Liab Duan Night Market does its munchies even better than most – and you’ve got a down-to-earth market that’s worth investing time in the trek to reach it. Liab Duan is also less than a 10-minute taxi ride from nearby Huamum Night Market (see above), so you could easily hit up both in the same night.
Like Huamum, Liab Duan Night Market is far from conventional public transport networks, and your easiest bet is to take a taxi – but Lat Phrao and Ratchadaphisek MRT stations and Sanam Pao and Ari BTS stations are all around a 20-minute drive away if you want to get as close as you can by train before switching to a cab.
Daily, 5pm-2am; Pradit-Manutham Road, Bang Khen; 082-357-3535; www.facebook.com/liabduan.nightmarket
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All photos by relevant venues.