11 Weird and Wonderful Things You Can Buy in Bangkok's Street Markets

Bags at Chatuchak Weekend Market | © phuongkim1981/Flickr
Bags at Chatuchak Weekend Market | © phuongkim1981/Flickr
Photo of Iona Proebst
23 October 2017

Street markets in Thailand’s capital never cease to delight and surprise. Be prepared to be enchanted by the unusual or maybe even gobsmacked. We’ve put together a list to let you know what you are in for.


Thailand is famous for its orchids which are not only enjoyed locally but also all over the world. Thai orchids which are shipped overseas are very expensive. However, at local street markets in Bangkok, a bunch of orchids will only set you back about $1 USD.

Thai orchids | © Pavel Fara/Flickr


Bangkok’s markets are a great place to pimp your wardrobe for rock-bottom prices. Try Khao San Road, Chinatown, or Chatuchak Weekend Market for inexpensive clothing. Don’t worry, many places also cater to foreigners in terms of sizing.

Alive Frogs

Wander around a food section of a local market in Bangkok, and you’re bound to see alive frogs sadly awaiting their fate. The frogs are usually tied with string or in a netting and are used to make dishes like jungle curry.

Frogs in a net | © BernieCB/Flickr


If you are looking for a Thai souvenir of a different kind, look no further than the upcycled tuk-tuks which are made from old soft drink and beer cans. A great ornament for a kid’s bedroom back home.

Shoes and Bags

Shoeaholics and bagaholics delight! Bangkok is an excellent place to pick up purses, clutches, handbags and shoes of all kinds. Whether you are looking for a locally inspired bohemian design or a high-end luxury brand, Bangkok has it all.

Bags at Chatuchak Weekend Market | © phuongkim1981/Flickr


Enjoy the flavours of Thailand long after your holiday is over! In many Thai markets, you can pick up spice packs so you can re-create your favourite dishes for family and friends.

Thai silk

Thai silk is delicate and luxurious. Thai markets are a great place to pick up a few silk shawls to match with your outfits or for lightweight gifts for loved ones back home.

Thai silk | © Brian Jeffery Beggerly/Flickr

CDs and DVDs

Step back in time and sift through hundreds of CDs and DVDs. Not only do they make great gifts, they are also cheap enough to replenish your personal collection back home.

Shark Fins and Bird Nests

Sadly, you read that right. Shark fins and bird nests are extremely popular in the Chinatown area. The stalls selling these “delicacies” cater to the old generation of Cantonese living in or visiting the capital.

Bird nest and shark fin restaurant | © shankar s./Flickr


Unlike the north, where silver is more popular, Bangkok’s markets a teeming with gold shops. On offer is pure gold up to 96.5% and at much more affordable prices than many other countries around the world.

Fried Insects

If you’ve been in Thailand awhile you’ve likely seen the fried creepy crawlies on sale at street markets. Embrace your adventurous spirit and give these crunchy local snacks a try.

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