While it certainly cannot compete with Bangkok’s mega malls or markets, Pratunam Market has a certain charm seemingly generated by one thing: its lack of foreigners. Markets do not get more local than this — so local, in fact, you might get a few befuddled looks as you weave in and out of the market’s many metal encased stalls. Here, we give you a guide to Pratunam Market.
This is one of the busiest markets in Bangkok, so be prepared for the crowds. Amble along the narrow walkways to browse enough clothing to dress an entire army. While there are the usual, repetitive stalls selling touristy beer-designed tank tops or t-shirts declaring how much you ‘heart’ Bangkok, there are also many shops selling traditional Thai clothing. These vibrant ensembles reflect much about Thailand’s past, though traditional Thai outfits are usually worn only on special occasions or festivals.
Leave your big bills at home when visiting Pratunam Market. Of course, do not expect to get the lowest prices without a bit of haggling. Arm yourself with a few Thai words, including, paang mak, meaning ‘very expensive,’ in order to get the best deals. That said, the starting price is almost always very low. Do be aware that if you find yourself paying ฿100 (about $3) for your favorite brand, whether it be make-up or a hair product, it is probably not 100 percent genuine.
This market is certainly unique. While Pratunam Market does sell the usual clothes and accessories you would find at markets around Bangkok, you will also find vendors selling some pretty interesting merchandise, including hair.
An interesting side note — cats are everywhere in this market. You can see them hiding between stalls and flirting with one another under tables where food is served. There is also cat food everywhere. Small jars and containers of the food can be seen amongst many of the vendor’s merchandise.
Watch the clothing you purchase be made right before your eyes at Pratunam Market. Many of the stalls have somewhat ancient sewing machines clattering away at all hours of the day. Being that this market is open 24 hours, it comes as no surprise that vendors should work whenever they please.
Pratunam Market is open 24 hours, but the atmosphere of the market changes with the time of day or night. Arrive before 11am, and you will most likely be greeted by a small scattering of people and lowered metal doors indicating that shops are closed. If you arrive later in the afternoon, however, you are guaranteed some excellent people watching as well as countless vendors eagerly selling their wares. Once you’ve ticked the market off your list, take a look at our list of the best things to do in Bangkok.