There are plenty of cool things to do in Bangkok when night falls, including eating and shopping at one of the city’s many bustling markets. Some open only at weekends and others are open on various days of the week. Here are the best night markets in the Thai capital.
Asiatique the Riverfront
Located along the murky banks of the Chao Phraya River is Asiatique the Riverfront, one of the trendiest and most interesting markets in town. The best way to reach this market is via boat, making the journey here a bit more exciting. Unlike many of Bangkok’s top markets, visitors will not find counterfeit goods or an overwhelming onslaught of vendors and stalls. This market is cleaner, more organised and chock-full with fashionable finds. There’s also a 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel and a number of gondolas.
Patpong Night Market adds a different face to one of the city’s most notorious red-light districts. The bustling market is known primarily for its cheap goods, many of which aren’t quite genuine. From sunglasses and souvenirs to tacky T-shirts, perfumes and watches, the stalls are overflowing with an assortment of wares. Haggling is essential. The walkways are narrow, and you’ll need a healthy dose of patience to make your way around the crowded market.
Originally located in Chatuchak, Rot Fai Market is an old favourite in a new location. Often referred to as the Train Market (the English translation), Rot Fai Market comprises thousands of stalls, with its location outside of the city centre meaning few tourists come here. Those that do make the trip, however, are rarely disappointed. There are vintage finds aplenty, along with unusual fashions, curios and collectables, antiques and more. Go prepared to hunt through the piles and you may well uncover some true gems. There are many tempting street food stalls to give you an energy boost and an assortment of quirky watering holes where you can take a breather.
A newer and smaller version of the Rot Fai Market at Srinakarin, Rot Fai Market 2 (also known as Ratchada Night Market and Ratchada Train Market) has a similar vibe in a much easier to access location. You’ll find it near the National Cultural Centre in Ratchada. It does, however, attract more tourists than its big brother. Multicoloured tents stand side by side, each housing an Aladdin’s cave of treasures. There are both new and used items, and if you look carefully you’ll likely spot some rare collectables. Fans of vintage fashions in particular love shopping here. There are many food stalls conveniently grouped together, with typical Thai street fare and international treats. As an added bonus, it’s one of the most photogenic night markets in Bangkok.
Located right outside the Platinum Mall in Pratunam, Indy Market is a great place to find handicrafts, one-off items and unusual goods. Although fairly small, each stall offers enough variation to make the market diverse. Many items are budget friendly, meaning you can pick up some unique souvenirs for friends and family at a more reasonable price than from other markets. Naturally, there’s a selection of food vendors, too.
If you’re looking for a more food-orientated night market than a place to actually shop, there are few places better than the streets of Bangkok’s Chinatown. Yaowarat Road is the main street running through Chinatown, and it’s a frenzy of vendors and diners every evening. Come hungry and explore through your taste buds for a one-of-a-kind culinary experience. There’s a wonderful mixture of Thai and Chinese fare, with enticing aromas, tempting sights, and the sizzling and popping sounds of cooking filling the air. From oyster omelettes, pad Thai and noodle soups to fried rice, seafood, dim sum, curries and mock shark-fin soup, an evening in Chinatown promises to be a feast. Looking for something sweet? There are plentiful Thai desserts, ice creams and tropical fruits to choose between.
The streets around Victory Monument at night are full of people looking for a bargain. Prices are generally much lower here than in the malls, and you’ll find all kinds of clothes and footwear along with bags, costume jewellery, hair accessories, make-up, beauty products, watches and sunglasses. As with anywhere with a lot of people, be cautious of pickpockets and keep a tight grip on your bags. The night market operates between 7pm and 11pm every day, except Monday.
What other night markets in Bangkok are home to an old plane? The old aircraft at ChangChui Night Market (also known as Bangkok Plane Market) is definitely a conversation starter, though that’s far from being the only reason to come here. The market’s main focus is on reused, recycled and second-hand items, and you’ll find a terrific selection of interesting artwork made from what would otherwise be scrap. The quirkiness doesn’t stop there, though: you can buy gourmet insects from a specialist bug restaurant! If eating creepy-crawlies doesn’t appeal, however, there are plenty of other options. You’ll also find a good selection of craft beers to wash everything, bugs or otherwise, down with.
Relocated from its original location near Lumphini Park, Suan Lum Night Bazaar Ratchadaphisek can now be found along Ratchadaphisek Road. Combining both indoor and outdoor areas, it promises an evening of fabulous shopping no matter the weather. With more than 1,500 stalls selling souvenirs, T-shirts, fashions, artwork, crafts, accessories, jewellery, food and household goods, it’s difficult not to find something to take home with you.
Neon Market is a relative newcomer on Bangkok’s market scene, but its inventive, colourful, delicious and photogenic food is quickly making it a hit. The twinkling lights and colourful tents provide even more photo opportunities. Located near Chidlom, it’s a foodie’s wonderland, with baked potatoes, pork and cheese balls, grilled cheese, charcoal waffles, colourful drinks that look like they’ve been sprinkled with fairy dust, seafood, artistic chocolates and gigantic ribs, to name but a few mouthwatering temptations. Shopping-wise, there are plenty of cute, kitsch and unusual items to catch your eye. It would be an ideal place to pick up some fish slippers! Live music, a petting zoo, a fairground, kids’ rides and carnival games add to the evening fun.
Another magnet for fans of second-hand bargains and retro finds, Siam Gypsy Junction Market in Bang Sue has an array of goods. You’ll find vinyl records and CDs; old books; clothes of all types in all styles, colours, fabrics and patterns that you can imagine; ornaments; lamps; cooking equipment; antiques; stuffed animals; and other curiosities. Especially popular with students and hipsters, the market stretches alongside a railway line. A great selection of street food, live bands and pop-up bars make up the entertainment.
Close to a university, Ramkhamhaeng Night Market attracts many students and has a youthful vibe. Goods are modern and trendy, and the prices are affordable. There’s also a wide range of practical items aimed at students, such as stationery, computer and phone accessories, books and electronics. There are tons of clothes, too, and if you’re buying multiple items from the same vendor it’s usually possible to get the prices down even lower than they already are. There are many food sellers along the small streets leading from the main market road, which means you can enjoy your tasty Thai food away from the shopping crowds.
While not one of Bangkok’s overall best night markets, the market along Khao San Road is a top choice for backpackers based in this part of the city. Many vendors sell similar products, with clothes and souvenirs particularly abundant. You’ll find slogan T-shirts, some that may not make much sense, cute sundresses, Muay Thai shorts, sunglasses, sandals, strings of fairy lights, fridge magnets, artwork and luggage across the stalls. There are also sellers offering an array of services, such as hair braiding, massages and tattoos.