Bangkok’s area of Chatuchak is most famous for its enormous weekend market, and for being home to one of the city’s major bus stations (the Northern Bus Station/Mochit). Aside from these highlights, Chatuchak is not an immensely popular part of Bangkok for tourists, but there are still plenty of things to see and do. Here’s how to spend your time in Chatuchak.
Relax in the green Chatuchak Park
Chatuchak Park is a large and pleasant park with plenty of space to sit in the sunshine or in a shaded spot under a tree. Park benches are also scattered throughout the grounds. Located right next to the MRT and BTS stations, there are public conveniences and an array of food vendors just outside the park. A quaint bridge crosses a pond, and fountains add to the lovely scene. It is one of the oldest public parks in Bangkok and is a popular hangout spot for locals.
Right next to Chatuchak Park you’ll find another attractive place to enjoy being outdoors: Queen Sirikit Park. The landscaped park has many ornamental flower beds, as well as small ponds filled with lotus flowers and fish, and fountains. Decorative lampposts stand proudly along the wide pathways. Bicycles are available for exploring the large park.
Known in English as the Train Park, Rod Fai Park is yet another pretty park close to Chatuchak Park. Popular with people who enjoy outdoor leisure activities, it attracts keen walkers, joggers, and cyclists. Previously used as a golf course, the park is filled with wildlife and nature. Trees provide welcoming shade from the sun and you are likely to spot (and hear) an array of birds. You may also even catch sight of a monitor lizard swimming through the ponds or slinking about on the banks.
Visit the Bangkok Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
An especially great place to take kids, the dome of Bangkok Butterfly Garden and Insectarium is home to several species of butterfly. The winged creatures flit freely around their lush home, the environment created to be as close to a butterfly’s natural habitat as possible. There’s a waterfall, rockeries, flowers, plants, and trees. Sit on a bench and wait for the butterflies to come out of hiding and learn more about a butterfly’s life at the information points. There’s no admission fee.
Another wonderful (and free!) attraction for children in Chatuchak, the Children’s Discovery Museum has many interactive displays and exhibits on a variety of topics. From dinosaurs and the human body to architectural design and a mirror tunnel, there are many ways for curious children to be captivated. The outside play area is ideal for energetic kids and the fountains are a great way to cool down on a hot day.
Magic Land was a Bangkok theme park that stopped operating in 2000. The rides were dismantled and removed, and the sounds of laughter were halted. Today however, the area offers a different kind of exciting fun: go karting. The track offers fun for the whole family and the remains of the old Disney-like castle still stand in the background. The facility is now known as Motorsports Land.
Visit the diverse attractions at Kasetsart University
Kasetsart University was established in the 1940s and it is one of the biggest universities in Thailand today. It was the nation’s first agricultural university. While it still focuses heavily on agriculture, animal care, and related subjects, it also offers study programs in engineering, economics, and other academic fields. The large campus has several places of interest, including Bangkok Aquarium, the oldest aquarium in Thailand. It is home to a selection of native freshwater fish. One of the more unusual attractions is the Ant Museum, and people interested in farming can visit the Agriculture Museum. This is a great place for people who like discovering offbeat attractions that are away from the typical tourist trail.
The purpose-built Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) contains the biggest display of artworks in the country. Paintings and sculptures and spread over five floors, showing how the arts scene in Thailand has developed and changed over the years. There are pieces that seek to prompt discussions about a range of social, economic, and political issues, as well as those that deal with subjects often considered somewhat taboo in the nation. No topic is off bounds here, with works that relate to religion, corruption, prostitution, nudity, and history.
One of Bangkok’s four main places to watch a thrilling Muay Thai fight, Channel 7 Boxing Stadium can be found just behind the Northern Bus Station. Admission is free (unless you want to pay for VIP seating) and boxing matches are held every Sunday, starting from around 2pm. The action is broadcast live on Channel 7.
The Elephant Tower is one of the strangest sights in the Chatuchak district. It is also one of Bangkok’s most interesting pieces of architecture. The seven-part, 32-floor, high-rise building was designed so as to look like an elephant. The eyes were created by large windows with dark glass, and the tail effect was also achieved by using darker glass in protruding windows. The ears are balconies and the tusks are overhanging offices.
No list of things to do in Chatuchak would be complete without including the famous and enormous market that takes place every weekend. Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the biggest weekend markets on the planet. There are more than 15,000 stalls spread across different zones. It’s often said that if you can’t find something at Chutuchak Market, it probably doesn’t exist! Selling everything from clothes and souvenirs to electrical items, household goods, food, and even pets, it’s definitely a great place for shopaholics. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, it’s well worth a visit to see the sheer variety of goods and to sample the delicious food.