The first time I went to Chatuchak Market it was a hallucinatory experience. I had been in Thailand for less than two days. I was jet-lagged and hung-over, swept along with the crowd, blinded by the sun, sweating and dehydrated, too overwhelmed to commit to a purchase, of anything, even a bottle of water. I’m fairly sure I saw a dead body at the side of the road near the entrance. It was covered with a piece of blue tarpaulin and a man was standing over it with a huge umbrella, shading it from the sun.
This time it was different. I’ve spent almost four weeks in Bangkok now and we’ve bonded with the intensity and sudden intimacy of teenage girls on a school trip. I feel like I know Bangkok now, I can’t remember a time before Bangkok and I were friends.
I was able to navigate Chatuchak Market with a reasonable level of lucidity this time, reasonable for me, anyway and spent a few hours looking around without becoming anything resembling hysterical. That’s progress.
The only accurate way to describe what goods are for sale at Chatuchak is to say ‘all of them’, everything is for sale here, just everything.
My shopping list was as follows:
- A pair of black denim cut off shorts
- A Hawaiian shirt with naked ladies on it.
- Fake Raybans.
I only achieved one thing on the list, the shorts but they fit like a glove, a glove with two fingers, and in truth my lack of success was purely due to a lack of effort. You really can find anything here, you just have to have a good look, and I saw at least two international shipping companies so you can ship your goodies straight home.
Chatuchak Market is held every Saturday and Sunday from 10.00am to 5.00pm. Get off the BTS train at Mo Chit Station and I’d advise heading there early or late in the day because at midday it’s like they’ve just opened the buffet and things get crazy.