In recent years Bangkok’s night markets have been a huge hit with local young Thais as well as tourists. Like their daytime alternatives, night markets offer a vast array of shopping and eating opportunities, but there is more to the night markets than this.
As well as dining out and picking up all manner of things from souvenirs, toys, clothes and gadgets, the night markets offer a carnivalesque atmosphere where people can listen to live music, drink and relax. The neon lights, bustle of the crowds and blaring music give these places the feeling of being at a funfair, all of which make for a great evening’s entertainment. There are numerous markets around the city to choose from, so here’s a short list of some of our favourites.
One of the largest and well known of Bangkok’s night markets, Talad (market) Rot Fai (train) is known for specialising in antique, vintage and retro goods. If you’re looking for old records, a classic leather jacket or a beat-up enamel sign then Rot Fai is the place to come at night. If you’re just looking to browse, the market offers a huge range of food and drink options with live music at every turn. Named because the original market occupied a piece of land owned by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), it moved in 2013 to its new site behind the Seacon Square shopping mall to the east of Bangkok. The new location is harder to reach for tourists than before, but well worth the effort when you’re there. Talad Rot Fai is a must see for any visitor staying in Bangkok. The best way to reach the market is to take the BTS sky train to On Nut station and catch a pink taxi from there.
Open from 17h00-01h00 Daily Srinakarin Soi 51, Srinakarin Road, Nong Bon, Prawet, Bangkok 10250
The Esplanade night market, also known as the “new” Rot Fai Market is based in the Ratchada district of Bangkok behind the Esplanade shopping complex and cinema. It is easily accessed by a short walk from the MRT metro Thailand Cultural Centre stop. As well as a huge array of food to try, the market has many stalls run by young entrepreneurs selling handmade crafts and souvenirs. Around the outside of the multi-coloured market is a great selection of bars and shops, a boxpark with cocktail bars where you can sit elevated above the crowds and even barbers should you fancy having your hair cut of an evening. Live bands and pumping dance music vie for your attention in every corner of this bustling evening out.
Open from 17h00-01h00 Daily 99 Ratchadaphisek Road, Thailand Cultural Centre MRT, Bangkok
Renowned for selling fake designer labels from watches and trainers, to handbags and dresses, Patpong is incredibly popular with tourists and is busy on every night of the week. Located in the centre of Silom under the Sala Daeng BTS sky train station, it is one of the easiest night markets to reach. Being in central Bangkok and near to the business district there are also many bars (some naughty) located around the market itself.
Open from 18:00-02:00 Daily Silom and Surawong Roads, Bangkok, Thailand
Most visitors to Bangkok experience JJ Chatachak Market, a sprawling labyrinthine complex of indoor and outdoor stalls selling everything under the sun. It’s THE PLACE where tourists go to shop for vintage and local handmade items to take home. Just like its big brother, JJ Green night market only runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, taking over from the larger daytime attraction and running until midnight all weekend. It has a far more laid back and casual atmosphere than the madness of Chatachak with more emphasis on dining, drinking and entertainment. Popular with students and young locals, the market offers live music and local Thai street food as well as more western food like burgers and pizza. It’s a great place to finish off the weekend in style. To get there take either the BTS sky train to Mo Chit station or the MRT metro to Chatachak park, you can’t miss it.
Open from 17h00-01h30 Wednesday-Sunday Kamphaeng Phet 3 Road, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900
Last on the list we have Asiatique Night Market at the riverfront. Far more polished and organised than the previous markets, Asiatique is undercover in several large warehouses on the waterfront divided into ‘zones’. As well as more high-end luxury goods there is a large food hall, bars, a cabaret, traditional Thai dance and even a big ferris wheel with views over the city and river. This is a sensible option for families with small children as it is well organized with clean toilet facilities. The market is reached by taking the Sathorn shuttle boat downriver for 5 minutes from the pier at Saphan Taksin BTS sky train station, which in itself is a great way to see another view of the city.
Open from 17h00-00h00 daily 2194, Charoen Krung Road, Wat Phraya Krai, Bang Kho Laem, Bangkok 10120