Written by Christopher Menning | December 2, 2019
Bangkok is a land of charms, and the sprawling night markets are no different. Bringing thousands of tourists every year to the Thai capital, The night markets of Bangkok are treasure troves of trinkets, fashion and street food treats.
Many of these night markets are permanent however there a few seasonal pop-ups which are worth a visit. Many will know Chatuchak, the largest market in the world and the Rot Fai train market is a mecca for Chinese tourism.
Some of these markets offer boutique fashion at affordable prices letting you shop your whole wardrobe on a budget. Others are laden with small food stalls serving everything from skewers, grilled shellfish, spicy bone broth and even the odd crocodile stick!
We made this list to give you an idea of the scope and diversity of Bangkoks Night markets so we are sure there will be something for everyone. There are many locations throughout the city offering markets so be sure to check which one is closest to you!
This mega-market is one of the most popular in Thailand. Also known as the train market, Rot Fai was previously located at Kamphaeng Phet before splitting into two locations in the city. This larger of the two-night markets sits next to Seacon Square Mega Shopping Mall, located at Srinakarin Soi 51. A little bit further out the city but definitely worth the trip.
The huge open-air bazaar is known for its vintage cars, antique items and stylish hipster hangout with live music at the various bars located by the river. The market attracts mainly locals which makes it a good spot to avoid the mass of tourists usually found at the other Rot Fai night market. Along with the old planes, and garages modding vintage cars, you will find hippy fashion and odd trinkets including well over 50 food stall options.
We recommend arriving before the crowds and doing some shopping finding a roof bar to enjoy a beer and some food. A great place for people watching. Just remember getting home can be difficult so plan to leave before everyone else!
The second train night market, Talad Rot Fair Ratchada is easy to get to via the MRT underground train system, this vast shopping complex gets thronged by mass tourist groups, most notably from China so be ready for an experience!
The market is spread out over a large piece of land located directly behind Esplanade Shopping Mall and accessible by walking just outside the Thailand Cultural Centre MRT station. This is a hipster paradise with clothes, gadgets and accessories galore. Many come for the restaurants and bars stacked on top of shipping containers.
There are tattoo artists, barbers, motorbikes and more and this incredible night market. For a memorable photo, head to the fifth floor of the esplanade shopping centre car park to see how large this market is.
Chang Chui is a creative village sprawled around a reformed passenger airliner. The unique space focusses on the concept of recycling and urban artwork. It’s a modern approach to the previous markets mentioned. There are lots of antique shops and hidden sculpture that make this a creatives haven although we recommend heading there later when the crowds pick up a bit.
What may take you by surprise is that the place is home to the NA-Oh Thai fine dining restaurant. Led by Executive Chef Pitchakorn ‘Pop’ Ramabut, the restaurant takes a modern approach to Thai food with an effort to work closely with suppliers.
A much smaller scale but still offering many clothes and food options is the night market of Pratunam (Palladium Night Market). This brings a lot of the Singaporean crowd and we recommend hit here first before easily walking over to Talad Neon. One of the draws is the abundance of street food, especially at Baiyoke street.
Lemongrass salt fish, sweetcorn and a famous chicken rice shop are all within reach. Kaiton Pratunam is a great place to try Thai style chicken rice and fully recommend it!
Asiatique has become a very popular night market among locals and tourists alike. The spacious area houses 1500 boutique and 40 restaurants by the river in a large replica warehouse complex.
We recommend accessing Asiatique by the river with the free shuttle boat to beat some of the traffic and get the full experience. Many of the hotel night cruises operate from this port so its fun to see the shows from the cruise staff! There are more upheld restaurants here so you can enjoy some great Thai food or even a glass of wine without being hassled too much by crowds.
There is plenty more to do than just eat and drink. Asiatique hosts live shows like Muay Thai and Calypso cabaret, has a big wheel and even a haunted house ride! (we were generally spooked during it!).
Only known to locals, this hidden little market name Hua Mum night market is opposite The Walk Kaset-Nawamin. Don’t expect to see any foreigners here or even English writing for many of the items! It’s pretty far and hard to reach is in the Lad Phrao area, but great if your accommodation is there. Look for the giant yellow rubber ducky to know you are in the right place.
Another popular local night market is Liab Dua translated as ‘the market beside the expressway’. The down to earth atmosphere is a great way to jump into Thai culture away from the normal tourist traps. The food and drink offering is vast and many places stay open until 2 am.
It is about a 10-minute ride from the previously mentioned Hua Mum market so you can easily do both in one night. We would avoid heading over on Monday because, although it is still open, many vendors will take the day off.
Chatuchak is Bangkok’s most famous weekend markets. Spread over 35 acres withover 15,000 stalls, it is in fact the largest weekend market in the world. But not many people know that it is also open on Friday.
Your best bet is too head over around 10 pm which is peak time there. Apart from the homeware, gardening and pets sections, (which are closed) parts of the market are available for nighttime shopping. It’s a nice time to see the market with it being not as hot and fewer people. The market is a great place to chill with a drink and brings a young crowd from the nearby universities.
Khao San Road has been known as the backpacker haven of Bangkok for many years. It’s certainly an experience and usually a great place to start for newbie travellers not used to the Asian lifestyle. For a long time, this was the place to party till the early hours but government reforms and a bid to clean up the cities acts have led to vast changes to the area.
Although the roads are shut down, sometimes forcibly, around midnight there is still reason to be here. Khao San is home to a multitude of cool bars, massage parlours and clubbing spots. There is lots of live music, party buckets and crazy street food like scorpions! You will always meet someone new here over a drink whether they are backpackers or locals. Don’t worry about the nightly closure as there are clubs that stay open till 4 am there.
As of this year, Khao San underwent even further changes with His Majesty the King’s social service projects investing 48.4 million baht in renovation projects. Because of the COVID situation, we are expected to see the brand new area opening around August with up to 250 stalls organising their new spots. You can read more about the Khao San Road Spruce up here.
Although far out, it’s sometimes nice to see a different side to the night market scene, especially if you have been to all the others on this list! This Indy market holds around 500 stalls for the locals living in the Thonburi area.
Actually, if you are on this side of the river we recommend heading to ‘Pad Thai Narok‘ for what we think is the best pad Thai in Bangkok!
Just on the other side of the river is The Knack Market located at the Jam Factory in the Khlong San district (beside Khong San Market and Millennium Hilton Hotel). Similar to Artbox, there is a lot of arts and crafts including boho-chic accessories and hipster hangouts.
The unique market is only open on select weeks so we recommend checking on their FB profile before heading over there.
Patpong is notorious for its seedy and chaotic little slice of Bangkok. There are a ton of go-go bars nearby and there also tends to be a lot of tourists hanging out (not that we think these two are connected!). But aside from that, it is also on the fringe of the high-end hotels and restaurants of Silom, A short walk from the beautiful Lumphini park.
It is also home to a lot of night shopping with some whole streets being taken up by stalls. Word of warning, these vendors are seasoned pro’s so checking quality and bargaining hard is necessary to get a good deal.
That wraps up our list of night markets in Bangkok to check out. There are a few more we haven’t mentioned but maybe half the fun is discovering them by accident. Leave us a comment if you visited any of these markets to let us know your thoughts and if you are looking for accommodation why not subscribe to check out our next article on the best places to stay in Bangkok. Or how about seeing our favourite brunch spots in Bangkok in this article.
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