For some people shopping is the last thing they wish to do on holiday and for others it is an integral part of being away. Whichever category you fall into, visiting markets should be included in your schedule as it is not just about purchasing products, but experiencing another culture.
The markets of Southeast Asia are among the best in the world, so make sure you stop by a few when travelling in Thailand. Read on for a selection of those to be found in Bangkok.
Klong Toey Market
The biggest market in the city is located not far from the port area and is open daily, offering everything from food and kitchen utensils to stationery and clothes. It is a great place to come if you have departed your flight to Bangkok and realised that you have left something at home, as you are bound to find a replacement here.
Another good reason to visit the market is to stock up on ingredients for a tasty meal, as much of the produce is fresh and incredibly cheap. From raw meat and tempting seafood to all the chillies, spices and vegetables you could possibly need. These stalls are a riot of colour for the senses.
This market is astonishing in its size, especially as it is only open during the weekends. Despite this it stretches for a mammoth 30 acres and consists of 28 different sections and 15,000 booths. Vendors come from all over Thailand to sell their wares here.
You will find yourself walking past stalls selling antiquarian books, live animals and plants, as well as more traditional produce. When it comes to making your way around the complex it is best to just follow the flow of visitors as it is almost impossible to go against the tide of people.
Give yourself plenty of time to explore as the size and popularity of the market makes it hard to escape quickly.
Bo Be Market
At the other end of the spectrum is Bo Be Market, which must not be missed by anyone interested in clothes. It has been the place in Bangkok to come for wholesale garments for 30 years and is the ideal destination to get a whole new wardrobe for hardly anything at all.
If you are worried about your luggage allowance on your flight home, fear not, as the 1,300 stalls all offer a shipping service. What more could you possibly ask for?
Saphan Khao Fruit Market
There is something about fruit in Southeast Asia that is just larger, juicier and brighter in terms of colour than the items you get at home. This means that a visit to a fruit market with mangoes, melons, pineapples and star fruit piled high is a definite must.
In Bangkok there is no better example of such a place than the Saphan Khao Fruit Market, as for 12 hours each day the hawkers sell the best specimens of exotic produce found anywhere. Be sure to bring your camera as you will want to capture the beauty of the colours.
Pak Klong Talat Flower Market
It may sound crazy, but the best time to visit the Pak Klong Talat Flower Market is at two o’clock in the morning as this is when the fresh stock is brought in. If you cannot drag yourself out of bed in the middle of the night then make sure you get there as early as possible. You will not be disappointed, as the intricate garlands, swathes of roses and buckets of orchids are simply breathtaking.