Chatuchak Market

I had a busy day in Bangkok on Sunday, so busy that I’m going to blog about it in pieces.  It started with a quick visit to the ATM on the street behind my hotel, which turned into a quick visual survey (if not eating) of the street food on offer. Here’s a sampling:img_6695

And it’s cooked right out there on the street, in giant pans:

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Some people say street-food is a must-try, but I wasn’t feeling adventuresome (or hungry) enough on this particular trip.  But it’s fascinating.  Lots of frying, lots of grilled things on sticks, lots of noodles and soups.

My big morning trip took me to Chatuchak market, reportedly the largest outdoor weekend market in the world.  It’s said to cover the area of five football fields.  The market is largely covered (but not really enclosed by walls, so any hope of finding AC depends largely on the stall).  Mostly you’re walking down long, narrow halls — and it’s fantastically easy to get lost (even with a map in hand, I did that twice).

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Chatuchak market is known for being hot, confusing, and remarkable.  The incredible thing about this particular market is that it’s made up of thousands and thousands of tiny, narrow stalls, each dedicated to selling just one thing (or like things).  In the photo above, you’ll see the “shiny things related to fake flower arrangements” stall.  Many stalls are what you might expect, like the usual knockoff purses (available in abundance in Thailand and many other countries in Asia):

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But you have a whole lot of the unexpected as well.  Here are some of the stalls you’ll find:  dog wear (yup, a whole stall that just sells outfits for dogs), shiny buddhas, tiny clay flowers, chandeliers, clocks, cammo wear, orchids, wrapping ribbon.  It goes on and on and on.  You have the “velvet Eastern religious icons” stall:

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The “creepy hair ties” stall:

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The “really nice paper” stall:img_6707

The “random items made out of coconut shells” stall:

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The “things that light up on strings” stall:

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The “very large (and small) dog statues” stall:

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And, of course, you have the “shoes with buttons sewn all over them” stall:

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Then there’s this stall, which names itself:

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I was amused by this juxtaposition at the “large garden objects” stall:

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The market also has some things I actually wanted to buy, like shoes and hand-made purses. Prices are so much lower than they are in Singapore that I probably should have bought a new set of silverware from the “just flatware” stalls, but I couldn’t bring myself to add more weight to what I was carrying.  Mostly, I just wandered around amazed.

Fortunately, Chatuchak also has yummy places to stop along the way for food and drink (like mango and sticky rice, and other stuff):

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I’ll end with this sign from the restroom, which is some combination of amusing and concerning:

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