Headed off to Bangkok at the end of the month--I've been to the city but I've somehow missed all the markets--night markets, weekend markets and floating markets. Which ones should I try to hit? I'm much more interested in a place that has authentic antiques than, say, mass market junk. Thoughts? And thanks in advance!
Hands down, Chatuchak Market is the best market in Bangkok (and I would venture to say in the world!) It operates on the weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and is well known. The diversity is just amazing - everything from flowers, jewelry, souvenirs, food, handicrafts, furniture, original artwork. In every market there will be junk, and a lot of the popular crafts get "copied" by others, but I always look closely at the detail and the overall quality of work. There are lots of hidden gems. When I have gone in the past, I've always enjoyed the creativity and artwork created by young artists. I still have pieces that I purchased from decades ago hanging in my house today and I love that it's original and prices are very reasonable. It's very large and can be quite a maze, but that's the fun of an outdoor market - it's supposed to be an adventure. A newer night market is Asiatique The Riverfront which is looks to be well laid out and with lots of good restaurants. In terms of floating markets, you do have to travel outside of Bangkok for the nicer places. I have heard good things about Amphawa Floating Market which is about 1.5 hours outside of the city. A good friend who lives in Bangkok recommends hiring a taxi/driver to get there (prearrange one through the hotel) and stay overnight. There's a firefly watching trip after the evening (dusk) market. There are other floating markets nearby (set up for tourists) Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Overall tip, vendors expect you will bargain with them. Ask for the "best price" or a discount, especially if you plan to buy several pieces. In terms of finding real antiques, it is possible, but probably harder in the markets. Perhaps an easier focus is to look for good quality unique crafts. Have a great time!
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