In my opinion, shopping at the Chatuchak Weekend Market (JJ Market) is comparable to shopping at the major departments stores (i.e. Macys, Belks, Dillards, Kohls) on Black Friday or any day after during the holiday season. That is not to say that it is a bad experience just a little stressful.
About 6 weeks ago early in the morning, Chris and I left Killian in Pai’s care, and we ventured out to the infamous JJ Market. We took our buildings tuk tuk to the BTS, we rode the BTS until the last stop on the Mo Chit line which took roughly 30 minutes, and then took exit 2 off of the BTS to walk to the market. (Helpful Expat Mom Tip: The Mo Chit BTS station does have an elevator/lift for your stroller). The sun is rising higher in the sky, we can feel the warmth of the sun on our skin as we venture into this new experience together. As we walk to the market, we see on the sidewalk the locals are setting up items for sale on blankets and trying their best to get the farangs (Thai slang for foreigner) attention to make their first sale of the day. Luckily for us the morning at the market is not crowded. I personally (although getting better having to live in a big city) hate people to be in my bubble, unless invited so the morning crowd was very doable for me. We follow the flow of traffic into the market and as far as the eye can see are sheet metal roofs and stalls of really anything you would or could possibly buy: shoes, iPhone cases, hand carved teak wood souvenirs, pottery, art, jewelry, food, baby alligators and seriously anything you could think of you can find it here. (Tourist Tip: Before you come to Bangkok, or if you are already here you can pick this up at Asia Books in any mall, purchase Nancy Chandler’s Map of Bangkok. She has a very detailed map of the market to help your shopping experience go a little smoother.)
As soon as we made it into the market, we stopped for a gaafee yen (cold coffee) and continued our journey but after a while of shopping we realized we were going in circles. I figured this would happen just because of the sheer magnitude of this place but I was told to always keep the clock tower in view and we would be able to find our way out. If you get hungry, you can always stop in the “food court” for a little snack of spring roles, squid on a stick, the biggest prawns I have ever seen or some delicious pineapple. With the heat getting more intense and we simply could not carry anymore we decided to head back home around noon. This was more of challenge, this is when I was reminded of shopping in the States at the holidays, the market was slammed packed, people shoulder to shoulder and butt to butt. You could barely move to scoot past the people shopping to exit. We made it out and lugged our bags up the stairs to the BTS, it was a very successful day of shopping.
The picture of the line of taxis and traffic was taken when we were leaving to show how busy this area is on any given weekend. Then I realized this wasn’t even considered busy, we just went the other day during the evening around 6pm on a Saturday and I would have to say it was about triple the amount of traffic and people! Black Friday in the US has NOTHING on JJ Market.