The Chatuchak Weekend Market is intense. Only open from Friday night through Sunday the market sells everything. Need shoes? Done. Jeans? Done. Souvenirs? Done. A new furry friend? Yup. Decoration for your house. Definitely. Boob shaped novelty soap? Can’t go five feet without finding some.
With a mix of indoor and outdoor shops the market has over 15,000 stalls of stuff and is broken into 27 different sections over 27 acres. I didn’t even make a dent in it. I was there for almost a whole day and ended up walking in circles. It’s one of the worlds largest weekend marketplaces. It’s easy to get to, right outside the Mo Chit train stop.
I made a rule for myself because I knew it’d be hot. As soon as I got through the gates I bought pomegranate juice and the entire time I was in the market I made sure I had something cold to drink in my hands. A lot of the drinks I bought were about 20 baht (almost 60 cents), so it wasn’t too expensive to stay constantly hydrated. I mostly was trapped in the never-ending clothing section. It was intimidating but I was determined to buy some things. First I bought souvenirs for my coworkers/friends and stopped in a candy shop. I wanted to get something they wouldn’t get a lot of and decided on durian. The worker let me try one first and… let’s just say I didn’t have nearly enough to drink on hand to wash down that flavor, let alone finish the candy. It kinda sat on my tongue until I got away from the stand and felt okay to spit it out in a napkin that I shoved in my purse. Instead I bought a huge set of mango candies which was a better choice for everyone. Durian is an acquired taste and it’s not a taste I’ve acquired. I can’t even stand the smell.
I moved on to shoes, deciding to get appropriate sandals to wear around since it was so hot, and easily found a vendor selling just that, only sandals. I love Korea, but if you have even slightly large feet finding shoes that fit is a bit of a hassle, so I stocked up at the market, and bought a pair of shoes to wear around that will hopefully replace the tennis shoes I’ve destroyed since Prague. It took awhile to get the guts to go into stores and buy things but once I got over that hurtle and since everything was at wholesale price (aka cheap) it was hard to stop. I bought shirts for work, a pair of jeans, light fisherman pants and a long skirt, and eventually even had to buy a bag to shove all the stuff I bought into so people would leave me alone. I drank so much juice and even had a small chunk of taro ice cream. A quick warning though is that there are no trash cans. What I ended up doing is once I’d finish my drink I’d go to a new drink stand and buy a drink and then trade. They threw out my empty drink and I got a fresh cold one. It helped a lot with the heat and I was able to keep going a lot longer than I think I could have otherwise. The longer I was there the more packed it got as the crowd filed in later in the afternoon. There also isn’t really any seating in the labyrinth other than a few cafes, little food shops or the massage spots. And very very few shops have air conditioning or fans.
By the time I left I was starving and exhausted to my core and decided that wherever I ate didn’t need air conditioning but just some place for me to sit. So I settled for a place with fried chicken underneath umbrellas. I was so exhausted I couldn’t finish it. And as I reorganized everything into my new bag found to my horror that the heat had melted the durian candy in my purse into a sticky smelly mess.