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read below the latest addition:
Are you ready for Chatuchak? (Jul-2003)
some say ...never again - some get addicted
there's always those guys who say it's horrible - doesn't matter where you go and what you do. But they're not the ones I want to talk about. No doubt, there's places more extreme than others - like if you compare Bangkok and Munich or - once talking about Bangkok... comparing the World Trade Center at PratuNam or Chatuchak Weekend-Market for shopping pleasures.
The more extreme those opinions - the more extreme thoses places.
Chatuchak weekend market in the North of Bangkok, approx. half the way to the airport, is one of those spots you either love (and get addicted) or hate and never visit a second time in your life.
Take this pleasant summer season in this city (Bangkok in June/July) with about 40C and a humidity closed to 100 percent, when eye movements return sweat drops - and imagine a market, most of it non airconditioned... The sun is up, the air is hot and the place is packed.
Plenty of reasons to hate this market - and then again, plenty to love it!
Chatuchak is unique in size and variety. On a first visit it's quite common that people get lost. They simply cannot find the spot they entered or some shop where they saw something they wanted to buy, but thought to do so later ... big mistake!
If you see something you like, buy it. Instantly.
Unless you have visited the market a couple of times you won't be able to find shops a second time - and if so, that'll happen accidentially. I've seen so many people in this place, Thai and Non-Thai who looked (puzzeled:) at funny colorful maps (yes, they do have maps) and tried to figure out which way they had to go now.
The best way to experience Chatuchak is to surf it. Yes, just like the net. Moving, riding on top of those waves, if you see things of interest, stop, ask, buy if you want - and move on. If you feel hungry, eat. There are so many food stalls and the food is authentic and delicious. If you're tired, rest somewhere. If something smells fantastique, follow your nose - if it smells horrible, turn around. (I never really did the pet section. It simply is too much for me to take)
I guess you get almost everything at Chatuchak - and you get also a lot of things second hand. The younsters hang out every weekend for the latest trends and fashion, the middle aged are more into antiques and plants - maybe - or furniture, table ware, glasses, curtains, shoes, jewellery, movies, stones for garden landscaping, books (plenty, 2nd hand, all languages), and so on and so on...
Only thing I haven't found to buy is computers and salt water crocodiles - but then again... I never really finished the pet section.
On my many trips to the market, I found out that Saturday afternoon is the best time to go (if there is such thing as a best time at all) - and for me personally trips lasting 2 to 3 hours are enough. Can't imagine to spend the whole day there. However most important is to discover those little oases... sometimes it's a nice breeze, sometimes a comfortable chair or a bench to sit down, sometimes to rest for a cup of coffee. Check out the section where they sell plants for that reason or the most northern part - and watch the others surf - and relax - and enjoy!