Talad Rod Fai—Srinakarin and Ratchada
Even though it no longer neighbours the tracks, the much beloved Talad Rot Fai, or train market, cleaves to its vagrant title. The sprawling night market on Srinakarin Road, behind Seacon Square, is at once a seemingly transient and permanent place, where food, drinks, second-hand clothing, and some of the city’s rarest vintage and collectible goods go up for sale at ramshackle shops manned by comers and goers—some operate out of brick-walled buildings, others on blankets or booths set up on the ground, making for a unique atmosphere.
In 2015, the founders of the train market launched a second venue behind Esplanade. Like its big brother on the outskirts of town, Talad Rod Fai Ratchada deals in affordable and sometimes gourmet food, hip bars built in VW wonder buses and prefab containers, cheap second-hand clothing, and loads of vintage memorabilia. Both markets offer endless forms of stimulation, from concerts to auto rallies to outdoor people-watching perches. Smaller and more compact, the Ratchada market is easier to manage than the main Srinakarin branch, but a trip to either makes for an entertaining evening for couples, friends, or families.
At the train market in Ratchada, don’t miss Burn Baby Burn, a burger joint that also sells locally brewed craft beer. And in Srinakarin, make sure to check out Rod’s Antiques, a treasure-hunter’s dream owned and operated by the market’s co-founder, Pairod Roikaew.
An offshoot of the big cheese, Jatujak, the Green Vintage Night Market at JJ Green wins the attention of locals on Friday and Saturday nights. The market is a melting pot of permanently built bars and shops playing host to vendors of second-hand goods, vintage fashion items, and, really, just about everything else that can be found during the day at Jatujak Market. Places like Live House Studio have upped the ante by bringing in big international bands, including New Found Glory and Reel Big Fish. Expect to join young hipster types sharing beer towers or perusing piles of shoes, retro cameras, leather goods, and vinyl albums.
Go to Jatujak in the afternoon and then head to JJ Green when the sun goes down to polish off your Saturday with al fresco drinks and music at Stair By Me.
Siam Gypsy Junction actually spawned from the Green Vintage Night Market. Last year, the market upped sticks and moved to the outer edge of town, underneath the soon-to-open MRT Bang Son. Expect to find a hodgepodge of vintage and second-hand goods for sale, from ceramic dishes, old movie posters, and worn T-shirts to just far too many bicycles.
The market is open Wednesday to Sunday until 1am. If you’re coming from town, leave early, because until MRT Bang Son opens, it will take quite a trip to get there.
Way out on the fringes of the city—which appears to be a shared trait among Bangkok’s best night markets—is Liab Duan, which roughly translates to “the highway market.” This no-frills conglomeration of vendors selling knock-off T-shirts and faux-vintage curios is the perfect place to pick up some mismatching stuff to decorate your bedroom with or sell on your online shop. It’s huge and dusty and consistently entertaining.
The market is located opposite Tawandang Germany Brewery on Ramintra-Ekamai Road. Stroll around the market, get something to eat, and finish with the beer hall’s raucous show.
When the sun goes down, the stalls come out in front of Rajamangala Stadium. From T-shirts to toys to cute caged pets, just about everything is sold here (although you should really avoid supporting puppy mills). While wandering through the stalls, fill up on takoyaki, som tam, southern curries, khao mok gai, and more. The market gets crowded, especially on weekends, but there’s ample room in the lawn in front of the man-made pond or by the track.
Take the Saen Saeb canal boat and then walk or flag down a motorbike. Traffic on Ramkhamhaeng can be nose-to-tail.
Two on-going pop-ups downtown offer a slightly more gentrified night market experience. Artbox, perhaps the pioneer of the container market movement, offers chic fashion accessories and knick-knacks, live music, and Instagrammable gourmet eats. It’s often held at the EM District, although technically this market moves around and has no fixed location (see past events at Makkasan and the Queen Sirikit Convention Centre for example.
The Neon Fest container market provides much of the same as Artbox but at the formerly vacant space across the road from Lumpini Park. It stays open every Thursday through Sunday until July. It’s a great place to get a drink and enjoy the open air.