Forget designer malls. Jatujak weekend market is Bangkok’s true paragon of retail. This is shopping as survival of the fittest: only those with finely tuned consumer instincts shall persevere. The rest can go and get lost – literally
If you’re looking for authentic hill tribe attire or ethnicstyle decorations, then head to Keaw Kham at the JJ Weekend Market. The owner of this small shop is textile expert Sasivimol Jaisert, who devotes much of her spare time to hunting down quality made weaved products all the way from the north of Thailand up to China’s Guizhou province. As a result of Jaisert’s dedication, Keaw Kham is full from the floor to the ceiling with hanging and dangling accessories, apparel and decorations, including many non-traditional items you wouldn’t normally expect to find, such as pillow cases, gloves and even welcome mats.
Making a wrong turn’s almost a given in this sprawling, city-sized marketplace, upon which thousands descend every weekend, to trade everything from Burmese antiques to pedigree livestock. Originally a flea market, Jatujak (also spelled as Chatuchak) quickly outgrew the confines of the insect world to become much more than the sum of its disparate parts. These days, young Thai designers take advantage of the low onsite rent to punt their creative wares; if you so desire, you can peruse piles of customised Zippos that once belonged to American GIs; and tasty pickings conveniently punctuate every which way. Additionally, the exotic pet section particularly supports the theory that Jatujak has evolved its own diverse eco-system (albeit one that periodically gets busted for obviously illegal activites). All this can be a bit overwhelming at first, but persevere and a semblance of order should begin to crystallise from the chaos. Go in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the worst of the heat and the crowds. Or come for a leisurely browse on Friday before the real deluge hits; although only the weekend gig.
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