Written by Ayesha Khan
Jatujak weekend market is the largest of its kind in the world. Here visitors (of which there are approximately 200,000 each day) will find anything and everything from live animals to world-class antiques and contemporary art.
Every Saturday morning I get up at 7am and head to Jatujak weekend market. I’ve been doing this since I was 15, because of the community and energy there and the antiques I’ve collected in nearly 30 years. To me, Jatujak doesn’t feel like Thailand; it is the world. There are more travellers there than the locals themselves. And from antiques and animals to paintings and vintage T-shirts, everything you could ever want can be found here. I once read somewhere that everything you see in front of you was imagined, designed and built by someone. Well, if you ask me, Jatujak is the heart of Bangkok and the invention of the city starts right here.
Sections 1 and 2 in the northern quadrant of the ‘city within a city’ are where I roam for my beloved antiques and have a bite to eat. My favourite food at Jatujak is the ’boat noodles’. And my regular meal is at Toy Ayutthaya Boat Noodles at Section 2 Soi 38/3. The recipe comes from our ancient capital of Ayutthaya, where the soup noodles were once served from canal boats. Today the vendors still sell them on ‘boats’, but at Jatujak the boats are on wheels. A little bit of improvisation!
Then there is the southern segment of Jatujak – the more artsy part where you’ll find all the city’s up-and-coming artists coming together with their super-cool stalls. Sections 6, 7, and 8, in particular, are where the vibe is terrific for some art and vintage wear. I’ve seen Japanese and English operators buying for their outlets in both the East and West, and I’ve even seen Americans coming here to bring back American rock'n'roll T-shirts to sell back home! There is an excellent eatery here called Café Ice Deco.
My best piece of advice for Jatujak is: absolutely try to bargain with a smile – that’s the best way to get a good deal. Thai people don’t like it if you get too serious. And if you’re looking for antique Buddhist artefacts, don’t bother, the majority are fakes.
And remember, once in a while it’s okay to get lost, and Jatujak is just the place to do that.
Krissada Sukosol Clapp is the heartthrob of Thai pop culture. He is the lead singer in indie pop band Pru and an actor. His most recent venture, however, is the Siam Hotel – one of Bangkok’s most luxurious, and which was furnished through Krissada’s love of antiques, most of which were acquired at Jatujak.