You can purchase virtually anything at the sprawling Chatuchak Weekend Market, including silk items in a mudmee (tie-dyed before weaving) design that would sell for five times the price in the United States. Strategically placed food vendors mean you don't have to stop shopping to grab a bite. It's open on weekends from 9 am to 7 pm, and the city's (some say the world's) largest market is best in the morning before it gets too crowded and hot. It's easy to reach,
across the street from the northern terminus of the Skytrain and near the Northern Bus Terminal. Just follow the crowd.
An afternoon at JJ, as it is known by locals ("ch" is pronounced "jha" in Thai, so phonetically Chatuchak is Jatujak), is not for the faint of heart: up to 200,000 people visit each day, and there are more than 8,000 vendors. But what's a little discomfort when there are such fantastic bargains to be had? Go prepared with bottles of water, comfortable shoes, and make sure to print out a copy of the map of the market from the website. The borders between the market's many sections can be a bit hazy (for example, the animal section—which includes some bizarre pets like squirrels—spills into the silverware section), but you can keep your bearings by remembering that the outer ring of stalls has mainly new clothing and shoes, with some plants, garden supplies, and home decor thrown in for good measure. The next ring of stalls is primarily used (and some new) clothing and shoes plus accessories like jewelry, belts, and bags. Farther in are pottery, antiques, furniture, dried goods, and live animals.
Even with a map, it's easy to get turned around in the mind-boggling array of goods, but this is also part of the joy that Chatuchak has to offer—wandering through the maze of vendors and suddenly stumbling upon the beautiful teak table, handmade skirt, or colorful paper lamp you'd been seeking.