wkends in Bangkok

Nov 22nd, 2005, 07:55 AM
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wkends in Bangkok

Am I missing out on anything if I am not in BKK over a weekend? Are there any "not to be missed" markets that are only open on wkends etc? Thanks!
PS What is the main reason for including Northern Thailand/Chiang Mai on one's itinerary (vs. bypassing and going to beaches).
travelgirl72 is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2005, 08:05 AM
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i do not personally think you are missing anything....the weekend market is the big thing but i don't feel it is worth the effort....its very hot, crowded and overwhelming....most of the things available there are also available in bkk itself...

going north is slightly cooler usually and cleaner air....

CM is loved for its shopping and sights and slightly slower way of life....

further north there is real tranquility for treking, hill tribe visiting and the golden triangle area with myanmar and laos....
rhkkmk is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2005, 08:18 AM
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I see no reason to go to the weekend markets. A beach can be anywhere. Northern thailand is my favorite part of the country. But if you're not interested in the culture and the people of thailand and its history, go to a beach. No one can tell you which one to go to because everyone has different interests when traveling. I for one have been to a thai beach once and will never ever return but I've been to northern thailand many times and always love it. Others will say the exact opposite. No one is right or wrong. Do some reading about the areas and make your own decision.
glorialf is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2005, 08:26 AM
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well i think some people go to the beach for some r&r. Some of us are flying from large cities, and while OF COURSE interested in the Thai culture/people/food & shopping, would appreciate a couple days of serenity. Was just looking for feedback.
travelgirl72 is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2005, 08:45 AM
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That's exactly what I was saying -- do what you want to do. Everyone is different. I don't like beaches anywhere -- never have. I do like r and r but would rather have it in northern thailand or even in Bangkok. But that's me. Lots of people love the beach and have fabulous times there. You know your interests and what you want to experience. The important thing is to do what you want to do and not what other people think you should do.

glorialf is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2005, 09:43 AM
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right, but the reason why people visit these boards is for feedback from those who've already been. No kidding we can all do our own research and should do what we want. I think if someone asks a question and you are irritated by it, then don't respond. But others out there might know exactly what we're talking about about having a dilemma of which "must sees" to cover, and which to let pass..since many of us have limited time and budget. I may be a beach person, but I may wonder what I might miss by not venturing north. And vice versa.
Anyway, thanks to all for your responses. I have about 2 mos till Thailand, so plz forgive me in advance since I'll probably have ton more ques!
travelgirl72 is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2005, 09:45 AM
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One can get plenty of R&R in Bangkok with all of the great spas. The Metropolitan Hotel is famous for its spa. And there are hotel swimming pools to lounge around. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2005, 10:55 AM
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You are not missing anything by skipping weekends in Bangkok. Only the weekend market, and personally I think the evening market much nicer if you want to go to a market.

As far as beach vs Northern Thailand, I think that what Gloria has said is that the beaches and the north are different, and only you know if you want a beach or a mountain experience.

There is no main reason for choosing one over the other any more than there is a 'reason' for choosing, say, Thailand over Taiwan.
lcuy is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2005, 11:02 AM
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As lcuy says, evening markets are lots of fun. Suan Luam Night Bazaar is terrific! I've reviewed it on my site at www.mcdougalladventures.com/category/thailand

It's manic!
luckykat is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2005, 11:19 AM
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thank you! These posts have been a great help! will check out the night markets..
travelgirl72 is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2005, 11:22 AM
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Icuy-- that's exactly what I meant. Thanks for explaining it better than I did.
glorialf is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2005, 11:54 PM
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I have read your earlier threads and I am guessing that your current itinerary has changed so I don't know how many days you have in Bangkok. I am not really a shopper (at least not for clothes). I like shopping for handicrafts and furniture, but it is not a mainstay of any holiday by any stretch of the imagination. I almost never shop for clothes, that is what catalogs are for. However, that being said, I have to say I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE WEEKEND MARKET IN BANGKOK!! I live in Hong Kong and have planned business trips to have meetings on Fridays and Mondays so I can shop in the market on the weekends. Yes it is hot and crowded and it is easy to get lost. But if you have Nancy Chandler's great map (see below), and go with water, a good attitude and preferably by yourself or with someone with a similar attitude, it can be a fantastic experience. You can literally find almost any item made anywhere. Lots of silverware and other tableware items at great prices, good handicrafts, you name it. My sister and I were in a restaurant in Bangkok a few years ago and had salads in huge hammered stainless steel bowls which we loved, and sure enough, next day I found them at the market. In my experience, I have not found the same to be true of the night markets. They have some interesting things, to be sure, but seem to be more copy bags and watches, and some handicrafts, but nothing like the extent of items as the weekend market.

Now would I arrange an entire vacation to Thailand around being in Bangkok on a weekend? No, unless I were a really really dedicated shopper, which I am not, but you may be. My sister- in- law is coming in June, and believe me, we are planning the Thailand portion of the trip around being in Bangkok for the weekend market, as she IS a dedicated shopper (I am actually frightened at the prospect of her in Bangkok and Hong Kong).

You can't go to the Weekend Market IMO without "Nancy Chandler's Guide to Bangkok", an invaluable shopping map and brief guide. You can it buy it on the web from her website (Nancychandler.net), or may find it in your bookstore or at Amazon.com. The guide has a specific section and map on what items are located where in the market. She also has a guide to Chiang Mai. Be sure to get the latest editions, as even one a year old can be out of date, as things are torn down so fast these days in Bangkok.

On going to the north versus the beach, that is a personal decision. I have not been to the north in some years myself, but I am not sure it is as tranquil as it used to be. Chiang Mai gets 3 million visitors a year, the same amount as the entire country of India gets, so the peaceful tranquility part may be a bit overrated. Every major hotel chain has at least one, and in many cases more than one, hotel there, so again, perhaps not as tranquil as the above posters may lead you to think. The tribal treks and elephant rides can be quite canned as well. I think you have to get well into the countryside to really see a quieter side of the area.
Cicerone is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 03:40 AM
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I also enjoy tbe weekend market and go there whenever I'm in BKK. It is hot and crowded but if you look carefully, you can find some great stuff at bargain prices. I always manage to find plenty of stuff at prices much lower than I see in stores. that said, I wouldn't change my entire itinerary just to go there though since others have said, there are some night markets that you can go to instead. the thing about the weekend market is however, there is just so much there, more than I've ever seen at night markets, but I haven't been to all the night markets (yet!)
laurieco is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 04:08 AM
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I am so happy to read Cicerone and Laurieco's posts. Last few times anyone has mentioend the weekend market I have been in a minority of one defending it! On a more serious note, if you are a flea market person, can handle heat and crowds and want to shop or even browse without an agenda, the weekend market is an experience. It is Asia's largest flea market and you may never ahve seen anything like it. I used to go on Fridays to avoid the crowds. Some of my favourite home items are from there. It is in many cases cheaper than the city. IMO, it is best for home decor items, handicrafts, household items. Jatujak and the Night Bazaar are very different and IMO both worth doing - caveating again, at the risk of repetition, that both places work best if you do not have a fixed shopping list or agenda.
hobbes is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 06:03 AM
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thank you so much for the detailed posts. Cicerone, my itinerary hasn't changed much, just how our vacation falls (since we tried to find a more reasonable fare, we are leaving NYC on a Monday, staying for 12 days and leaving BKK on a Friday night. The one wkend we are there may be spent in Phuket--which is why I was curious if I should have arranged the trip to have a wkend night in BKK). I'm not a HUGE market person, but as this is my first time in Thailand, didn't want to miss out on anything amazing, and have heard much talk about the markets--unsure if this was the night markets or floating markets? Gets confusing to a novice
travelgirl72 is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 06:13 AM
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The weekend market is something to experience, for sure. I've been five or six times in my 8 trips to BKK. But I have not been there the last two or three trips because I've grown tired of the heat and the crowds! But it is an amazing array of items for sale! I've carried many bags of goodies out of the market.

I prefer SuanLum night bazaar now. I can't believe I didn't make it there on my last trip though. We just got too busy!! SuanLum is a fun experience with shopping, food, and a "beer garden" with live entertainment. It is just so much more pleasant (for me) than weekend market.

simpsonc510 is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:50 AM
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To be honest I have never really worried about what day of the week I am in Bangkok. I have been to the weekend market a few times and have definately enjoyed it but the night markets are also great and I certainly wouldn't structure the whole of my trip around one or the other but rather enjoy which ever happens to be open when I am there. The decision between north and beaches is a difficult one. I am not a beach person at all but saying that when I have an extended trip I have definately enjoyed hanging out in a beach environment and soaking up that totally different atmosphere. I don't know how long your trip is but I would just sit back and think which sort of feeling you would like on the rest of the trip outside BKK. Remember just because you may go to a beach are you are not stuck with staying on the beach everyday. Find a region where you can go and explore other areas also. Either way have a wonderful trip.
jules39 is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 12:43 PM
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I just returned from BKK last week. The Chatuchak(sp?) market was our favorite market. Much more atmospheric than the other markets we visited. Very crowded and a bit dizzying, especially as it was our first day in BKK, but what an amazing variety.
kymm is offline  

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