Saturday, January 21, 2017

Shopping at Chatuchak and JJ Market, Bangkok

I love open air markets.  Flea markets, street markets, antique markets.  I've been to some great ones - Rue Cler in Paris, San Telmo in Buenos Aires to name two.  Chatuchak is one of my favorites.  It is over 27 acres, some covered, some not.

Be prepared for heat, crowds, smells (some good, some not), bargains, high-priced items, food and languages from around the world.  It is intense and crazy.  I love it.  Some say Chatuchak Market and JJ Market are the same thing but they're not.  They are adjacent but JJ Market is more of a mall with small, individual vendors.  It is also air-conditioned and has the kind of food court that you'll find in every mall in Bangkok.

My preference is to hit Chatuchak in the morning, wander, shop, get disgustingly sweaty and then walk across the street to the air conditioned comfort of JJ.  Lunch there with a bit more shopping before heading home to relax.

Here are some photos:

Most of Chatuchak is filled with bargain items:  cheap t-shirts, bags, children's clothes, bath salts, lighting, etc.  Much the same as you see in every market in Asia.  One section, though, specializes in higher end items - some new, some antique.  Most related to home decor.  These are antique door handles and knockers.

I loved the huge, antique carved doors.

But I would have to buy a much larger, grander house for them to work.

Tons of lighting - much of it with a Moroccan feel.  Some is clearly also from China.

Perfect for lounging by my pool with a cold beverage.

A chaise lounge made from a solid piece of wood.

Yes, yes, yes!  Perfect place for reading or canoodling.

Prices in this section of the market aren't cheap.  This light fixture was about $1,500.

More lighting.  And on the right is a sink/vanity for a very special bathroom.

Hmmmmm.  This statue is about 2 feet tall.

Lighting and bowls to be used as sinks.

Wall gardens like this are popular in Asia.  I've seen them in Malaysia made with repurposed 2 liter soda bottles.  I want one!

I also want this intricately carved door.  It will be perfect in my new, huge home since it won't fit in my current house.

Picture out...by the pool, friends stroll up to this bar for snacks and drinks.

In addition to the antique items are tons of new home decor items, many with religious themes.  I also saw a number of beautifully done, huge portraits of the recently deceased king.

We were shopping mostly for baby clothes.  There were adorable little girl clothes everywhere!

Lots of sundresses and hats.

These cute, well made dresses were 200 Baht.  That's about $5.60 USD.

C'mon - all that cuteness for less than $3?

Little girls wear a lot of dresses like this out on the street.

And more...

Hard to see in this photo but this is the back of a pair of toddler shorts - that's an elephant butt, with a 3D tail hanging off.

This stall sold stuffed animals and bags (some for the kids, some for the moms).  I liked this one that had a detachable stuffed toy.

Lunch was in the air conditioned food court in JJ Market.  I got my favorite, the #2 - oysters tossed on a red hot metal plate and topped with a sweet/savory/spicy sauce and fresh sprouts.  $1.70 for about a dozen small oysters.

The picture above was the menu photo.  This is the deliciousness I received.  Soooooo gooooooood.

Here's the deal with Thai food courts.  You go to the centralized cashiers where you trade cash for a card like this.  Then you go from stall to stall, ordering what you'd like.  They swipe the card and give you a receipt with your new balance.  You can keep the card to use for your next visit or cash it in after you dine.  Brilliant idea.

The food court was crowded by the time we left.  It looks like a food court in American mall, but instead of American chains, it's locals, selling one or more dishes they've honed for sometimes generations.  Singapore calls them "hawker stands" and is famous for them.  I like that you can get several small dishes - in this case, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese.

I fell in love with this necklace but only came away with the photo since it was an antique and the price was about $1,400.

These trinkets were cheap, cheap, cheap.  So much to see!  27 acres of tables like this.

Interested in more modern items for your home?  These ceramic dishes were on sale.

Beauty products are sold everywhere.  Skin whitening is really popular.  In Myanmar I struggled to convince some sales ladies that I didn't really need deodorant that also whitened.

Because they've already started the Chinese New Year celebrations, they had new Hondas on sale.  As I looked at them, not a single sales person approached me.

Open my kitchen cabinets and you will see piles of white dishes.  Killed me to walk away from some of these uniquely shaped ceramic items.

Baby onesies and leggings.  About $1.50 each.

Live music and sales.  Let the celebration begin!

The reasons I'm in Bangkok - my friend Lori and her "due to be born in 3 weeks" daughter.

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