The Mighty Chatuchak

No, it’s not the mascot of a little league hockey team in Canada. Or the name of some mythical beast.

Chatuchak Market in Bangkok is the epitome of weekend markets – so much so that it’s like getting lost in the maze of Ancient Crete, except one would hope that the Minotaur isn’t waiting at the end.

I love local markets, no matter how crowded or hectic. After all, I’m used to weekend shopping at Jinqiao Carrefour and IKEA – nothing fazes me any more.

Armed with bags and cash, one of my fellow grad school friends and I set off for a day conquering the twists, turns, and insanity of Chatuchak.

First of all, it’s bloody hot outside. I mean, it’s Bangkok in July. Of course, it’s hot – but the humidity! It’s enough to make a Southern Belle swoon.

After taking the BTS train as far as it will go, we look out from the Mo Chit station to see loads and loads of connecting sheds, umbrellas, and carts. It just stretched for ages!

We stage a plan of attack – namely, just walking in and starting to shop – but we end up walking the wrong way. Need I mention that I can get lost in a one way maze? And, I’m never going to ask for directions. That’s just a character flaw. I promise that I will never nag my imaginary husband about not stopping to ask for directions. I just hope he will, because I won’t!

On our way past the park, my PIC (partner in crime – you need a figurative one everywhere you go!), she suddenly sees a “stick” poking out of the water. Then, the “stick” moves and dips under. Suddenly, the thought of walking in the street sounds better than walking near the fence.

The verdict? It was most likely a monitor lizard or some sort of thing like that, according to a local.

If you miss Texas – you can find it in Thailand!

After we U-Turn and head back into the market, it’s a maze of commodities and food. Anything under the sun is available. Perhaps the most entertaining are the pets – hedgehogs, chipmunks? – the array of dried seafood options, and household goods. I’m sure I missed a great deal of things, but to be fair, we did walk around for about 4-5 hours. In that heat, with so many people around, that was definitely enough!

Chatuchak is definitely worth the time and effort to visit. If you’re not interested in buying anything and bargaining for every last baht, consider the people-watching. It’s a fascinating mix of people too!

Just as we were leaving the market, the skies turned an ugly shade of stormy blue. We wove through all the people and stall and dashed to the BTS stop before all heck let loose upon us. Shopkeepers tore down umbrellas and battened down the hatches.

The moment we went up to the platform, a huge gust of wind crashed through, and the rain – giant droplets pounding down from an angry sky – began in earnest. By the time we were on the train, the rain was blowing horizontally into the platform.

Now that’s some crazy power.

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