Travel

Kulani Nkuna
3 minute read
31 Jan 2014
7:00 am

Night time affair with Bangkok

Kulani Nkuna

Bangkok is in many ways a city which marches along to its own beat.

CARNIVAL. Great energy and atmosphere at the Asiatique Market. Pictures: Supplied.

There isn’t really any divide between day and night, and although it can’t really make the case for the city that doesn’t sleep, it can surely make a strong statement for having a vibrant night life no matter what day of the week.

After dark, the city comes into its own and only the locals really know how to anticipate busy traffic and cross the road without getting hit by a car. The allure of the city lights and hustle and bustle which starts from early morning really comes together at the city’s famous markets.

The spirit of enterprise means that locals and tourists alike have lots to choose from. As usual the challenge comes from trying to negotiate a good price in two different languages. The vendors will often speak to you in a local language, and often resort to typing in the amount they are willing to sell you something for on a calculator. So your slick negotiation skills may not come in handy due to linguistic challenges.

The outdoor experience is a refreshing one compared to air conditioned malls. There is plenty on offer from fashion, accessories to ornaments specific to the region. The Chatuchak Weekend Market is a must-see, while others, such as those in Patpomg, Khlong Thom and Saphan Phut offer exciting night time shopping experiences. A lot of young people also use the market to hang out especially given their plethora of restaurants and bars.

For first-timers, navigating Chatuchak may seem like an impossible task. But luckily there is a system to help you find your way through the packed maze, according to Bangkok.com.

NEON. The Asiatique Market at the Riverfront in Bangkok offers many options for visitors.

NEON. The Asiatique Market at the Riverfront in Bangkok offers many options for visitors.

This information would have been useful when we visited there. But we sought adventure and instead we got overwhelmed. Nevertheless, inside one main walkway encircles the entire market, and it branches off into a series of numbered alleyways.

These alleyways are grouped into sections, with 27 sections in all. You will find more than one category of goods contained in one section, and the same category of goods will appear again in the other sections.

In terms of locating your category of goods, this system is rather useless, but it will come in handy when you try to locate your particular stall or where your exact location is on the Chatuchak map.

SCENIC. Stunning views accompany the shopping experience at Asiatique, Bangkok.

SCENIC. Stunning views accompany the shopping experience at Asiatique, Bangkok.

Another way to find your way around Chatuchak is to find points of reference as you go along. The BTS and MRT stations as well as banks and numbered entrance gates are good points of references, as you will come across them as you turn corners. Then again, use the map to locate these references to find your correct orientation.

Patpong is in many ways quite close to home in terms of its flowing design. The informality of it all suits the homemade goods, from clothing items to food varieties. The place is always busy and chaotic with all the commotion from the Go-Go bars nearby and lots of foreign tourists.

This market in Bangkok’s notorious nightlife district is often the first and easiest stop for many tourists just arriving in the capital city.

It is said that most markets are generally safe and that is indeed the feeling when walking around. Taxi cab folks may pester you here and there about taking you to your destination, but this is no real problem.

The Asiatique is the Real McCoy of the markets with a more formal and organised layout. Actually it’s more than a typical night market and it is also referred to as a shopping and lifestyle complex. But the main place is a shopping area located in the old warehouses of the East Asiatic Company.

There really is a carnival atmosphere here, and it is the perfect place for a general night out, whether you are shopping or just in need of a night out.