Firstly I need to school y’all a little on the local lingo. In Thai language CH becomes a J sound so it’s pronounced Jat-u-jak markets. (Thai จตุจักร) But everyone knows it as JJ Markets, or as is more common, simply as JJ. i.e. Let’s go to JJ this weekend.
It’s a Bangkok institution and every Top 10 Things to See and Do in Bangkok will have it right up there – that I can guarantee you!
Easiest way to get there is using the MRT to Kamphaengphet station and then take Exit 2, which delivers you right into the heart of the action. If you get the BTS to Mo Chit you will have a 10 minute walk ahead of you and enter somewhere around Gate 2. (Trap for young players: If returning via BTS make sure you already have a pocket-full of coins handy as the lines to get change can be horrendous!)
Once you’ve arrived grab a drink or a bite to eat and wander at will. It’s hard to get too lost, but don’t expect see the whole place in a day. It’s simply not possible!
The markets, which are only open on Saturday and Sunday, are vast, labyrinthine and hot. If you’re visiting for the first time allow 4-5 hours especially if you intend on doing some shopping. If you just want to check it out and have a gander then a couple of hours would be all you need.
Don’t worry, there is plenty of food to fill hungry tummies and a cool drink can be had for as little as THB 20.
ATMs, Currency Exchange and toilets (5 THB and don’t forget the paper!) are also available on-site.
This is not a place for the agoraphobic! (myself included). I have a love / hate relationship with JJ. Love the people watching and some of the zany knick-knacks that I can get there – hate the crowds.
We went there yesterday as I needed some fresh air (in Bangkok – ha!) and more specifically in my case, to get away from the keyboard. I’ve been keeping my nose to the grindstone in the past few months and been somewhat house-bound. I was also excited to have another opportunity to use my new camera, which I’ve had very few chances to use since it’s purchase.
It was an enjoyable few hours as we hadn’t been for a while and we came home with wooden serving spoons, some new bath mats (60 THB each), a 2nd hand book and the pièce de résistance, a glass jar filled with moss, a small fern and a couple of deer. Magical!
Every now and then it’s a little therapeutic to buy crap you don’t need. Among overpriced foot massages you’ll find anything that you can think of – but be prepared to haggle, as the vendors almost expect it. From lounges to lizards and everything in between – it’s all available at JJ. Just make sure you know your prices.
To make it a fun day do the following:
- Get there early if possible.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Know where your wallet or handbag is at all times.
- Stay hydrated.
We stumbled upon this small oasis which had AC and natural light and looked oh so inviting. Heeding the siren call of a refreshing Iced Latte, we ducked inside to rest our weary feet for a while. Midway through our coffees the wife noticed a dessert cabinet and decided that a slice of cake was in order, which didn’t disappoint. Worth a visit.
One of the most photographed people in JJ must be the guy that presides over the huge Paella pans at Viva8 bar. He’s quite the entertainer and there’s always a throng of people lining up to take his picture while he whips up this tasty treat for the waiting masses.
The bar has been there for as long as I can remember but the addition of the Spanish national dish1 is nothing short of a stroke of genius – and at 160 THB a plate I’m sure it’s a nice little earner. Olé
The have a resident DJ that plays House tunes to get you in the mood but the playlist isn’t as edgy as it was years ago (bring back Deadmau5!)
I necked an icy cold Beer Laos while the missus destroyed a Mojito before we ventured back out into the scorching afternoon sun.
(FYI: They also run another bar somewhere inside section 25 if you prefer a cooler and quieter setting.)
1. While many non-Spaniards consider paella to be the national dish of Spain, tortilla espanola, or Spanish omelet, is more widely consumed throughout the Iberian peninsula. Unlike the corn-based tortilla of Mexico, the Spanish tortilla is made from potatoes, eggs and onions. source: http://bit.ly/2nE7IAi