Bangkok is bursting with markets of all different kinds and Pratunam Market is one of the biggest and most popular in the city. Immersing yourself in this lively market is an experience which mustn’t be missed when visiting Thailand’s capital.
Situated at the intersection of Ratchaprop road and Petchburi road, Pratunam Market is filled with shops and tiny stalls flowing over to the sidewalks and extending all the way to Baiyoke Towers I and II on Ratchaprarop Soi 3. You can take the BTS Sky Train to Chit Lom station or catch the Saen Saep Canal Express Boat then walk to the intersection.
One of the reasons why Pratunam Market is so popular to tourists from all over the world – particularly those from Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong is that it sells everything at wholesale prices. This is the place to come and load up on all kind of clothes, shoes and accessories from t-shirts, jewelry, hats, shoes to modern dresses that are found in the aisles just opposite the entrance of Baiyoke Suite Hotel.
The section closer to Petchaburi Road has a large display of fancy dress and embroidered costumes. Enter the small alleys and you will find yourself in the middle of a maze of clothes. Small shops and stalls selling a huge variety of garments appear every passageway. Although it may be a wholesale market, most vendors still offer single items at incredibly low prices.
Just across the main market is the stunning Platinum Fashion Mall. This indoor wholesale and retail shopping complex, which is packed with about 1300 shops, is divided into three zones selling clothes and accessories for women, children and men. The products are not only made by Thai but imported from Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, China and India as well. Each floor of the mall is named after famous shopping districts around the world like Orchard, Nathan, Ginza, Soho, Oxford and Camden. Things are more organized here than outside and there is also a large food centre with multiple restaurants to choose. There’s even a four-star hotel, Novotel Bangkok Platinum, on top. The building is air-conditioned, thus making it a nice escape from the midday heat.
Pratunam Market is buzzing all time every day. Sellers open and close their stalls at different times, but generally between 7 am and 7 pm. Pratunam night market takes over after that and can remain until midnight. The malls and boutiques tend to close around 8 pm. The morning market kicks off at 5 am and most of the locals come to do their wholesale shopping at this time. Around 8 am, the tourists start to arrive.
After 9 am, things can get extremely busy with jostling for space. The Palladium World Shopping complex comes alive in the evening with stalls selling clothes, souvenirs, and street food sellers touting their tasty treats. The best street food can be found in the Baiyoke area which serves delicious dishes like lemongrass salted grilled fish and Tom Yum soup.
Shops offer wholesale prices when you buy three pieces or more with about 10-30% lower per piece and some shops allow you to mix different types of item. Bargaining is acceptable so prepare yourself a few Thai words in order to get the best deals, but you need to know items are already very cheap. Some rules are compulsory to comply including no exchange, no trying on and no refund. An interesting side is (that) cats are everywhere in this market. You can see them hiding among stalls and under tables where food is served.
Pratunam Market is perfect for those who plan to do some shopping. Locals love it, tourists love it – and you’ll probably love it too!