Jan 07 2013
Bangkok is vast and bursting with things to do, but it can still be a bit tricky finding something off the tourist radar if you’re not familiar with the city. But Talad Rot Fai (the Train Market) ticks all the boxes when it comes to a hip local hangout for those in the know.
If Chatuchak is too hot and busy and doesn’t have enough bars to cool off in (we’ve only ever seen one bar in the huge outdoor market — do correct us if we’re wrong!), then Talad Rot Fai makes a much more fun alternative and is far less well known to tourists. A favourite of Bangkok’s young and stylish, it’s a large vintage night market just around the corner from Chatuchak. Our advice: don’t do them both in one go unless you have a really big appetite for shopping.
The market is set on grounds owned by the State Railway of Thailand, and comes complete with huge warehouses (now stuffed with vintage finds) and the odd rundown train carriage, making it an excellent spot for some Instagram action (as those retro lounge chairs probably won’t fit in your backpack). The novelty of such a space, the possibility of turning up an antique treasure and the large crowd of fashion conscious teens and twenty-somethings brings people back week in week out.
The mostly outdoor market is packed with stalls and VW vans selling everything from retro sunglasses, Japanese toys and repro prints of old Thai ads to furniture, tattered mannequins and more modern bric a brac. A friend of mine commented that there is a fine line between ‘vintage’ and ‘tat’, but you’re sure to find something that’ll spark some nostalgia and have you rummaging in your pocket for some spare baht.
But it’s not just the shopping that brings in the hordes. All that scouring for treasure is sure to bring on a thirst and, being a little out of town, you’ll likely stop for a drink within the market itself. Scattered throughout the entire grounds are more VW vans and bars serving up cheap cocktails and beers. Some have live bands, others a pumping sound system to keep you entertained, or perhaps covering your ears.
Make like the locals and order beers (around 80 baht) with a bucket of ice (it may seem sacrilegious but you’ll be grateful for the ice when there’s no air-con) or a bottle of the local whiskey, Sangsom, with a coke or soda mixer. Whether it’s the start to a more raucous Bangkok night out or just a chilled out way to end a day’s trekking, it’s hard to beat people-watching with a cold beer at Talad Rot Fai.
Talad Rot Fai
Open Sat-Sun 14:00-midnight
Take the MRT to Kampheang Phet. Leave via exit three, then head left down the road for about five minutes until you reach a footbridge. Cross over and continue walking in the same direction for about one minute until you see the market on your right.
Travelfish.org always pays its way. No exceptions.