Get ready for a fun night out
Ranking among the best night bazaars in Bangkok, both locations of Talad Rot Fai buzz with bars, bites and hipsters selling vintage bits. Pick either one and get ready for a fun night out.
Talad Rot Fai (Train Market) started several years back as a flea market held on weekend nights at an old railway yard near Chatuchak Market, but was forced to relocate in 2013 despite its considerable popularity. At that point it re-organised and expanded into a huge lot behind a pair of malls in Bangkok’s eastern reaches off Srinakarin Road. While this market is still going strong, the organisers added a smaller version of Talad Rot Fai at an easier-to-reach Ratchada location in 2015.
Locals, expats and travellers of all ages are attracted to both markets that, while very cool, aren’t quite as bohemian as a pair of competing night markets: Siam Gypsy and JJ Green. They come to peruse the antiques and other bits of curio spread out in front of vans, displayed at tented stalls and gathered in proper roofed shops. Expect all sorts of vintage toys, second-hand clothes and Converse All Stars in myriad colours. You’ll also find more typical Thai night market stuff like cheap T-shirts, backpacks and cosmetics.
The food sections at both locations do not mess around. Thai staples like khao gaeng (curry and rice), pad Thai, som tam, noodle soups and barbecued meats are all represented, but you might want to skip those and go for unexpected options like pulled-pork sandwiches, raw oysters and deep-fried laab. Most stalls offer tables for eating on site, or you could go for one of the larger sit-down eateries.
One popular shop found at both locations sells “Louisiana-style” grilled seafood served in big buckets with plastic gloves and a spicy sauce slathered over a table-size square of wax paper—go ahead and indulge like a three-year-old. Wash it down with an imported/craft beer from stalls boasting some of the largest varieties of brews, by far, that we’ve ever seen at a market in Thailand.
Both markets are major nightlife destinations with dozens of bars sporting themes to try and stand out from the pack. Thai hipsters serve cheap cocktails at VW bus bars as twenty-somethings listen to hip-hop, metal, reggae and country on terraces at the larger pubs. Especially at the Ratchada location, the music from different bars often clashes together in a slightly unnerving cacophony. Live bands and DJs pop up all over the place, especially on weekends.
So which Train Market should you hit? The food sections are comparable and we like Talad Rot Fai Ratchada’s compact size and location next to the MRT—it will hit the spot if you simply want to do some casual shopping, eating and drinking. But if you’re up for the longer trip, Talad Rot Fai Srinakarin has a much larger selection of antiques, vintage clothes, bars and just about everything else.
Though neither market is extremely touristy, the Ratchada location draws more foreigners, including quite a few Chinese travellers—go for the Srinakarin location for more of a local vibe. Most vendors speak some English at both and we’ve found many of them to be notably friendly. This comes as no surprise at a pair of markets that encourage everyone to relish life.
Talad Rot Fai Srinakarin is open Thu-Sun 18:00-01:00; Talad Rot Fai Ratchada has the same hours but is open Tue-Sun.
To reach Talad Rot Fai Ratchada, take the MRT Blue Line to Thailand Cultural Centre Station, leave through exit 3 and follow the orange signs leading to the market, which is located behind Esplanade shopping centre.
To reach Talad Rot Fai Srinakarin, take the BTS Sukhumvit Line to Udom Suk Station, leave through exit 3 and take a taxi or motorbike taxi for 70 to 100 baht to the market, which is located six km east of Sukhumvit Road at Srinakarin (also spelt Srinagarindra) Soi 51, behind Seacon Square shopping centre.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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