Open-air markets in Bangkok
Bangkok literally has hundreds and hundreds of small markets, called Talats. Each neighborhood many times has a market where vendors sell anything from food and fruit to DVD’s and clothes. They are a great place for bargains and for finding fresh food and fruit. Ask your landlord or neighbors for the location and times of the one in your area. One thing to be aware of when buying food in Thailand, is that a lot of the food in Thailand is produced using large amounts of pesticides and other toxic ingredients, so if you want to avoid that, you should go to an organic market.
Thai markets are always busiest in the morning when vendors first arrive or in the evening when families buy fresh food for the evenings meal. Bargaining is not really common, unlike in tourist districts, but you can get discounts on larger purchases.
There are three major fresh produce markets in Bangkok, all of which have organic produce, but you will have to ask the local vendors to be sure:
Bonne Marche, Prachaniwet 1 Road, Near Chatuchak Park
This is the essential farmers and fresh produce market to visit in Bangkok. It’s owned by the Royal family and has quite an elitist reputation, but is truly welcoming towards all. It is an upscale market that sells all kinds of different items and is a bit more expensive, so it appeals more to those who don’t mind paying for quality. Any food product you can think of can be bought here, from fruit and vegetables to bread, pastries, nuts and Thai desserts, all sold by local farmers. Bonne Marche market is open from sunrise (6 am) until late evening (10 pm). You get here by taking a taxi from Chatuchak station.
Talat Aw Taw Kaw, Kamphaeng Phet Road
This market is another favorite in Bangkok especially for vegetables. It sells the best and freshest produce you will find anywhere in Bangkok. There are a lot of organic vegetables for sale here as well as organic meats (mainly chicken). There’s also some seafood for sale such as dried squid. You will also find every kind of Thai fruit, juice or dessert. The quality is top notch and you will have to pay for that, sometimes up to 3 times as much as a local market, but it’s still relatively inexpensive considering the quality of the produce. This is the place the top restaurants in Bangkok send their chefs to buy, so you can console yourself with the fact that you are choosing from 5 star produce. You get here easiest by taking the Skytrain to BTS Kamphaeng Phet station. Opening hours run from early morning to late evening (6 am – 9/10 pm).
Talat Sam Yan, Chulalongkorn Soi 6
Talat Sam Yan is located more centrally than the two previous markets. It’s a rather large market with a lot of different produce, but particularly seafood, and lots of it. This market has stall after stall selling fresh fish and seafood. This is the place to go to pick the famous giant prawns that are so popular in Thailand, many of which are farmed in local fish farms. You can also find good locally produced Thai coffee. The area is not that easy to find, so it’s recommended you take a taxi or go with a Thai friend. Opening hours are from early morning to late evening (6 am – 10 pm).
Talat Pak Khlong, Chak Phet Road, close to Chao Phraya river
Although not one of the major produce markets, Talak Pak Khlong is worth mentioning. It is adjacent to the Memorial Bridge and sells fresh fruit, vegetables, but most noticeably flowers. It is the main flower market in all of Bangkok and local Bangkok florists visit the market in the morning.