If you were looking for the hipster-est place in Bangkok, look no further – Talad Rot Fai is the place for you. Incomparable to any other market in the city it is a vintage collector’s heaven.
It is probably the second biggest open-air market in the Thai capital ,after Chatuchak, and most likely one of the few places in the world where you can find a Volkswagen Kombi, a Cadillac and a Vespa under the same roof ( read as sky ). Many of the vendors are collectors themselves and offer an eclectic mix of handpicked unique items from all over the world, featuring life-size Supermen, aliens and dolls, secondhand clothing from the 1940s to the 1990s, childhood memorabilia, posters, motorbikes, homeware, pins, Hitler t-shirts, dentist chairs and confession booths. While walking through the alleys it’s not impossible to get confused for a moment and believe that you are somewhere on a tour in the Old America rather than in one of the most iconic cities of SE Asia.
If you get tired of the vintage goods you can head to the contemporary clothing stalls laid out in the bazaar format or treat yourself with some authentic Thai street food. The market offers also a great choice of unusual and offbeat bars and restaurants with vintage decor and live music. It is not uncommon at all to sip your drink while sitting on abandoned cinema or train chairs, bike saddles or barrels.
And if you want more, pay a visit to one of the plenty barber shops ( but don’t ask for a classic cut, styling or color ) or get a tattoo-to-remember from one of the local ink masters. And keep in mind that you won’t be the only one who will want to take advantage of their services. Apparently this place attracts throngs of local youngsters/hipsters.
The name of the market – Talad Rot Fai – means Train market and owes its name to its former location next to the train tracks. Now it is situated behind Seacon Square – a huge shopping mall in the suburbs and the best reference for taxi drivers. The fastest way to get there is to take the sky train to Udom Suk ( on Sukhumvit line ) and grab a taxi from there for approximately 70-80 baht ( 2.5 – 3 usd ).
It is open from 17.00 to 01:00, from Thursday to Sunday. I guess the best days to go are Friday and Saturday so that you can get the full action. We went on Thursday and it was quite calm with many of the stalls and shops closed.
For more info (in Thai) visit https://www.facebook.com/taradrodfi
*Since January 2015 there is a smaller version of the market – Train Night Market Ratchada – located behind the Esplanade Shopping Mall, two minutes walking from MRT Thai Cultural Center. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, same working hours as above.