A Unique Side of Thai Life

 A typical day at the Market

Klong Toey is a fabulous and fascinating wet market located right in the heart of Bangkok, so for those of you seeking a more adventurous path to the city, this is a great place to visit. This particular market is often overlooked as it’s not on any tourist map and it’s also not mentioned in many travel guidebooks either.

As a result, few tourists know about this market and even fewer tourists are brave enough to venture into the elaborate perplexity this immensely vibrant and bustling market tends to propagate.

Once you have the courage to overcome the all too unfamiliar and sometimes unpleasant smells permeating the air, you may even come to relish the place. It could very easily grow on you too.

Klong Toey is essentially a traditional Thai market in its entirety. This is where the locals shop for their fresh produce whether it be fish, meat, vegetables or fruit. Not only do they come here because of the freshness of its produce but also because of the relatively inexpensive prices you get for good quality food.

You might even find chefs from the most luxurious hotels in town, coming here to purchase fresh ingredients for their guest’s next meal. They regularly go to these markets because this is where they’ll find everything they need.

It’s an extremely busy market with countless stalls and shoppers. So much so that there is almost no space to amble through the quarters. You’ll need to watch your step, though.

Even though the market caters mainly to locals, tourists are more than welcome. Be prepared for the odd stare or two you get. Despite the poverty and hardship the inhabitants endure, they always seem to have the time to give you a smile and a few kind words. It’s where you’ll meet the real Thailand. It’s certainly worth a visit should you have more than just a few days in Bangkok.

Tuk Tuk Driver waiting for his Customer

At Klong Toey, there’s a good chance you’ll witness a contrasting perspective into the lifestyle in which many of Thailand’s poor live. It’s a glimpse into a distinctly diverse cultural shock, nevertheless a real one. I urge you to go sample the delights if you have the time. There are numerous simple eateries serving Thai curries and a few other local fares should you get hungry while wandering around.

No other market in Bangkok is quite as charming and charismatic as this one is. The market offers a fresh look at what’s on offer from low-priced farm fresh produce, raw meat and seafood. There are also loads of other stuff on offer including all the usual suspects such as clothing and various household goods.

The market is kinda like an old-world village set deep within the concrete jungle of Bangkok. It’s tucked away and half-hidden within a grimy city block that’s practically unnoticeable from the busy Rama IV Road where it’s located. The old city trading port of Khlong Toei is nearby as is the Chao Phraya River

It’s an all day, everyday affair with an extraordinary life of its own. The market has a pleasant and unexpected laid-back ambience with some sections extremely lively, albeit a little on the grubby side. Other than that it’s the oldest and largest slum area of Bangkok with its origins dating back fifty years, if not more.

The slum communities here are made up of some 100,000 inhabitants, of which the majority are rural migrants from Northeast Thailand. Though they came to Bangkok seeking jobs, they constantly face eviction from the authorities because of having no legal rights to the land on which they currently occupy.

Crowded Shopping Lane at the Market