The Suan Lum Night Bazaar can only be classified as a marvellous and magical night market, which I might add, is very often missed by tourists visiting Bangkok. This particular part of the city has such an intense and pulsating quality to it, if occasionally a little chaotic at times, but the vibe is energising and so very alive.
Should you be fortunate enough to stumble upon this piece of paradise, you will surely be transported into many irresistible temptations. Some will be bewitching, some are certainly spellbinding and others may leave you entirely enchanted. The market has a tremendous charismatic feel to it. Please allow me to explain.
Let me tell you that Suan Lum is a far better alternative to the somewhat sleazy night markets around Patpong that seem to attract the greater attention. If you are looking for a worthier place to do some more pleasurable night-time shopping, then this is definitely the perfect place to hang out.
The Suan Lum night market is situated right in the heart of the capital directly opposite Lumphini Park and adjacent to the Joe Louis Puppet Theatre where performances of the Ramakien are staged.
I was so lucky enough to find this place on my very first visit to the city. Now I rarely miss an opportunity to come here every time I visit Bangkok. The Bazaar and surrounding area have something for everyone and it matters not whether you wish to spend a leisurely evening out shopping, dining or being entertained.
It is with sincere regret that I have to inform you that my favourite spot in Bangkok as of 2012 has been closed for further development. I am going to miss this place terribly as I regularly returned here every time I visit the big city.
Getting to the Suan Lum Night Bazaar
Depending on just how big your group is, the best way to get to Suan Lum Night Bazaar from anywhere around the city is by taxi. Even better, if there are only two of you going, then you may want to take a ride in a Tuk Tuk. Not only are Tuk-Tuk’s a lot of fun but a ride in one of them could very easily put you in the right frame of mind for a fabulous night out on the town. Go on and give it a try.
If this should be your first time by Tuk Tuk, you are going to be in for a surprise. If you travel with more than two persons as I have done on occasions, you may even enjoy the exhilarating experience that can only be expected from such a ride. Let me leave it at that. The only down-side is the lack of air-conditioning.
Suan Lum is situated in Bangkok’s Pathum Wan District at the intersection of Rama IV and Wireless and Sathorn Roads. Although there are trains departing from the city to Lumphini Station on the Bangkok Metro Line, this could prove fairly daunting as you may not readily find your way from the station at night.
It’s more flexible to catch a cab, especially when leaving the market after all the entertainment has finally come to an end. You may want to get back to your hotel as soon as possible to relax and unpack all the fantastic gifts you bought.
Shopping at the Suan Lum Night Bazaar
The shopping area at Suan Lum Night Bazaar only begin to trade from 5:00 pm until they close rather sharply at midnight with perhaps a few shops staying open a little later should customers still be purchasing goods. The shops are more like small individual stalls neatly arranged in an organised row upon row. They appear to resemble storage garages each with roll-up steel doors. The only downfall is a lack of cool air making shopping a tad uncomfortable.
If you take the time, you will notice that every aisle is marked with a sign board indicating exactly what type of merchandise is available in each particular lane.
Vendors here sell a huge range of gift items including many superb silk creations, handicrafts and hand-made products such as fine art tapestries, paintings and sculptures, gold, silver and costume jewellery, lots of genuine and fake watches, fancy lighters, compact discs, clothing and clothing accessories including shoes, sarongs, skirts, shirts and lots of T-Shirts, many with extremely funny slogans.
Night Bazaar Attractions
Although shopping is a huge attraction at Suan Lum Night Bazaar, there are many other wonderful things to keep you amused and entertained all night long here. Impressive attractions are the enthralling, if not a wee bit bewitching, traditional puppet performances staged at Joe Louis Theatre. This opera house is within walking distance of the market. The shows start nightly from 7:30 pm.
The spectacular Hun Lakhon Lek puppet show production held at the theatre is inspired by local folk tales and the Ramakien. There are several puppeteers that move visibly around the stage manipulating expressive marionettes. Lately, there has been a new evolution to the art of puppetry in the form of Human Puppetry.
Adjacent to the theatre is a really great restaurant where you can enjoy some outstanding Thai cuisine. (See photo near top of page). I have eaten there on many occasions. In fact, I have only eaten there when at the market. The food was so good, the service excellent and the prices extremely reasonable. I highly recommend this one. There are however many other restaurants in the vicinity.
Night Bazaar Entertainment Arena
On the other side of the market, you’ll find a huge beer garden, food court and entertainment arena that has the capacity to accommodate up to 6,000 people. During humid periods, the ceiling here opens up to reveal the night sky and closes during periodic downpours.
Although there is no air-conditioning in the hall, dry-ice is pumped through a system of suspended pipes which helps to reduce the heat a little. As you may be aware it can get pretty hot in Thailand.
Special media events are sometimes held in the arena but more than that, music concerts are staged here nightly. You can eat, drink and listen to some fabulous music while watching young Thai’s singing and dancing on stage. I often sit here for hours being mesmerised by the exceptional talent these youngsters display.
Night Bazaar Beer Garden and Food Court
Food coupons are available at any one of the two entrances for purchasing a vast array of mainly local Thai eateries, and there are a couple of very friendly Dutch ladies selling whole pizzas as well as pizza slices should you prefer eating something more suitable for western tastes. Stroll around and choose whatever takes your fancy. Charming Thai ladies are also on hand to serve you both local and imported beers. Oh! and one other thing, there is no entrance fee.
Outside the entertainment area and adjacent to the bazaar’s information centre is an enormous Ferris Wheel. It’s not the world’s largest Ferris Wheel but it is the world’s largest transportable Ferris Wheel. Taking a ride on the wheel will give you a lovely view of the city. The ride itself is quite slow, so it’s perfect for all ages. A portion of the wheel is visible to the left of the photo at the top of this page.