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Textiles, trains and markets so splendid.

Chatuchak market is a very popular weekend market in the Northern Bangkok. It is also known as Jatujak or J.J. by locals. Spread over about 27 sections with more than 8000 stalls, this weekend market is a best place to get some unique items at very good prices in Bangkok.

Once only popular among wholesalers and traders, Chatuchak Weekend Market has reached a landmark status as a must-visit place for tourists. Its sheer size and diverse collections of merchandise will bring any seasoned shoppers to their knees – this is where you can literally shop ‘till you drop’. Keith and I have been visiting there for many years, but it takes a little stamina and an understanding of the soul of the market.  It’s impossible to impart that knowledge to our participants in such a short time, so we tip toe around the edges and just share the most important parts. The textiles. That is what our tour is designed to be, a Textile Tour.

Though some designers have moved to the air-con confines of the huge shopping malls. JJ remains a cornerstone of Bangkok’s fashion scene. Far from the pretentious boutiques of New York and Paris, many of JJ’s stalls are staffed by the designers themselves, and items rarely cost over 500 baht.  Our goal was for the ladies to purchase some of the ‘different’ garments made to fit our ‘larger than Thai’ bodies.

We arrived there early in the morning after catching our trusty ferry and the BTR to our destination.

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Last minute instructions on where we were going shown on the BTR map. What to do if you get lost!

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This is a line up of taxis just outside the marker viewed from the overhead bridge entrance.

Bangkok Taxi’s are designed in an array of colors which pleases this gal I can assure you. With a few others Keith and I did a walk around to find the designers.  Of course there were wonderful things to tempt us to stop and sample on the way.

Thai coconut ice cream served in a fresh coconut shell and the soft belly of the young coconut.

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  • 7 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt.

Directions

Combine coconut milk, sugar, and salt in medium saucepan and bring to gentle boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until sugar dissolves and mixture is smooth (1-2 mins.). Transfer to bowl, cool to room temp, and then cover and chill until very cold. Transfer to bowl of ice-cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Serve at once, or transfer to airtight container and freeze for up to 2 weeks.

We wandered down small alleys and pathways and finally found one of the designers. These clothes are made for the Japanese Market and are exported all over the world. Made from cotton  the Jackets and shirts challenge our normal western minds and our ladies were thrilled to be able to buys something completely different to anything you would find in the USA or Australia.

The average price was around $10 US. So I have 6 new tops and a few more scarves to add to wardrobe.

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It’s terribly hot in the small congested alleys, but nothing stops a quilter when looking at Textiles.

Keith, bless him, looked after the baggage and plied us with drinks.

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The stores are located randomly although they follow some guidlines under the name ‘textiles.

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Some waited patiently for their turn or just for their peers.

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The array of food it tantalising and cheap in price but not in taste.

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I’ve worn scarves like this for years, all bought at the market for a dollar or a little more.

Suddenly the rains came down with force. It was torrential and keeping track of 19 people was challenging. We all ended up absolutely soaked to the skin despite our of our brollies.

The water poured off awnings and umbrellas and then began to rise from the ground so we splashed  our way back to the train station.

We held an impromptu show and tell at the boat station to the amusements of the passers by. However, they are unaware of our passion for fabric, bargains,  jewelry  and clothes.

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It was an exhausting affair, but we did it.

It was a short turn around for some as we were whisked off in a private van to the tailors to make up the silk we purchased the previous day. Greeted with coffee, beer, soft drink or whisky it was a most interesting combination of creativity, culture and cash.

IMG_1155With the help of the tailors we designed on the spot. Photos were taken with the staff and  now our fabric is in the hands of others who are weaving their magic and going to make us beautiful garments.P1110324

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Dinner was another outstanding meal at the ‘Never Ending summer’ Restaurant. right by our hotel.

Starchitect Duangrit Bunnag took over an old warehouse across the river and, with only minimal changes to the original structure, turned it into something special .

Considering our theme is the lotus we  enjoyed the stir-fried lotus stems with shrimp paste and minced pork, then a variety of dishes, each one as good as the other.

I was exhausted and I had eaten far too much. It was a chat with son Josh on the internet, shower and bed ready for an early start tomorrow.

4 Comments

  1. Suzanne says

    My son has been in Thailand for a few years now teaching English. We will be traveling to Thailand next fall to attend his wedding. I am dreading the trip here from New York to Bangkok but excited to experience a new culture And excited to collect some beautiful textiles. He loves Thailand and will probably never move back to the United States. Love your drawings and stories….I actually have done the alphabet twice now and I think your rhino is amazing!

    Like

  2. Once again Pam thanks for a wonderful day with you by cyber. I spend my breakfast and coffee enjoying your day through your camera eye, what colour you see every where. Great photo of all the taxis how cheerful they look. Cheers Glenda

    Like

  3. Peggy Baker says

    Enjoy your writings and I do recognize some of the people on this tour from a previous trip. Enjoy… Hi to Keith

    Like

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