Khlong Toey (or Klong Toei or whichever you spell it) fresh market is one of my top recommendations when it comes to Bangkok sights. You may not be used to the rawness of this place, for it is not built for tourists.
The frenzied pace and unsparing display of animal parts in the hectic wet market can be shocking and disconcerting for all of your senses. And that is exactly why it attracts me. This is a place of pure Thai authenticity.
Khlong Toey market is the biggest fresh market in Bangkok and appears quite regularly on Bangkok sights recommendations. But in reality, the critical acclaim doesn’t seem to translate to high tourist attendance.
Situated near to the cultural and expat enclave of Sukhumvit, the market is worlds apart from the urban glitz and glamor of the popular district. Some sections of the market are dedicated to raw meat and livestock, and the bloody redness can be overwhelming and even offensive to some.
But this is what makes it such an appealing place -for me.
These sections are certainly no place for the squeamish or vegans. However, you will also find areas dedicated to aromatic fruits, colorful flowers, plenty of local produce, clothes, shoes and all kinds of knick knacks.
You are welcome to walk around and take some photos so long as you do not get in their way. Almost everyone I met was really friendly or shy, with no hint of hostility. If you are game enough, there are also food stalls serving all kinds of local street foods. Yummy.
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Nothing defines Thailand (or Asia) better than the lively markets and no trip to Bangkok should end without a market visit. You might want to leave your best shoes in the hotel because there are pockets of puddles all over the market.
Due to the large crowds at peak hours, there might also be dodgy figures so do take care of your valuables. Other than that, go with an open mind and this could end up a positive highlight of the trip.
It’s seldom so much the grand palaces, ancient ruins, museums or massive shopping malls. When it comes to travel, It is always the part about meeting the locals and experiencing the local way of life.
The language barrier, the coy smiles, the unexpected friendliness, the hospitality, the kindness of strangers and the energy of unpredictable events. The stark contrast from our busy daily urban lives.
Opening Hours: 0600 to 0200 (6:00am to 2:00am)
How to get there
The best way to get there is via the MRT subway and alight at either Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre or Khlong Toei station. From either station, it’s about 10 minutes walk or a quick ride on a motorbike taxi.
P.S. I stumbled upon the market after visiting Super Export Shop for Muay Thai gear shopping (see article: “Where to Buy Muay Thai Gear in Bangkok”) and while making my way to Yokkao Training Center (see article: “Gym Review: Yokkao Training Center Bangkok”). Both locations are in close proximity just minutes away by bike, so you can plan to visit all three places in the same day.