Patpong Night Market
Working hours: from 18.00 to 2.00, every day
Situated in Bangkok’s central district and not far from Lumpini Park, the Patpong Quarter is one of the most famous and important districts in the capital. It is well-known not only for the incomprehensible number of varied entertainment facilities, which glitter with their neon lights from evening to dawn, but also for its night market, which is considered to be one of the most popular markets among tourists to the country. Each guest to Bangkok strives to visit it at least once, regardless of the length of his/her stay in the country, if not to actually purchase anything, then at least for some truly unforgettable impressions.
The Patpong Quarter was named after the Patpongpanich family, who originally came from China. In 1946, they bought a huge plot of uncultivated land in the former outskirts of the city and engaged themselves in its development. The street that is now called Patpong 1 was the first one to be built there, and places for market stalls and a variety of bars were rented along it. By the late 60s, the street had accumulated a great number of entertainment facilities, where American soldiers, at war in Vietnam but accommodated in Bangkok, wiled away the time. Subsequently, fairs would be held there at weekends, while the first night market was opened in the late 80s.
Patpong sleeps peacefully under the burning Thai sun during the day, with its transformation beginning only at dusk. Intricate metal structures, in which stalls with canopies are installed, are erected and electricity is routed towards the market within a few hours, in front of astonished passers-by. After the numerous traders have pulled their heavy carts, lined with bales of hay, to the venue and laid out their motley goods – Patpong Night Market starts.
It offers a huge selection of clothing and footwear, as well as watches (in particular, high-quality copies of world-famous brands), leather products - including items made from the snake and crocodile varieties - jewelry, and homeware. It is also possible to purchase authentic Thai souvenirs, ceramics, woodwork, antiques and paintings by local artists at the market.
Although Patpong officially starts trading at 7pm, it is better to go there at around 11pm, when the flow of tourists becomes considerably thinner and the traders become more malleable. This latter point is very important, considering that the prices are generally pretty high there, at least to start with. If you decide to purchase something, bargaining is an absolute must: as a rule of thumb, it is possible to beat down the price twice or even three times from its original level. Please also be aware that thieves are at work at Patpong, as they may well be at any other market. To stay on the safe side, watch your bags and trouser pockets.
Hundreds of bars and discos glitter with light, while cafés with high-quality cuisine and live music work near to the night market. Fast food restaurants from the famous western chains such as McDonalds, KFC, Subway, Starbucks, Burger King and others, also work in Patpong streets.
Getting there. Take the Skytrain to the station Sala Daeng, or the ground metro to the station Silom.