Life would be much easier if everyone just did what I say. Because I am the expert of everything forever! So when I heard the cool, fun Ratchada Market was being cleared against my innermost wishes and desires to make way for another iteration of the “Night Bazaar” (TM) — where Thai people smile Siamese smiles and coconut shell figurines can be had for a handful of coins — I was crushed. (By the way, that’s true, isn’t it? Because I haven’t checked, since everything that everyone says is always true, all the time! Santa Claus lives! All you need is love! Thailand is a democracy!) Update: The Ratchada Market exists! A couple of blocks down. At least, that’s what I heard!
I first heard about the Train Market (“Thalad Rot Fai” to those of us, uh, In The Know) from a guy from freaking New York who said, “Have you ever heard of the Train Market?” Because I am known for my witty repartee, I said: “Huh?” But it turns out the Train Market well and truly exists, on Saturday and Sunday nights from 8pm-1am, across from the Chatuchak Market (MRT: Kampheng Phet), and has existed since late last year. Kudos to me for discovering it last week!
The Train Market sells everything you expect to see at the Ratchada Market — sneakers, skinny hipster tees that only fit Japanese people, retro tchotchkes that would never look good anywhere — and then some: retro furniture that would never look good anywhere, and lots and lots and lots of alcohol. Lots. This appears to be the main point of the Train Market. You cannot go for long without bumping into a gaggle of people behind a table made out of an antique door, downing slushies smelling of fruit and gasoline. One of these places is called “I’ Tui Indy” which perfectly encapsulates all the values of the Train Market: irreverent rudeness and an independent spirit. Plus, their drinks are the strongest of the entire market, hints of moonshine with the special aftertaste of drain cleaner. This is truly a special place.
You can characterize the Train Market as sort of L-shaped, with one side more devoted to actual buying (but both sides widely featuring alcohol). People who probably hold down office jobs during the week (I haven’t checked, but that’s what I heard!) spread their wares on the ground on a blanket, or if they are more serious, in little makeshift booths, and you are supposed to haggle (I, uh, forgot). If you look closely, you can come across little gems that will “pull the room together”, but I am not gifted at looking, or closeness. I did, however, come across some wildly inapprioriate t-shirts for babies, one of which I will share with you here:
Given that everyone at the Train Market is cool, young and good-looking, you are probably asking yourself, “What is Bangkok Glutton doing there?” I could very well ask myself the same question, especially after getting hungry (walking and looking is hard work), because, as everyone knows, cool, young and good-looking people don’t really eat (again, that’s what I heard!) So noshing options are limited, unless you are planning a “liquid dinner”. One bright spot is an aharn tham sung (made-to-order) stall called Raan Khao Khong at the far end of the “L”, with an especially pretty young cook whose picture I failed to get here:
Aside from that, there is the inevitable coconut drink:
And the hard-to-mess-up crispy pork:
What more could you ask for, really? At least, out of all the things that you’ve heard of.