Bangkok’s retro markets abound with vintage charm, character and style

Markets in Thailand

Words: TBT Team
Published: July 1, 2018

Bangkok abounds with markets of all type, size and theme. There are intoxicating wet markets, invigorating weekend markets and bustling night markets. And for something different yet again, there are the city’s retro markets.

These retro markets entice locals and tourists alike with their nostalgia-invoking vintage and days-gone-by atmosphere. And by days-gone-by we mean not so far back, such as to the 1990s, as well as way, way back to the eras of famous Thai kings.

Some retro markets are located on historical sites or heritage land, and feature lovingly restored buildings and important landmark structures. They present visitors with charming and invigorating opportunities to experience Thailand from an historical or modern-day perspective looking back to the past or a scintillating blend of both. It adds another possibility to experience this fascinating metropolitan from new and existing perspectives, location-wise and in this case, time-wise. Here are some of Bangkok’s best retro markets:

Asiatique The Riverfront

Asiatique The Riverfront

Located on the Chao Phraya riverside, Asiatique The Riverfront is a pier that dates back to 1884 and the reign of King Rama V. At the time, the King’s vision was to elevate his country to a top standing in the world and so he forged relations with Denmark. This pier was built as a symbol of the beginning of international trade with Europe.

Today, Asiatique is a popular tourist attraction and shopping centre designed in a Colonial architecture style and theme, comprising four districts; the Chareonkrung District features an old-style shopping arcade with 1,000 stores, Joe Louis puppet show, Muay Thai Live and Calypso cabaret; the Town Square District is all about food, activities space, games and products debut area; the Factory District offers fashionable and design products and restaurants; and the Waterfront District is for leisurely walk around and where shows, concerts, festivals and other events are staged and also where Asiatique’s landmark ferris wheel can be found.

And then there’s the ‘seven wonders of Asiatique The Riverfront’ – the World War ll Bunker, Ancient Tram Track, The Old Sawmill, The Sawmill Crane, The Colonial Architecture, Historical Pier and Historical Waterfront Crane, all of which were discovered during the development of this area.

Open daily from 4 pm to midnight
2194 Charoen Krung Road, Wat Phraya Krai, Bang Kho Laem, Bangkok 10120

Baan Bang Khen

Baan Bang Khen

Baan Bang Khen represents the 90’s lifestyle of the Thai people, and abounds with classic, warm and heartfelt memories. Visitors here can learn about the past, take memorable photos and have fun hanging out all at the same time. There are many different zones to explore, ranging from the outdoor restaurants, memorial shop, and the Coca Cola museum to the indoor café, old market, activities court, amulets house, reading zone and educational events area. The 20 Baht entry fee to Baan Bang Khen can be redeemed for water or a beverage discount at the café.

Baan Bang Khen simulates the atmosphere, environment and character of establishments of the 1990’s beautifully, with an old gas station, old grocery store and much more. So too is there era food, snacks and desserts that just have to be tried! A café designed in minimalistic, loft style and with seating for over 250 is another attraction.

There’s wall graffiti and 90’s style architecture to take photos with, while Baan Bang Khen is also popular with students as a venue to read books or prepare for examinations. This really is a place to get lost back in 1990s Thailand!

Open daily from 9 am to 2 am the next day
104/58 Phahonyothin Road, Anusawari, Bang Khen, Bangkok 10220

ChangChui: Thailand Tomorrow

ChangChui

The owner of ChangChui is the founder of ‘Flynow’ fashion brand, and he originally planned to turn the private land on which ChangChui now sits into a new office for the company. Instead he decided upon a creative community development for all of society to enjoy. Everything at ChangChui is designed around creativity, with each store having a creative look and feel that adds to the complex’s charm and appeal.

ChangChui has 11 main buildings which are artfully decorated with recycled materials such as teak window collections, old department store mirrors, perfume bottles of popular brands, old zinc sheets and an actual aircraft that stands as the landmark in the central area of the complex.

For visitors to ChangChui there is an art gallery, theatre, cinema, co-working space, café and restaurant, design studio, an exotic garden, a vintage barber, private museum, Thailand showcase, music store, book store, teahouse, creative shop and other fashion, street food and market elements. It’s all in an 11-rai space that’s divided into two zones – the Green zone and Night zone – offering plenty to do when it comes to eating, shopping and playing.

Open Thursday to Tuesday
Green zone from 11 am to 9 pm and Night zone from 4 pm to 11 pm
462 Sirindhorn Road, Bang Phlat, Bangkok 10700

LHONG1919

Lhong1919

Lhong1919 has an interesting history of art and cultural heritage. It is situated on Huay Jung Long pier, a steamship pier on the Chao Phraya riverside and an important place in the history of Thai-Chinese people from the era of King Rama IV. Nowadays it is a tourist attraction featuring the renovated house of the Wanglee, a Thai-Chinese family who took up residence here in 1850 and which are now fifth generation.

The name Lhong comes from Huay Jung Long which means steamship pier, and the site is now known as Wanglee warehouse. Inside this 6-rai space there is a Mazu shrine – a sacred shrine of Chinese who immigrated to Thailand, an exhibition building, activities courtyard, co-working space, handmade store, a restaurant, riverside relaxation space, the pier itself and art-cultural and Thai-Chinese architecture to admire.

Lhong1919 is a great place to spend time walking around and exploring ancient Thai-Chinese arts and architecture, in a uniquely exotic environment.

Open daily from 9 am to 8 pm (on Monday only from 11 am 8 pm)
248 Chiang Mai Road, Khlong San, Khlong San, Bangkok 10600