Rod Fai Market Ratchada
Tucked away behind the Esplanade shopping complex is the Rod Fai Market Ratchada, or the “Ratchada Train Market”, one the most colorful and lively night venues of its kind in Bangkok.
The original Rod Fai Market was located in Chatuchak area where old warehouse spaces owned by the State Railway of Thailand was rented out to Pairod Roikaew, a street vendor-turned-millionaire, to create a vintage night market selling antiques and second-hand goods. The market was a huge success being right next to the Chatuchak Weekend Market but was forced to relocate in 2013 to make way for a new BTS Station.
The market moved to Srinakarin (Srinagarindra), but held on to its name “Rod Fai Market”, and later opened a second branch in Ratchada in 2015. Previously a car parking space, the space has been converted into a market where people can shop, eat, drink, and hang out after work.
The market is divided into three main sections: the food zone nearer to Esplanade, the shops zone in the center, and the chillout zone in the back and on the sides with bars and hangout venues. Climb up to the second or third floors of the adjacent car parking areas to get a better view of the market layout and take some great pictures of the massed ranks of colorful and brightly illuminated tent roofs below.
In the food zone, there is an incredible selection of national and international cuisines from traditional Thai dishes such as fresh seafood, som tam, boat noodles, and scrumptious local desserts, to yakitori, sushi and the ubiquitous pizzas and pastas. Look out for the sweet potato balls and laeng saeb spicy pork rib soup as these are must-try food items. Halal food stalls are also in abundance here.
Past the food zone, shoppers are greeted with an instant banquet for the senses with rows of multi-hued stalls selling a vast range of goods: from gadgets, books, furniture, accessories and souvenirs, handbags, to the latest fashion accessories, antiques, and second-hand items. There are hundreds of stalls here, so be prepared to shop until you drop.
There are live bands and music from several of the many quaint and quirky pubs which surround the market, all creating a great vibe which is not replicated anywhere else. You can enjoy cocktails, smoothies and other drinks here.
Access is easy via the nearby Thailand Cultural Centre MRT underground station, take the number three exit, turn left when going down the stairs, walk for about a minute, you will see the Esplanade shopping complex, go down the adjoining soi and there it is. You can also cut through Esplanade itself to enter the market. Parking spaces are available at Esplanade.
Open daily from about 5 pm to 1 am and the Rod Fai Market has earned a deserved reputation as one of the hippest evening locations in the capital. If possible, it is best to go early to avoid the crush. The market gets really busy when the office workers arrive around 7 pm after working hours.
At Rod Fai Market Ratchada, the spirit of city life is well and truly displayed in this cool, atmospheric and exciting venue – a welcome antidote for Bangkok’s urban dwellers!