Khlong Thom Market used to be known as the “Thieves Market”, because you could quite simply find anything you wanted there. It is also referred to as the ‘Flashlight Market' due to browsers needing a torch to see the goods on offer at night.
I can't believe I'd been in Bangkok so long and had never been to Klong Thom market. I didn't know it existed and, had it not been for embarking on an epic search with my brother in China Town for a vinyl record store named Broadway Records, I might never have stumbled across it.
It would seem I am not the only one in the dark either: I didn't spot one foreigner in the packed out market, which seemed to go on forever with just about everything you can imagine on sale.
The Klong Thom market, and area in general, is a secondhand goods and assorted knick-knack lover's paradise, with everything from DVDs and CDs, electronic devices, spare car parts and vintage/retro toys on offer.
If it's old gaming consoles, antiques, second hand odds and sods, and Asian sexy movies (I will get to that later) you're after, then Klong Thom market is the place to check out.
As the Evening Draws in the Night Sellers Appear
To digress a tad, China Town is the place for second-hand goods and antiques. Once it hits around 4pm, you'll see sellers start to line the main road with make-shift stalls. Some people are selling small private collections of bits and bobs and others more serious collections of antique watches.
There's a ton of junk too. In fact, a browse through a charity shop in the UK would yield much o the same for a fraction of the price.
It's quite a spectacle though, and very much a tradition in this area.
A main feature is Thai amulets, which you should be very careful in buying as you may end up being scammed. This is a collector's industry that requires a lot of knowledge.
As you make your way down to the Klong Thom market the concentration of sellers gets more dense.
We were quite overwhelmed by the market as it was packed with vintage stuff and really interesting. My brother picked up a handheld game for 500 Baht that sells for at least quadruple on eBay. And there was a classic Donkey Kong handheld game I had my eye on but unfortunately the screen was damaged at the top.
We were both scrambling for our phones trying to check prices on eBay vs. the market. I am pretty sure some of the consoles were re-issues, as a couple of schools had piles of Nintendo 32's and there's no way there could be that many around, surely?
My brother also got his hands on some vinyl, eventually, walking away with some bargain picture sleeves at 100 Baht each. Make sure you check for scratches before you buy. If you are looking to buy old gear, do what I did and take your smartphone/tablet. This will enable you to check resale prices on the hop.
Popular for Niche Naughty Movies
The market is a place for niche porn videos too, so be careful to monitor the kids around DVD stalls. It is generally Asian porn of the Japanese, Chinese and Korean variety and geared towards Thai and other Asian males.
I wasn't looking of course, at least not when the wife was looking at me, ha!
It was pretty funny watching the bees swarm the nest, though. There was a boy's club mentality around the stalls, as if they met up once a week to get their fill.
But don't let this put you off. These stalls are very few when compared with the amount of clothes, household goods, tools, electronics and other stalls lining the tightly packed streets. From 50 Baht sunglasses to mosquito nets and stationary, it is all here, and best of all, at “Thai price!”
While I've found some threads about Klong Thom market on the web, it would seem most foreigners/tourists are yet to discover this gem of a place.
How to Get to Klong Thom Market
Klong Thom Market is located on the corner of Worachak Road and Chao Kamrop Road.
It is only open on weekends, and starts on Saturday at 5pm, and finishes at approximately 5pm on Sunday. Yes, it doesn't sleep that night!
If you can't make the weekend and go to China Town on a weekday, you will still see the small antique and second hand sellers lining the main street in the late afternoon.
It's near China Town so the nearest MRT station is Hua Lampong, although it's a fair walk from the station so you might be better saving your legs for trawling the market by catching a bike or cab.
To avoid the crowds, go early Sunday morning from 8:00 until 11:00. Wear comfortable clothes and sensible shoes as it gets pretty crowded and hot. Take a couple of bottles of water, too. Although as you'd expect there are a couple of 7-11s around.
A last tip, for car accessories and toys, check out the Khlong Thom Centre (close to Worachak Road). A lot of the stalls have moved in here since a local authority clampdown on the market.
Looking for other markets in Bangkok? Check out this list of 12.
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