Last night I took myself to one of Bangkok’s newest night markets, Asiatique. Located directly on the Chao Praya River and housed in grand old warehouses, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. Here’s why.
The easiest way to get to Asiatique is to ride the BTS train to Saphan Thaksin and then take the complimentary boat shuttle. We decided to visit late afternoon and beat the crowds. Before we’d even arrived at Asiatique, a lovely river boat ride with a stunning sunset as backdrop had set the mood for a pleasant evening.
Pulling up to Asiatique my partner became overly excited about the massive Ferris wheel (sigh….) whilst I was more impressed with the old teak boardwalk, renovated brick warehouses and al fresco restaurants facing the river.
We wandered aimlessly through the large complex, ducking into boutiques and exploring the markets. There are over 1,500 retail outlets at Asiatique! You’ll find a great range of Thai handicrafts, textiles, clothing and underwear, spa products, jewellery, soft furnishings, hats, bags and leather goods. Whilst the prices are not quite as low as Chatuchak weekend market, if you’re a haggler you’ll be able to strike some good deals. I managed to find some great gifts for friends and families as well as pick up all of my favorite designer underwear at bargain prices (although I have my doubts as to their authenticity…).
Dotted throughout the entire complex are sculptures and outdoor art, a nice touch and makes for some good photo opportunities. There are also several great pubs and bars. Thankfully we discovered Brew, with its large selection of craft beers, without which I never would have made it through the last few warehouses of shops my partner so desperately needed to see.
Like most markets in Thailand (in fact, like most places in Thailand), there is food everywhere. From small stalls to large restaurants, you’ll find everything your stomach desires. We saw many locals eating seafood at Chic Grill (a good sign the food is delicious and good value) in Warehouse 6 so stopped for some delicious crispy squid.
For dinner, we decided on romantic river views (and awesome people watching!) and enjoyed a seafood feast at Ko Dang Talay in Warehouse 7. I’d also recommend Baan Kanitha for upscale Thai food edited to Western tastes.
With our stomachs stuffed, we stumbled into a massage shop and relaxed with an hours foot massage before enjoying another boat ride home. What a fantastic night out.
We’ll definitely return to Asiatique. Next time we might even catch a show. There’s a few to choose from including the gorgeous lip synching ladyboys at the famous Calypso cabaret , traditional Thai puppetry at the Joe Louise Puppet Theatre and handsome muscular men in loin cloths at The Legend Lives , tracing the development of Muay Thai boxing through the ages (from the director of the award winning Beautiful Boxer, a movie about a Thai boxing champion who is a transsexual). I know which show I’ll be seeing, how about you?
There are plans to open a second Asiatique connected by cable cars across the river. Bring it on, I say. And if you’re wondering whether my partner convinced me to ride that big Ferris wheel, how could I resist.