Chinatown

The Phahurat and Chinatown districts have interconnected markets selling fabrics, clothes and household wares, as well as wholesale shops for every imaginable bulk item. There are a few places selling gems and jewellery.

JOHNNY'S GEMS Map p84 Gemstones

@ o 2224 4065; 199 Th Fuang Nakhon, Chinatown; S 9.30am-6pm Mon-Sat; (0) air-con 508

A long-time favourite of Bangkok expats, Johnny's Gems is a reliable name in an unreliable business. The namesake founder has since passed away, but his son carries on the spic-and-span reputation, primarily in rubies and emeralds from fun to serious.

PHAHURAT MARKET

Map p84 Outdoor Market

Th Phahurat & Th Triphet, across from Old Siam Plaza, Phahurat; S 9am-6pm; (8) air-con 73, B Tha Saphan Phut

If it sparkles, then this market has it. Phahurat proffers boisterous Bollywood-coloured textiles, traditional Thai dance costumes, tiaras, sequins, wigs and other accessories to make you look like a cross-dresser, a maw lam (Thai country music) performer, or both. This is cloth city, and amid the colour spectacle are also good deals on machine-made Thai textiles and children's clothes.

SAMPENG LANE

Map p84 Outdoor Market

Soi Wanit 1, Th Ratchawong, Chinatown; S 8am-6pm; (8) air-con 4,49,73 & 507, ordinary 40,49, 73,85 & 159, B Tha Ratchawong

Sampeng Lane is a narrow artery running parallel to Th Yaowarat and bisecting the commercial areas of Chinatown and Phahurat. The Chinatown portion of Sampeng is lined with wholesale shops of hair accessories, pens, stickers, household wares and beeping, flashing knick-knacks. Near Th Chakrawat, gem and jewellery shops abound. Weekends are horribly crowded, and it takes a gymnast's flexibility to squeeze past the pushcarts, motorcycles and other roadblocks.

SAPHAN PHUT NIGHT BAZAAR

Map p84 Outdoor Market

Th Saphan Phut, Chinatown; S 8pm-midnight Tue-Sun; @ air-con 60,73 & 512, ordinary 5 & 8, B Tha Saphan Phut

On either side of the Memorial Bridge (Saphan Phut), this night market has bucket loads of cheap clothes, late-night snacking and a lot of people-watching. As Chatuchak Weekend Market (p140) becomes more design oriented, Saphan Phut has filled the closets of the fashion-forward, baht-challenged teenagers.

PAK KHLONG MARKET

Map p84 Plants & Flowers

Th Chakkaphet & Th Atsadang, Chinatown; S 24hr; @ air-con 60,73 & 512, ordinary 5 & 8, Ji, Tha Saphan Phut

This sprawling wholesale flower market has become a tourist attraction in its own right. The endless piles of delicate orchids, rows of roses and stacks of button carnations are a sight to be seen, and the shirtless porters wheeling blazing piles of colour set the place in motion. The best time to come is late at night, when the goods arrive from upcountry.

During the morning Pak Khlong Market is also one of the city's largest wholesale vegetable markets.

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