One afternoon we went to a place called JJ Market. JJ Market is hard to describe. It probably had its origins as an open air market but has become more permanent and more of a fixture as the years go by. I’ve been dragged through many a market in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China and have become pretty jaded about these things but JJ Market was unique in its layout, scope and sheer variety of things. Most markets in Asia I’ve been to have maybe 10-15 different “sets” of inventory and no matter where you go they all carry the same sets. This was different and quite enjoyable for an outing.

 

Tomtom tweedel Tweedel is a good friend with significant experience in China and has self-published several interesting volumes of his travels in China complete with many great images and informative narrative.  Last year he visited Thailand for the first time and I had a great time showing him around the area. Somehow he found time to put together a like 340 page book of his travels around Thailand and you can get your copy here! I've got a copy of this book and I can tell you it's well worth it, especially for first time travellers or if you haven't seen more of Thailand than downtown Bangkok.

When Tom agreed to become part of our small select product review team I was both excited and grateful.  I hope you enjoy this and future reviews by Tom.  For those whose plans include extended travel in Thailand and China I’d recommend contacting Tom and inquiring into obtaining copies of his books.  Tom Tweedel is an Austin, TX based photographer and can be reached at: tomsds@austin.rr.com 

 

JJ Market

One afternoon we went to a place called JJ Market. JJ Market is hard to describe. It probably had its origins as an open air market but has become more permanent and more of a fixture as the years go by. I’ve been dragged through many a market in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China and have become pretty jaded about these things but JJ Market was unique in its layout, scope and sheer variety of things. Most markets in Asia I’ve been to have maybe 10-15 different “sets” of inventory and no matter where you go they all carry the same sets. This was different and quite enjoyable for an outing.

 

Chatuchuk Market Bangkok Thailand

 

The Market can loosely be categorized as follows:

  • Open air Stores – Mobile carts and guys on the street.
  • Semi-Permanent Stores. Kind of like a booth or kiosk in the mall. Usually covered with an umbrella.
  • Permanent Stores – Sort of still open air but they have a permanent structure built for their store and a solid roof over it. They tend to be clumped together so tight that you would think they are really just installations in a larger room. But if you look up you can often see cracks or gaps in the sections of the roof.

 

In addition to the scope of it all one of the most amazing things about JJ market was the diversity of what was there. While many stores carried similar things (like T-shirts) very few stores carried identical things (like the same T-shirt). Each store had a different inventory and different selection. This was in contrast to many shopping areas I had been in the past where all the stores more or less had the same stuff. When you think about this and how many stores were there it’s quite an amazing market.

 

  Children sleeping at Chatuchuk Market

Take Your Kid to Work Day

A recurring thing that I noticed was that on the weekends the children were in the shop with their parents. Often they would be studying or doing other schoolwork. Some of the older one were given tasks such as stocking or cleanup.

 

 

Oriental Ornamental, JJ Market Bangkok

Oriental Ornamental

There were quite a few shops which sold decorative oriental things. Buddha’s, heads, statues, mini temples and such. It was probably among the most exotic looking merchandise in the market.

 

 

Food section of Chatuchuk Market, JJ Market Bangkok

Food Section

There were several food sections in the market. This one was loud, packed and full of energy. Finding a place to sit was a challenge.

 

 

Exotic Insects at Chatuchuk Market Bangkok

Exotic Insects

Several shops around the city sold exotic mounted insects to hang on the wall.

 

 

Close to what would be the center of the Market the clock tower was the biggest, closest most obvious landmark

The Clock Tower

Close to what would be the center of the Market the clock tower was the biggest, closest most obvious landmark. And unless you were very near it you had no chance of seeing it under the canopy of umbrellas and awnings.

 

Shoes for sale at Chatuchuk Market, JJ Market Bangkok

Shoes Anyone?

This store had a LOT of shoes for sale, as did the 3 stores next to it.

 

 

Thailand had some interesting mannequins. A bit different from the look you get here

Interesting Mannequins

Thailand had some interesting mannequins. A bit different from the look you get here. Many where white (not tan) and some had an almost evil smile to them. These two were showing the latest in children’s military chic clothing.

 

 

Lots of beads for sale at Chatuchuk Market Bangkok

Beads!

This store sold no end of roped beads. A string of beads was something like 10 Bhatt (33 cents).

 

 

JJ Market Cat

One SERIOUSLY Mellow Cat

We spent a lot of time at this one jewelry store. They had a couple of cats including one that was VERY mellow. He was just hanging out while hundreds of people were walking back and forth all the time, music blaring and shoppers stepping just a few feet from him. He was so mellow in fact it was a challenge to keep him awake to pet him. He kept going back to sleep. He was a pretty cat, interesting black and white striped pattern I hadn’t seen before.

 

 

Parts of JJ market were sectional, that is they had a number of similar stores group together. The Animal section was one of them.

The Animal Section

Parts of JJ market were sectional, that is they had a number of similar stores group together. The Animal section was one of them. By the number of stores stocking the “merchandise” it would seems that dogs were the most popular animal for sale. Especially fluffy tan ones. Birds had a close second. Most of them were the small parrot like screeching variety.

 

 

Illegal wildlife at Chatuchuk Market, JJ Market, Bangkok Thailand

Little Squirrels for Sale

 The vendor was not pleased when I took their picture..

 

 

Lighted balls at JJ Market?

Cool Lighted Balls

Never saw these in America. Pretty cool. If you thought about buying larger things at the market there were plenty of advertisements that they could be shipped via DHL.

 

 

Decorative fish at Chatuchuk Market Bangkok

Fish

In another section of the Market there was a brisk trade in decorative (as opposed to edible) fish. They had fish of all kinds and they were generally priced by breed and size.

 

 

Glass statues at Chatuchuk Market Bangkok, JJ Market

Glass Statues

This store had a neat display of little glass statues. I made sure to get the “no pictures” sign in my picture. Some stores were funny that way, they didn’t want pictures taken of their stuff.

 

 

As the sun went down the lights came on and gave the market a new atmosphere.

Evening Falls

We shopped throughout the afternoon and into the evening. As the sun went down the lights came on and gave the market a new atmosphere. It seemed more accessible as your focus was more directed at what was around you. Yet more infinite in some way because you could no longer see to the end of the row.

 

 

There are many altars in Thailand and JJ Market wouldn’t have been complete without one of its own.

The Market Altar

There are many altars in Thailand and JJ Market wouldn’t have been complete without one of its own.

 

 

JJ Market, Chatuchuk Market Bangkok Thailand

Closing Time

After dark a lot of the stores started to close up for the evening. Many of the vendors packed up there stuff and left. For the more permanent installations there were these rolling shutters. . Many of the vendors packed up there stand left. For the more permanent installations there were these rolling shutters.