For the jaded tourist, Rod Fai Market Ratchada may seem like Thailand’s hipster central, from its barbershops and their manufactured vintage facade to pubs teeming with countless yuppies.
Sure, the young crowd may not be the most ideal for a cynical thirty-something. Yet Rod Fai’s effervescent nightlife is prescribed for people looking to blow off some steam after a soul-crushing commute or day at work. The high energy is guaranteed to rub off on someone who needs a change of environment.
Rod Fai Market Ratchada is a night market beside Esplanade Shopping Mall, which is along Ratchadaphisek Road. Bazaar merchants set up every Thursday to Sunday, with shopping hours running from 5:00 pm until midnight.
The market, which is smaller than the original one along Srinagarindra, is divided into three sections like its larger counterpart: the market zone, warehouse zone, and antiques—though it could be hard to tell where you are as you get lost in the labyrinth of stalls. The entire complex’s floor area resembles a square, however, making it fairly easy to find your way in and out.
To the far left of the market are the brick-and-mortar stores where you can buy vintage home furnishings, liquor, or grab a beer or cocktail. They face the corner of the bazaar, where shoppers can hoard used and new clothing. With rock bottom prices, tourists are sure to shop ‘til they drop.
The centermost part of the market houses the food stalls, where one can go nuts at grilled seafood, Asian delicacies and exotic fare. Craving for noodle soups, pad thai, ramen? The stalls probably have it. Meat skewers are commonly served at the makeshift eateries, and expect to come out of the alleys smelling a little bit of smoke.
With literally over a thousand stalls, it’s normal for tourists to feel a little wobbly. Refuel and have a seat at one of the gastro pubs at the southern part of the market. The most photographed one associated to Rod Fai is hard to ignore, and have nightly performances with a stage set-up out front.
Grab a beer or order a whole bottle for sharing. Cover bands perform the latest chart-toppers, but if you’re a bit selective, other bars could otherwise meet your musical preference. If you’re into punk rock, metal, or hardcore, one of the bars along the market entrance are more suitable destinations.
Like many other places in Bangkok, Rod Fai Market Ratchada is a great place for people watching. Bangkok dwellers are a fashionable set, and they do love to dress up in the latest trends, or at least look put together.
On the whole, the best thing about Rod Fai Market Ratchada is its genuineness; it’s not a high maintenance destination, where you can simply have a great time.