Sunday, June 26, 2016

Chatuchak @ Jatujak (JJ) Market, Bangkok

Day 2 (Saturday, 7 May 2016)

I woke up before 6 a.m. as in most cases during trips out of PNG, mainly I guessed because my body had still not adapted to the local time. This was not a problem as blogs that I read generally advised readers to be early at Chatuchak to avoid the crowd of people later in the morning.

I would be checking out early from Lub D hostel as I did not know when I would be back from Chatuchak later this morning. I did not want to be penalised for checking out late. At the reception desk, I asked the ladyboy at the counter whether I could store my baggage there. I was told I could and he/ she proceeded to give me instructions to tag my bags. However, his/ her instruction was not clear and when I seek clarifications from him/ her, he/ she was irritated. I thought Thais were very polite. He/ She was definitely not one of them.

I was at BTS National Stadium station by 7:20 a.m. to take the Silom Line to CEN Siam Interchange station. There were just a handful of people at this hour.

At Siam Interchange station, there were queues of people on the Sukhumvit Line waiting for the skytrain to arrive to go to Mo Chit station already. I was surprised that passengers were so orderly at Siam Interchange station, but not at other stations.

It took only about 13 minutes to reach the Skytrain station at Mo Chit. Nearby is the MRT station of Chatuchak Park (users on the MRT should alight at the station at Kamphaeng Phet, which leads directly into Chatuchak Market). I did not think that the tuk-tuk and taxi could reach Chatuchak this fast.

At Mo Chit station, take Exit 3, cross the overhead bridge and walk down the stairs, then continue walking forward, with the road on your left and Chatuchak Park on the right. In four minutes, you would reach an intersection and you would see vehicles waiting to turn left. You would see street vendors lining this soi, Kamphaeng Phet 3. You have finally reach Chatuchak Market. I did not use any of the three main entrances, but followed a group of people who walked into the Market through an alley on this soi.

Most of the shops have not opened, and many would remain closed even at 10:30 a.m. So, I did not think that it was a good idea to come to Chatuchak Market early to avoid the crowd only to see so many shops which have not opened. I would suggest to readers who intend to visit Chatuchak Market to come after 10 a.m.

At the food section, there were 15 - 30 stalls. Many of the menus have lists of dishes that were similar to Malaysian dishes such as fried rice and noodles with different ingredients, etc. I was looking for something that looked and sounded different. I finally found Chicken Noodle in black soup, something that I have never seen in Kuala Lumpur.

I entered Chatuchak Market at about 7:50 a.m. and left at 11:56 a.m. I did not see the pets section and I thought that it had closed. I was sure I covered every part of Chatuchak but when I checked my track on my gps on my return to PNG, I realised that I left a big chunk of Chatuchak unexplored. The total distant covered was about 5 km when I was there.

After returning from Chatuchak Market, I went to take by baggage and walked to White Lodge hostel to check in early. I did not want to lose my room there because the hostel has no obligation to keep the room for me as my name has not been registered nor has a deposit been made to White Lodge hostel yet.

This evening, I decided to go early to explore the street stalls at Rama I Rd. However, the street vendors only started to set up their stalls at about 6:00 p.m. The food had been pre-prepared and the food stall owners only warmed them up that evening. In fact, I unintentionally bought spring-rolls which were cold like those that were just brought out from a refrigerator.