Bangkok is one of the best cities for shopping. There are several shopping malls and markets all over the town. Two most well-known markets in Bangkok are Chatuchak Weekend Market and Pratunam Market. If you do not have enough time to visit both markets and want to visit the best one, this post might help you.
Well, I have to tell you first that this is about personal preference. So, I do not have the concrete answer, but I can tell you the similarity and difference of these two markets. Then you decide. And here is my comparison of the two markets.
Both Chatuchak and Pratunam are outdoor markets. And you should know that Bangkok is hot all year long. So, wear light clothes to keep cool and prepare drinking water with you. If you want to shop at these two markets, it would be better to start your day early.
Chatuchak is much bigger than Pratunam. Chatuchak is the biggest outdoor market in Thailand consisting of 15,000 stalls and I believe that you cannot see the whole market within one day, while Pratunam is not so big and you can walk around the market within 2-3 hours.
Chatuchak sells almost everything you want. You can expect to see clothing, shoes, handbags, accessories, books, ceramics, plants, home decoration items, gift shops, pets, arts, foods, and so on. The market is divided into sections and sois. Believe me that you need a map to wander in the market and the map is available at the information kiosks.
Pratunam is well-known for fashion clothing and accessories. If you intend to buy only fashion items, this market is for you.
Both Chatuchak and Pratunam markets accept bargaining. And usually you will get a discount, if you buy more.
Chatuchak is a weekend market. It is fully open on weekends. Only some sections are open on weekdays. If you want to go there for a unique experience, only Saturdays and Sundays are highly recommended.
Pratunam is open daily from 05.00-21.00. If you want to buy wholesale, morning market (05.00-09.00) is recommended.
Chatuchak can be reached by both BTS Skytrain and MRT Subway, while going to Pratunam is more difficult. The closet BTS Skytrain to Pratunam Market is Chidlom station or Ratchathewi station. Then, from the station, to reach the market, you have to walk for 15-20 minutes or take a metered-taxi.
Update: May 2017 Lucky us, recently we have a new skywalk connecting between Chidlom BTS Station and Platinum Mall. So it is very convenient to walk from BTS Chidlom to Pratunum Market. First you have to walk to Platinum Mall (You might follow my guide here). Then walk through Platinum Mall to Pratunam Market.
You can read my review of Chatuchak Weekend Market here and Pratunam Market here.