I remember a time when any preference for an older item would warrant a snooty response in Thailand. New was best, old was discarded and heritage irrelevant. How times have changed. Anything vintage is a hot commodity these days. Case in point are the Bangkok Talad Rod Fai markets. Continue reading for more details and pictures.
Originated in the area of the Chatuchak (‘JJ’) weekend market, Talad Rod Fai (‘Train market’) was named after its first location, Rod Fai Park, an area next to abandoned train tracks. When the expansion of the Skytrain with the Bang Sue station was announced, the Train Night Market needed to move.
It found a new home near Srirakarin Road, close to the Paradise Park Mall. In spite of the inconvenient access, the market remained popular, especially with middle-class locals. A second more convenient location was opened close to Ratchada Road, behind the Esplanade complex. Supposedly, there is a third location near Kaset – Nawamin Road, which I haven’t seen.
The atmosphere can best be described as a mix between rockabilly, fifties Americana and a garage sale. Apart from vintage-inspired vendors, there is a large food area that has original and delicious food items and plenty of bars featuring live music. Definitely worth the visit, especially if you love to see vintage American cars from the Fifties and Sixties.
The original location can be reached by taking the Skytrain (BTS) to On Nut and calling a taxicab, asking for Talad Rod Fai (or Seacon Square Mall if the driver is from another planet). Personally I like to take the Skytrain to Udomsuk and take a motorcycle taxi. Not for the faint-hearted, the nightly motorcy ride feels like zooming through the set of the original Bladerunner movie.
To keep with the spirit of the market, I have softly edited the pictures below to give them a mild pop-arty look. Would love to hear what you think of them, in the comment section below.
PS: this post was written and published on the highway between Korat and Bangkok, bouncing my laptop off my smartphone onto an AIS ‘One to call’ connection. Mobile internet in Thailand is great.