Chatuchak or Jatujak จตุจักร weekend market in Bangkok is the largest market in Thailand. Frequently called J.J., it covers over 35 acres (1.13 km²) and contains upwards of 5,000 stalls. It is estimated that the market receives between 200,000 visitors each day. Most stalls only open on Saturdays and Sundays. The market offers a wide variety of products including household items, clothing, Thai handicrafts, religious artifacts, collectibles, foods, and live animals.
Chatuchak Market owes its origin to Field Marshal Plaek Phibulsongkram, the late prime minister of Thailand (1938-1944, 1948-1957), who came up with the idea of setting up a flea market in every town. As a result, the first flea market in Bangkok was held at Sanam Luang and was called Sanam Luang flea Market. However, there was time when the place was needed for other special functions and the flea market was then relocated to Saranrom Palace and settled there for 8 years. After that, it was moved again to Sanam Chai. But because of the limited space, it had to be moved back to Sanam Luang. In the same year, the government issued a policy to turn Sanam Luang into a public park for citizens of Bangkok and to be the venue to celebrate 200-year-anniversary of Bangkok, which would be held in 1982. Thus, it was decided that the flea market would be held at the Phahonyothin area from then on and it is later called Chatuchak Market after the nearby park under the same name.
In recent years the market has gained considerable notice among conservationists and the World Wildlife Fund; Chatuchak has become a notorious hub for trafficking illegal and endangered species. This activity was covered on CNN's "Planet in Peril" series. Despite publicity, Thai law is rarely able to pursue a course of action in preventing the illegal trade.
Chatuchak market is adjacent to the Kamphaengphet station of the MRT Bangkok Metro Blue Line, or about a 5-minute walk from the Mo Chit station of the BTS Skytrain Sukhumvit Line and another MRT station of Suan Chatuchak (Chatuchak Park).
In June 2008 the Chatuchak Market authorities introduced a complete smoking ban for the whole market, with a fine of 2,000 baht for offenders.
One of the many narrow soi's in the market
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