On my last weekend in Bangkok, I decided to visit the Rot Fai Market Ratchada on a whim. I was hungry and feeling uninspired by my usual alley of delicious street food. But no hard feelings, usual alley, I still love you. This weekend night market turned out to be so much more than I expected.
The Rot Fai Market Ratchada is actually the smaller of two similar Rot Fai Weekend Night Markets. At first, I worried that this meant it wasn’t very good. I worried there would be a shortage of exciting new foods and quirky shops. I’m happy to say I was wrong.
The “big sister” market, Rot Fai Market Srinakarin, is located outside of downtown. Even though it’s bigger and has more stalls, it’s about a 45-minute taxi ride to get there from the city center.
The “little sister” market, Rot Fai Market Ratchada, is super convenient to get to. It’s located right along the MRT. Even though Ratchada is the smaller of the two, it still felt huge and there were tons of people out enjoying the evening. I worried I’d regret not going to the bigger market, but this was more than enough.
Getting to the Rot Fai Market Ratchada
The Rot Fai Market Ratchada is only open Thursday through Sunday from 5:00 pm – 1:00 am. To get there, take the MRT to the Thailand Cultural Center stop and follow the crowds.
A quick tip about the MRT: when you go down into the station to buy your ticket, you will use one of the automatic ticket booths. After you select your destination and pay for the ticket, you will receive a little black token. This is your ticket. Don’t look at it and say, “what the heck is that thing?” and leave it in the machine like I did. Take it with you as you will need this to enter the MRT and exit on the other side.
When you arrive at the market, take some time to walk around and get your bearings. Don’t buy the first yummy thing you see because you will see two dozen things that look yummier as you stroll around. If you’re traveling with a friend, split everything. That way you can try more things without filling up. This was my problem. I got full after sampling only one aisle worth of stalls and it was heartbreaking.
Some must-try foods at the Rot Fai Market Ratchada:
Banana Roti – You’ll find this on every aisle and eating it is a life-changing experience. Sweet, salty, buttery, and piping hot, my best advice is to just go for it. Diet starts tomorrow, obviously.
Fruit Smoothies – I mean they serve your smoothie in a hollowed out watermelon so basically you have to try it. This is definitely one to split with a friend though. I suspect this smoothie is the culprit of the “now I’m too full to try this cute sushi” fiasco.
Little Kebabs of Veggies – Veggies aren’t common in Thai street food, so seeing little skewers of greenery made me so happy. They’re also super cheap so naturally, I scooped up as many as I could hold and ate them the way the giant lizards in my neighborhood park eat whole fish.
Coconut Milk and Pandan Jellies – Do yourself a favor. Find these jellies. Buy six and eat them on the spot. Then buy six more and take them home to eat in bed alone while smiling smugly to yourself. They aren’t a super sweet dessert, but they are quite addicting.
Thai Crepes – These tasty little crispy pancakes are everywhere. They are shaped like thin fortune cookies. Inside they are filled with a sweet meringue and a topping. Buy them in a box of ten or so and try not to eat them all in one sitting.
Barbecue – You can find classic barbecue anything all over the market, and it is marvelous. Tangy with just the right amount of spice, I actually licked my fingers after eating this. Make sure to order the small size so you have room for all the other excellent things you will eat.
Taking it all in
After you’ve stuffed yourself silly on the incredible food at the food stalls, you might want to grab a drink. Luckily, the perimeter of the Rot Fai Market Ratchada is lined with bars and sit down restaurants.
You want to get an ariel view of this market. As we all know, if you don’t get a good Instagram picture, it never happened. Pick a bar like Barstow that has a rooftop seating area. You’ll have to buy a drink to go up, but with awesome drinks like this, you’ll want to anyway!
Since I’m traveling in a backpack, shopping isn’t my thing. Still, if you’re interested in shopping, there are several rows of stalls devoted to clothing and every gadget you could ever need. There was even a stall giving real tattoos.
There are quirky elements like buses turned into bars and vintage-inspired murals to appreciate. Take some time to walk around the grounds with your camera because you will probably find something cool.
Hopefully, after exploring this vibrant place, you will have worked up an appetite so you can try some more fantastic food.
Looking for a hotel in Bangkok? Check out these great options:
- Amanta Hotel and Residence Ratchada – Less than a 10-minute walk to the Rot Fai Night Market Ratchada
- Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn– Luxurious hotel with infinity pool and direct connection to BTS Skytrain. Also located in Sathorn, one of my favorite neighborhoods of Bangkok
- Oriental Residence Bangkok– Listed as a top hotel on hotels.com and a 2018 Travelers’ Choice on TripAdvisor.
- Mad Monkey Hostel– A great budget option if you’re looking for good vibes and nightlife. 9.1/10 rating on Hostelworld.com
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