Ratchada night market originated in an abandoned railway station in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district. Following on from the success of the famous Chatuchak weekend market, it was founded by the organisation ‘Talad Rot Fai’, which translates to ‘Train Market’. Although the original site was closed down, the company now owns three markets in Bangkok: the original Srinakarin, Kaset-Nawamin and my favourite, train night market Ratchada. In this article, we cover all the things you need to know about Bangkok's most popular market and why you should definitely visit the Ratchada night market.
Recommended in many Top Things To Do-lists, including our own top 20 things to do in Bangkok lists, you’ve probably already seen pictures of the markets and their colourful tents. Ratchada night market is our favourite branch, conveniently located in the city centre next to the Cultural Centre MRT. Catering mostly towards locals, the market is relatively cheap and you can easily have a great night out with friends while not spending too much on food and beers. You will be surprised how modern and clean this market is, especially when you compare it to other more traditional markets. Train Night Market Ratchada is divided into three large zones namely, food, shopping and bars and these three combined are the perfect ingredients for a good night out.
The famous view from above with all these colourful tents at Ratchada Night Train Market
Shopping at Ratchada night market
If you love shopping, then don’t miss Ratchada night market. As well as vintage items, you’ll find your usual Thai goods including cheap clothes and gadgets. You can even get a tattoo and a haircut here. You can find plenty of souvenirs here as well, however, we believe that Chatuchak Weekend Market offers much more, better and original options such as wood carvings, statues and art. Unless you consider power banks, phone cases and radios souvenirs, as these are widely available at Train night market Ratchada. For first-time visitors, Ratchada Night Market will be impressive and you can easily wander around for an hour or so. And with prices that cheap, there is a big chance that you buy something as well. But the regulars among us, we usually head straight to the food and drink section.
The always busy Ratchada Night Train Market with a huge amount of vendors
What to eat at Ratchada Train Market?
One of our favourite food spots in Bangkok is Ratchada train market. Why? The market has a huge section filled with a tempting array of food and restaurants. Selections range from local Thai restaurants and Thai street food to international favourites like takoyaki, tender ribs and Cajun-style seafood buckets. And the best thing is that these fairly-priced treats are clean and of decent quality. In other words, Ratchada Train Market is an excellent place for foreigners to explore typical Thai (street) food. We’ve been to Ratchada train market many times, below you can find a list of our favourite food and restaurants to try.
1. Holy Shrimp! Seafood Bucket at Holy Shrimp (399 THB)
Our absolute favourite thing to eat at Ratchada train market is the Cajun seafood bucket at Holy Shrimp restaurant. The staff will pour the bucket onto a paper tablecloth, creating a mountain of saucy seafood. You can select the level of spiciness and choose between five different sauces. We mostly go for their holy moly signature option, but beware, the highest level is really spicy! Order a bucket of seafood and don’t forget to put on your plastic gloves as it will get messy…
Note: more restaurants around Ratchada train market have started serving seafood buckets but to experience the best, be sure to visit Holy Shrimp. The restaurant is located in the far-left corner of the market, which is furthest from the entrance. For more information, such as the opening times, the exact location and other TopTravelFoods users’ opinions, check out the TopTravelFoods review page of Holy Shrimp.
Holy Shrimp (399 THB) at Ratchada Train Market
2. Ribs at Chef Tui Ranger (190 THB)
These tender ribs are up to a meter long and prepared with plenty of dedication. The meat is marinated overnight in a homemade secret sauce, then grilled at low temperature, marinated a second time and placed in the fridge overnight. The ribs are marinated and grilled a final time before serving, which makes them extra tender. You get a portion of mashed potato and sauerkraut on the side and Isaan spicy sauce for dipping. For more information, such as the opening times, the location and other TopTravelFoods users’ opinions, check out the TopTravelFoods review page of Chef Tui Ranger.
Ribs (190 THB) at Ratchada Train Market
3. Leng Zabb at Tiao Mae Klong (150 THB)
This eye-catching mountain of pork spines loaded with crushed green chillies looks spicier than it actually is. You can scrape the meat off the bones and eat it with a sour broth and a heap of green chillies. This Ratchada train market restaurant serves four different portion sizes, from M (150 THB) to XXL (599 THB) and although the dishes look large, they’re actually mainly made up of pork bones. Leng Zabb is one of the most popular Ratchada train market food options and even though the restaurant is large, after about 6 pm a queue starts forming outside. For more information, such as the opening times, the location and other TopTravelFoods users’ opinions, check out the TopTravelFoods review page of Tiao Mae Klong.
Leng Zabb (150 THB) at Ratchada Train Market
4. Giant Lobster Tom Yum at Diaw Goong Rot Fai Restaurant (1,500 THB)
You really need to be hungry as a horse and with at least three or four other people if you want to try this giant lobster tom yum, as the bowl is absolutely enormous! Feast on heaps of seafood such as jumbo prawns, soft-shell crab, New Zealand mussels, fish, Alaskan crab, squid and of course a giant lobster. The tom yum soup has a strong flavour but you can add some chillies to enhance the spiciness. You can also choose the type of noodles you want to accompany this seafood feast. This is one Ratchada train market food and restaurant that’ll definitely fill you up!
5. Takoyaki at Takoyaki stand (15 THB 2/pcs)
I don’t think I’ve ever visited Ratchada train market without ordering at least one portion of Japanese takoyaki. I’m not sure if it tastes like the original as I’ve never visited Japan, but I sure as hell love this version. The fried battered squid balls are topped with delicious takoyaki sauce, fish roe and dried seaweed. I like to finish them with a bit of wasabi-mayonnaise for an extra kick. You can find this takoyaki stand in the last row of the food section (the one furthest away from the parking garage).
6. Thai Roti at Roti Inter (35 THB+)
You’ve probably already seen roti vendors on the streets of Bangkok, but this roti stand at Ratchada train market stands out because the owner prepares 36 different varieties. You can even choose between four different kinds of dough: pandan, charcoal, chocolate and original. So, if you want to give this sweet dessert a try, head to Roti Inter for a huge range. You can find it in the first row of food (the one closest to the parking garage) and you’ll recognize it from the big plate outside, which showcases all the different types of rotis on offer.
Bars at Ratchada night market
After all that intensive shopping and eating, you can cool down in one of the many bars. Drinks and cocktails are cheap and most venues run great promotions. Local bands blast music through the speakers and DJs show off their mixing skills. Lots of bars have rooftop areas where you can enjoy views of the market’s colourful tents. We recommend you to visit at least one of the following cool bars at Ratchada Night Market:
For live music, head over to Frankfurt 69 Bar. This place has, like all bars at Ratchada Train Market, plenty of tables and chairs although it gets crowded early in the evening. At Frankfurt 69 Bar, you can get large glasses of beer or order a beer tower while listening to (Thai) live music. There is a variety of German food available as well, in case you get hungry during your large glass of Paulaner.
For strong, cheap cocktails and funky music, head over to Sorry, I'm Gay. This small cocktail bar has one of the coolest atmospheres at Ratchada Train Market, which probably has something to do with the cheap liquor here. Expect (deep-)house music, friendly staff, people in a good mood and getting tipsy by the minute.
Dot Box is popular place at Ratchada Train Market as it attracts most of the hip local youngster. It's a great place to sit, order some beers and socialize while listening to the DJ spinning records. Like many bars at Ratchada Train Market, Dot Box offers a variety of promotions and you'll notice that later on the evening, those extra few free bottles of booze did their job.
The bars at Ratchada Train Market. Always a great atmosphere and cheap drinks.
What are the opening times of the Ratchada Train Market?
Ratchada Train Market is open Tuesday till Sunday from around 17:30 till 01:00. The market gets especially busy on Friday and Saturday.
How to get to Ratchada Train Market?
You can easily reach the Ratchada train market by public transport, as Thailand Cultural Centre MRT is located directly next to it. Due to the market’s popularity, the street next to it (Ratchadaphisek Road) often suffers from traffic jams, so public transport might be your best option.
Extra information about train markets in Bangkok
The Train Market has different branches, another hugely popular one is Srinakarin. This market has a much larger shopping area, including a warehouse zone that is packed with vintage shops. When it comes to food and especially bars, Ratchada Train Market is better. Srinakarin is also more difficult to reach from Bangkok’s city centre and doesn’t have any nearby public transportation yet. There will be a BTS Connection in the near future. Because of this, Srinakarin is less crowded and you won't easily find tourists here. You can check our article about Srinakarin train market to find more details about this popular market.
As the street food policy drastically changed over the last years, street food vendors were forced to move to designated street food areas. Because of this, night markets became an even more popular place to find street food. In our in-depth article about Bangkok Street Food, we also recommend these markets, but a lot more areas too. If you are on a street food hunt in Bangkok, make sure to read that article. One of these popular street food areas is Chinatown. Check out our article about the best food in Chinatown, for many food recommendations.
There you have it, everything you need to know about the train market at Ratchada. All the food recommended in this article can be found in our food app TopTravelFoods. Instead of recommending good restaurants, we recommend good food these restaurants have to offer. For example, if you are looking for the best food at places like Ratchada Train Market or when you just want to see the absolute best dishes near you, TopTravelFoods is the app you need to have. The app is available for both iOS and Android and is completely free. If you're on a desktop, you can explore the best local food in Bangkok right away.