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.
Important: there were rumours in August 2021 that Ratchada Train Market is permanently closed due to the COVID situation. According to TimeOut, who actually spoke to one of the owners, this rumour is not true.
In this article, we cover the following aspects related to Ratchada Train Market:
1. Introduction to Ratchada Train Night Market
Recommended in many top things to to-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
2. Shopping at Ratchada Train 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. There are 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.
You have to understand that this market is targetting Thai, so the majority of the goods that are sold are goods that Thai use daily, for example, cheap electronics, bracelets, clothes and sunglasses. You can even get your nails done or get a fresh haircut. If you're looking for vintage, there are a few shops to find on the right side of the market that is facing Esplanade Mall. However, if you're looking for vintage in particular, the other train market at Srinakarin has much more to offer. If you're looking for souvenirs, your best chances are at Chatuchak Weekend Market and MBK Shopping Mall (a tiny secret: almost every souvenir you can find at markets throughout the country can be found at MBK Shopping Mall). Does this all mean that the shopping area at Ratchada Train Night Market is boring? Absolutely not, especially for first-timers, you can easily wander through the tents for an hour.
The always busy Ratchada Night Train Market with a huge amount of vendors
3. What to eat at Ratchada Train Night 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.
Before we jump into some crazy food recommendations, it’s good to know that night markets like Ratchada Train Night Market are excellent to find street and finger food. And although the following food recommendations are more pricy than you expect, the majority of the food at Ratchada Train Night Market is seriously cheap. And the variety of food is huge, for example, there is even a mookata restaurant located in the middle of the food section, which is a Thai barbecue that combines barbecue with hot pot. What we are trying to say, there is so much food to choose from, that even after countless visits, we are still surprised by the food we discover and try.
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
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
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
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!
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).
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.
4. Bars at Ratchada Train Night Market
After all that intensive shopping and eating, you can cool down in one of the many bars. Most bars can be found at the end of the market, where there is a 200-metre street packed with local bars. One of the main reasons why the Ratchada Train Night Market is so popular among Thai is because of this small bar street. The atmosphere is one-of-a-kind and is the visit to this market alone is well worth it. But not all bars are located in this busy street and a few bars are located at quieter areas of the market. 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:
The bar area, right before it gets crowded.
The bars at Ratchada Train Market once it's crowded. Always a great atmosphere and cheap drinks to find.
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. Frankfurt 69 Bar is located at the front of the market and when entering the Ratchada Train Night Market, you can see the name of the bar litten up. At Frankfurt 69 Bar, which is one of the largest bars you can find at the market, 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.
Frankfurt 69 Bar at Ratchada Train Night Market
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 a 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. Dot Box is located in the middle of the bar street and from here, you have a perfect view of the crowds. 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.
Dot Box Bar at Ratchada Train Night Market.
B52 is a bar located right at the entrance of Ratchada Train Night Market and is much quieter compared to the other recommended bars. Guests can have a table on the terrace or at the roof that both have an excellent view of the massive amount of visitors and the market itself. B52 also offers a wide variety of Thai craft beers, ranging from 180 THB to 280 THB per bottle (220 ml). Normal Thai beers are much cheaper though, ranging between 100 and 120 THB THB for a large bottle, which are common beer prices at Ratchada Train Night Market. If you want to get into a party vibe, we suggest visiting other bars located at the bar street, but if you’d like to enjoy a cold drink at a more peaceful location, B52 is the place to go.
B52 Bar in front of Ratchada Train Night Market, good for craft beers and relaxation.
5. What are the opening times of the Ratchada Train Night Market?
Ratchada Train Market is open daily from around 17:30 till 01:00. The market gets especially busy on Friday and Saturday.
It is possible to enter the Ratchada Train Night Market at five o’clock, however, many shops are still closed. During weekdays, many students who finished school nearby, quickly stop by the market to get some food and it seems that’s the main reason why some shops are opened earlier. We recommend you to visit the market after half-past six when the sun has set. All shops are open from that moment on and the atmosphere is so much better. On weekends, the market is much busier early on. This is because many bars offer great promotions right at the opening of the market. These promotions are also available during weekdays, but as said, during weekdays, Ratchada Train Night Market is much, much quieter than during the weekends.
6. How to get to Ratchada Train Market?
You can easily reach the Ratchada train market by MRT (Metro), as Thailand Cultural Centre MRT is located directly next to it. This is by far the most convenient and best way to go to Ratchada Train Night Market. Depending on what other plans you have for the night, it’s usually also the best way to go back to the city centre or your hotel. Finding a taxi at night after visiting Ratchada Train Night Market is simply a pain in the ass. Due to the market’s popularity, the street next to it (Ratchadaphisek Road) often suffers from traffic jams, so public transport is your best option. For more detailed information about how to move around in Bangkok, check out our complete guide to Bangkok public transport.
The MRT exit and entrance is located next to Ratchada Train Night Market (Esplanade Mall in the back)
7. Useful information about Ratchada Train Night Market
Ratchada Train Night Market Map
A map of Ratchada Train Night Market of where to find the food, bars and vintage. At the centre of the market, where all the colourful tents are located, you can find a wide variety of street food vendors, restaurants and shops. Feel free to download the image for personal use.
A high-resolution, simplified map of Ratchada Train Night Market. Note: The colourful tents are full of shops and food stalls.
ATM's & Money Exchange
Train Night Market Ratchada is located right next to Esplanade Mall. On Floor 2 of this shopping mall, there are many Thai bank offices where you can use the ATM’s as well as a Super Rich Exchange office, a popular money exchange service in Thailand due to its fair margins. All these offices are located on the south side of the mall, facing Ratchada Train Night Market. There are also two ATM's located near the entrance of the market, right next to the B52 Bar.
On Floor 2 of the Esplanade Mall, you find many ATM's and money exchange.
Where to take pictures of Ratchada Train Night Market from above?
You've probably seen the iconic picture of Ratchada Train Night Market many times before where you see the colourful tents from above. And you might want to take a similar picture. There are three parking garages located on the northeast side of the market, which give you a spectacular view on the Ratchada Train Night Market. One of these parking garages can be accessed via Esplanade Mall. Make sure to wait until the sun has completely set to get the best picture!
Location of the parking garage: Google Maps
What to do after Ratchada Train Night Market?
Although you can easily spend your whole evening at this market for a night out as the market stays open and busy until 01:00, for many visitors, Ratchada Train Night Market is only the first stop of the evening. Here are a few recommended nightlife options that are located near Ratchada Train Night Market:
Mustache is a trendy bar that attracts young Thai and ex-pats that are looking for alternatives for Sukhumvit and other common nightlife areas in Bangkok. This hugely popular bar is located at Ratchada, close to Ratchada Train Market, so combining these two places is already a great start for your night out. The club is divided into three zones, which includes a retro area on the first floor, a Bollywood-inspired second floor and a rooftop bar on the third floor. Besides the cool atmosphere, it’s mostly the ultra-relaxed vibe among the partygoers that makes this bar one of the best places in the city.
Mustache is a popular bar located close to Ratchada Train Night Market.
b. Thonglor & Ekkamai
Thonglor & Ekkemai are two popular nightlife areas in Bangkok among Thai and ex-pats and offers a wide variety of trendy bars and upscale clubs. If you want to experience Bangkok nightlife how the young generation like to party, this area is your best option. In our complete Bangkok Nightlife Guide, we dive deeper into this popular nightlife area and many other popular places too. Take the MRT to Asok and from here, you can take a taxi to your favourite bar or club.
Thonglor & Ekkemai are home to many trendy bars and clubs, including Babyface.
c. Soi Cowboy
Bangkok's most famous adult entertainment street is Soi Cowboy and quite frankly, it's more like a tourist attraction. You can compare it with the Red Light District in Amsterdam, where the majority of its visitors are tourists. If you take the MRT back to Asok, you can walk straight to Soi Cowboy and have a few beers at the street or even have a peek at one of the Go-Go Bars.
Famous for its adult entertainment, and fun to just grab a beer on the street.
d. Octave Rooftop Bar
For a more relaxed activity after the rooftop bar, head over to one of our personal favourite rooftop bars, namely Octave Rooftop Bar. Although it's recommended to visit a rooftop bar during sunset, as the view is then the most spectacular, you can also choose to visit a rooftop bar when the sun has already set. It's also easily possible to visit this rooftop bar first, enjoy the spectacular view and head to Ratchada Train Night Market afterwards.
Enjoy a spectacular view on one of the rooftop bars in Bangkok
e. Siam Niramit
Another activity that you can combine with Ratchada Train Night Market is Siam Niramit, a spectacular show that's being held daily and is located near the market. The show itself starts at eight o'clock in the evening and takes you on an eighty-minute journey of Thai history. After the show, you can easily visit the Ratchada Train Night Market.
A spectacular show for the whole family. Highly recommended!
8. Extra information about Train Night 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 twenty best food you can find in Chinatown, for many food recommendations.
9. Overall verdict of Ratchada Train Night Market
Ratchada Train Night Market is the most popular night market in Bangkok for a very good reason, namely that it offers a wide variety of street food and the large variety of bars. These sections are nicely separated, meaning that if you don't like nightlife, you can still wander around the food stalls and the small shops. But honestly, Ratchada Train Night Market does put the emphasis on the bar section, which we personally love. If you're looking for a quieter market, the train market at Srinakarin is a much better option for you. But if you're looking for some good (street) food, an ice-cold beer afterwards and experience how young Thai like to go out, visiting Ratchada Train Night Market will probably one of your best experiences in Bangkok!
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.