In Bangkok, the vintage craze has never been going so well. Over the past couple of years, vast second-hand shops and flea markets have been popping-up around the capital city, and even high-rent shops are now filled with 1950s and ’60s furniture, tin toys, antique telephones and old designer frocks.
While the flea market scene in Tokyo is often pointed by Thais as an influence, in many ways the vintage scene in Bangkok is now more vibrant than it is in the country of the rising sun. In Bangkok, an eclectic mix of flea market enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, vintage lovers and collectors, have undertaken to buying everything vintage, retro and pre-loved, shopping everywhere from local antiques shops and night flea markets, to online stores.
Today, the heart of Bangkok’s vintage scene is without a doubt the Srinagarindra Train Night Market, also known as “Talad Rot Fai” Srinakarin in Thai. Set in a former railway station of the city near the world famous Chatuchak Weekend Market and its 2,000 stalls selling everyday products, Talad Rot Fai operates four times a week until late at night.
The idea of Talad Rot Fai was born in the mind of two Thais: Thanayut also locally known as “Troy” and Khun Phirot, rented back in 2011 an abandoned warehouse in the train station, to sell their antiques. They also opened a coffee bar, Rod’s, which is still located at the entrance of the flea market. Gradually, Thanayut and Khun Phirot offered other merchants to sell their antiques and knick-knack there, and the word of mouth did the rest. Talad Rot Fai quickly became a trendy meeting place for hipsters and flea market enthusiasts in Bangkok.
Nowadays, Talad Rot Fai is a genuine flea market festival in its own, with a unique atmosphere: crammed with antique shops and thrift booths selling a variety of stuff ranging from genuine antiques (vintage furniture, phonographs, old TV from the 1960s) to kitschy tat (old records from the 1970s, Matchbox cars, vintage cameras in varying states of repair and candy-coloured bakelite radios), Talad Rot Fai offers a one of a kind opportunity to discover the hipster & underground Thai culture.
Between thrift stores, Tattoo parlors, and barber shops, Talad Rot Fai also hosts classic Vespa scooters and VW Beetles exhibitions. It is also known as good a place to grab some food and a beer. The real premium standout items at Rot Fai Market are displayed in a converted factory-type building called Rod’s Antiques. This is a trove of antiques and vintage items including classic cars, motorbikes, antique and kitsch furniture and even a life-size Elvis mannequin. One of the biggest differences here is that all vintage items are guaranteed to be genuine, sourced from all over the world: America, China, Myanmar, Europe, and Thailand.
Because it is not located in a very touristy place, Talad Rot Fai is mainly frequented by Thais. And it is pleasant to walk in a place still “protected” from the onslaught of tourists. Prices are low, the atmosphere friendly, and it’s easy to find real treasures.
To reach Talad Rot Fai, just go to the Chatuchnak market and ask any Taxi “Train Market” or “Talad Rot Fai”. They will know where you want to go (5 minutes drive, 80 bahts/$2.5). Alternatively, take the BTS (Skytrain) to On Nut, then take Song Thèaw N°4 or N°7 (Song Thèaw are some sort of pickup landscaped like mini bus – ticket price: 7 bahts/$0.2).
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Sang Madrigal18th October 2015 at 06:26
This place is where you’ll find great vintage stuff at reasonable prices. Saw a small display wooden cabinet, price before bargain was THB2000. Other great finds include vintage vinyl player, furniture, and even cars!
Elnora Thibodeau6th January 2016 at 22:58
Called after its former location at a train cemetery, the Train Market consists of a weekend night market 4 nights a week, with regular shops open every day except for Mondays from 4 p.m. until late. The regular shops sell vintage furniture, lamps and collectibles in the front, followed by a covered area with a wide range of new and second-hand clothes, shoes, accessories and other small goods.
The flea market in the back focuses on second-hand and vintage stuff – both Thai and foreign imported from Europe – being sold to the local population. There are market stalls with smaller furniture and vintage goods like old clocks, movie star collections, young portraits of the royal family, and advertising signboards. Prices are reasonable, sometimes cheap. The regular market area focuses on a younger audience with similar stuff as the shops but cheaper.
Lyman Ma14th January 2016 at 16:38
It’s a very large night market in Bangkok with variety range of things. There are second hand and vintage stuffs with very reasonable price. The food zone includes a lot of amazing dishes that are hard to find in other places.It’s also the center of trendy clothing that are not too expensive. People in the market are very friendly, compared to the other night markets. The best time to visit Talad Rot Fai is at 7pm in the evening of Friday to Sunday. It’s located next to the shopping mall of Seacon Square, therefore you can get there easily by the taxi. Although it’s very crowded sometimes,but I still love to go there anyway.