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Thailand: Does Anyone Still Remember Bangkok's Once Famous 'Night Market'?

Throwback Thursday

Suan Lum Night Bazaar, a.k.a. Bangkok's 'Night Market', was a borrowed place on borrowed time. It has gone with the wind. But who that went there doesn't remember it, and who that spent evenings there doesn't MISS it???

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Information Booth at Suan Lum Night Bazaar in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
 

Suan Lum Night Bazaar reigned supreme as Bangkok's most popular night market for a brief period of 10 years. It opened in 2001 and closed in 2011. Yet when you visited it, it seemed as though it had always been there.

Now who doesn't miss Bangkok's Night Market, whose official name was the Suan Lum Night Bazaar? I sure do. In fact, it is one of my earliest (and sweetest) memories of the Big Mango.

On my first visit to Bangkok, which must have been shortly after the Night Market opened in 2001 - has it really been almost 15 years? - my travelling companions and I FIRST got a taxi driver at the airport that had never heard of our hotel.

And the fact that we had the address printed out in Thai didn't seem to help.

Upon arrival (I spotted the hotel before the driver did), a waitress at the hotels' sidewalk cafe spotted us struggling with our luggage, put down her stuff, and walked over to help my travelling companions carry their suitcases to the front desk.

Spending 4 nights at the hotel, I came to the conclusion that this was NOT part of the young lady's "job description"! This was a simple act of "human kindness".

We checked in on what seemed like the hottest night I have ever experienced.

I'd always LOVED hot weather, but I overheard myself asking, "How do people LIVE in such heat?"

This question was followed by: "And how do they DEAL with such rude taxi drivers???"

(And, if the taxi drivers are so rude, why are the waitresses so nice???)

We dropped off our luggage in our VERY stylish rooms, freshened up, and headed straight for Suan Lum, where we planned on having dinner.

After being rejected by a couple of taxi drivers - what IS it about taxi drivers in Bangkok? - we hopped into 2 tuk-tuks and headed for Rama IV and Wireless roads in Bangkok's Pathum Wan district (wherever that is).

Stalls Selling EVERTHING!!!

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Stalls line the length hallways of the Suan Lum Night Bazaar. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
 

OMG! This was like no place I had ever been to before! I've been to night markets in other Asian cities, but this was no standard issue night market! It seemed to go on for days.

The market was divided into 2 distinct zones with a giant beer garden and open space in the middle. On one side were vendors selling everything from CDs and clothes to paintings and housewares.

On the other, which was quieter, were food and beverage outlets with both indoor and outdoor eating. The place was MASSIVE - with a capital M!!!

First we wandered through the covered alleys, checking out this, bargaining over that. There were so many things that my flat in Hong Kong needed, but I didn't know how I could get them there.

Food + Beverage

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One of the many food + beverage outlets at the Suan Lum Night Bazaar in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
 

After shopping till we dropped, we were feeling a bit peckish. When it came to where to have dinner, we were definitely spoiled for choice.

There were all manner of food and beverage establishments - from Thai to international, from fast food outlets to fine dining restaurants.

We settled on a stylish Thai eatery and had a mouth-watering dinner sitting on a table on the terrace, where we could watch the world pass by .

One of the things I liked most about the Night Market is that it seemed as popular with locals as it was with tourists. Little did I know that it was a borrowed place on borrowed time.

The property was leased from the Crown Property Bureau and opened in 2001. When the lease expired in 2006, tenants were given a year in which to vacate their premises. A few remained until late 2010.

By early 2011, the popular market was all but a memory. There are plans to develop the space into a mixed use project with office buildings, housing, retail zones, and entertainment.

The Suan Lum Night Bazaar is gone but not forgotten. I'll be curious to see what arises in its place.

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