Hamblepie Rucksacks and Bags at Chatuchak Weekend Market

Rucksack Bangkok This weekend I had the unenviable task of exploring Chatuchak Weekend Market. When I first moved to Bangkok I loved the shopping heaven locals refer to as JJ, but I have since realised that most shops that sell goods here also have other branches in town, usually in air-conditioned spaces.

Hamblepie is sadly not one of these! Their only other stall is at the railway market, but even with its new location it’s about as handy as Chatuchak Weekend Market (they are pretty much neighbours).

Anyway I was there to research an article for work, but with 15,000 stalls it’s impossible not to get tempted by something. After trying on a beautiful lace top that didn’t make me look as delicate and girly as I had imagined I stumbled upon Hamplepie’s Chatuchak stall.

They sell a range of beautiful handmade rucksacks and messenger bags in colourful canvas and fabrics: stripes, spots, anchor patterns and vintage florals.

Useful, cute and an unbelievable bargain.

Chatuchak Stall I’ve been looking for a new bag that fits everything I need on a day to day basis, camera, notebook, sometimes another camera,  and plenty of rubbish I take everywhere but never use… I spotted the one below, and the fabric reminded me a little of Provence in the south of France, so I was sold. It was also a bargain at 650 baht (13 pounds and 50 pence).

If you want to check out the bag shop in Chatuchak Weekend Market you will find it in Section 23, soi 2, shop number 31831. The numbers are displayed all over the place, and you can pick up a vaguely helpful map at the main entrances to the market.

They also have a Facebook Page here, so you can check out their other bags.

Camera Bag Bangkok

 
Chatuchak Weekend Market or JJ is open all day Saturday and Sunday. To get there take the BTS to Mo Chit or the MRT to Chatuchak Park. 

Closure of Rod Fai Market – Bangkok Train Market

Night Market Bangkok

Update August 2013: Talat Rot Fai is now located in Srinakarin Soi 51, behind Seacon Square. No close transport links – probably best to take a taxi – or a sky train to Punnawithi station then a cab. Most taxis drivers will recognise the name Seacon Square.

Late one night this week, JCBs rolled into Bangkok Train Market (Rod Fai) and started demolishing the structures there. Although the developers and stall owners had been in discussions for a while about the market’s future, no-one who works at one of Bangkok’s most popular night markets was expecting things to take such a dramatic turn. Nothing stands in the way of Thailand’s relentless march for development.

Rod Fai Market was easily one of my favourite late night shopping spots. It opened Friday to Sunday evening and sold a quirky, crazy mix of vintage clothing, Batman statues and cheap, hot, tasty food. Located near Chatuchak Weekend Market, it had become extremely popular for those looking for somewhere alternative to shop.

The extension of the the new Sky Train line is going to go straight through the market’s site, and despite promises to give them six months to find a new home, the Train Market in Bangkok now looks like a pile of rubble. 

For now, Rod Fair is moving to a short-term home behind Insquare Mall JJ before they make a more permanent night market on Srinakarin Road Soi 15. Let’s hope that their new abode retains the charm and romance of the old one.

Where were you Iron Man?

Duck T Shirts – The Best gift for Everyone

When you are contemplating gifts to take home to friends and family, I have a recommendation. Don’t take the usual Bangkok souvenirs back (Tuk Tuk made from a Coca Cola can, incense that doesn’t smell of anything, Chang vest to name a few), head to Terminal 21 and check out A Pick Me Up, where you can pick up (ha!) some amazing t-shirts decorated in rubber ducks.

Okay, they don’t exactly scream “I’ve been to Thailand” but they are certainly original, and although I can’t think of any logical reason why I love them so much and I haven’t actually got round to purchasing one of my own, every time I walk around Terminal 21 I can’t help but pop in to flick through the rails of duck t shirts.

Duck T Shirts

The ducks emblazoned on these shirts and not your usual yellow rubber ducky. Oh no, A Pick Me Up have taken their designs to new heights. This quacker comes in different shapes and sizes. If you’re that keen on finding something that prolongs your memory of Thailand then there is a funky tee of a Duck on a Tuk Tuk. I can already see the keen faces of my siblings as I hand this gem of a gift over!

Whether you are into classic movies, video games, the ukulele or even just rubber ducks themselves, you are guaranteed to find something at A Pick Me Up. If you are looking for a more subtle design, then they have embroidered polo shirts for men and women with a tiny duck on the breast pocket.

Pick Me Up Duck T ShirtsLocation: Direct access from MRT at Sukhumvit and BTS at Asoke. A Pick Me Up is on the London Floor
Open: 10:00 – 22:00 Daily

Sleeping Pills Siam Square

Sleeping Pills Siam Square

Sleeping Pills is a great little boutique in Siam Square that sells plenty of fun fashionable clothing. In fact the brand has become so popular that they now have an outlet at Zen in CentralWorld shopping mall. It’s something I really love about being here, discovering a brand and then following their success, all the while knowing I got their first!

The brand limits the number of each item that they make, and it’s really affordable, with dresses starting at 2,500 baht, tops at 1,500 baht and trousers at 1,600 baht.  In London it would be impossible to buy a limited edition piece at these prices!

The designers at Sleeping Pills take the current trends and give them a girly twist, with plenty of fabulous summer pastels and florals in the latest collection. Don’t worry though, it’s not too cutesy. Some items also have a 60s vibe, I love this black and white harlequin dress that retails at 2,690 baht. Sizes go up to a large, and as a westerner with hips and tits this is usually the size I need to go for. But who cares about the label inside when you look good!?

You can either find Sleeping Pills on the 3rd floor of Zen in CentralWorld or at their original Siam Square Branch, down the alley to the left had side of the Lido theatre, only a few minutes from BTS Siam. 

Taken from Sleeping Pills Facebook

Sister Margaritta at Terminal 21 Shopping Mall

Sister MargarittaI was excited to see one of my favourite Siam Square shops has opened a boutique in Terminal 21 Shopping Mall near Asoke. Sister Margaritta sells cool individual clothing, ranging from classic preppy styles to glitter disco shoes. They also import some pretty funky bags and accessories from Korea. The cool stripy tees below start at 690 baht and the amazing 70s flower patterned cropped trousers cost just over 1200 baht. The shop in Terminal 21 is only a pop-up so who knows how long it will be around. For now I’ll make the most of not having to battle through the sweaty alleyways of Siam to visit Sister Margaritta.Sister Margaritta

Things to do in Bangkok: My best of 2012

Rama 9 Park, Bangkok

I found these questions on another site and I thought it would be a great (and easy) way to round-up the roller-coaster that was last year and offer my tips and favourites from 2012.

Why do you love Bangkok?

I love Bangkok because it really is a city that never sleeps. At any time of the day or night you can find food, drink, shopping and something to do. I also love living somewhere that’s so toasty and warm all the time!

What do you miss most when you are not there?

The food! I never thought I would get into all those spices and strange looking fruit and vegetables. I have been unwell recently and the doctor advised that I should give up spicy food for a while. It’s a nightmare, I miss som tam and curry!

Where’s the best place to stay?

In Sukhumvit I would recommend The Eugenia. It’s beautiful, vintage glamour and colonial style, with only a handful of rooms and the most amazing green tiled swimming pool. They also have a fleet of classic cars so you can negotiate the traffic jams in style. Even if you don’t get the chance to stay here, try their afternoon tea. The other hotel I really love is Sofitel So – four different room concepts (they will even swap your rooms  for you if you book a long stay so you can experience them all) including a modernistic silver and white suite and a tribal inspire Klein blue room. On the roof is an amazing bar that looks over Lumpini Park and the Executive Club was designed by Christian Lacroix. I am staying at the Tree House Hotel soon, very excited about that!

Where would you meet friends for a drink?

WTF on Sukhumvit Soi 51 is a firm favourite, they do some unusual mixes and it is really easy to spend an evening here. It definitely has a more European vibe – but the drinks have a thai twist – try the Muay Thai punch – the best way to experience Sangsom, a famous Thai whisky. I also love Bar 23 on Sukhumvit 16, they play the coolest music and the guys that run the place are great fun. It’s not easy to find though, and always looks closed! Look out for the oval sign on the right hand side, just after Balee Thai restaurant. A new opening that I loved in 2013 was The Alchemist on Sukhumvit Soi 11. Just a chilled out vibe, and so easy to spend longer than you expect there!

Where are your favourite places for a meal?

For Thai food either Supanniga or Soul Food on Thong Lor. Soul Food is a favourite of many, and does the best tamarind ribs I have ever tasted. Supanniga is the new kid on the block but serves some unusual Thai food from Issan and the coast. For something fancy I adore La Table de Tee near Silom,  a tiny restaurant tucked down an dirty alleyway, which serves fine-dining style food at great prices.

Where would you send a first-time visitor?

Start early morning at Chatuchak Weekend Market for shopping, followed by an afternoon admiring the reclining buddha and getting a great Thai massage at Wat Pho, evening cocktails at Sofitel So overlooking Lumpini Park and dinner at La Table de Tee round the corner. If you come during the week Chatuchak is closed, but try the newly opened Asiatique, a night bazaar / evening entertainment spot with Ladyboy cabaret and a big wheel.

What would you tell them to avoid?

The Ping Pong Shows!

Public transport or taxi?

Both! During rush hour you would be mad to take a cab, either jump on the Sky Train or enjoy the exhilarating ride on a motorbike taxi. But coming home from a bar or club late there is no problem taking a taxi.

What should I take home?

Thai curry pastes, silk scarves and a made-to-measure dress/suit from one of the great value tailors along Sukhumvit Road.

And if I’ve only time for one shop?

Not a shop but a market/fair – the monthly Thai Craft Fair. Fair trade goods from around the country at decent prices. They have everything: jewellery, pottery, silk,  even great Thai coffee beans. It’s the perfect place to stock up on gifts.

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Bangkok Shopping: Aristotle Rose Bag

The weather is Bangkok has been dreadful and it doesn’t look set to improve over the weekend, so I am engaging in the laziest kind of shopping: online. Things always look far nicer in the carefully composed pictures , and I am less tempted to buy them if I can’t be in the same room as them as for me shopping is an experience, I like to smell the leather and touch the silk.

I know I go on and on about bags, but I have a new crush this week: the Aristotle Rose bag. Some of them have a waiting list of over 3 months and priced at around 7500 baht (around 150 GBP), so I think it will just stay on the fantasy wish list, but if I had to choose, I would go for a classic leather in bright pink or cherry red.

The brand was created in 2008 by the PR guru and accessory designer from Kloset. It’s taken them a good few years of strangling to reach the top, but now every Hi-So girl in Bangkok is lusting after them. They’ve recently branched into bags with feathers and sparkles but this takes things a bit too Thai for me! Check out their collection on Facebook.