The manly man's survival guide to Chatuchak Market, Thailand | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 15, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 15, 2019

The manly man's survival guide to Chatuchak Market, Thailand

What is it? One of the biggest marketplaces in Thailand for bargains on anything from clothes, food, pets to soap, electronics and phallic shaped toys in every imaginable colour.

What to do: Plan. Plan what you want to do and then throw it away. Because nothing is going to go by plan. Only thing that will is when you get there and how.

How to travel: If you have children it is the best to give them up for temporary adoption. But since the wife won't allow you to do that, children and all it is. Luckily I went with only one six-year-old which often feels like two.

When to arrive: Have breakfast and head out to avoid traffic and to get hold of some early morning bargains. For us Bangladeshis, it should be an epic battleground for bargain hunting. 

Avoid Sundays.

What to carry: Carry cash. Carry it in a tight pant pocket Wear pocketed jeggings if you must. It's one of those times you might be forgiven for that.

Manly men don't need to encumber themselves by carrying a water bottle. Their hands are made to deal with real tools like knives, swords or mobile phones. It is why most manly men have died out in the wilderness. But if you consider yourself one, dying form thirst isn't a threat in Chatuchak. Because real men go into the unknown armed only with the superior knowledge that the world will provide them water. Only in this case you will be right. Chatuchak is scattered with hundreds of stalls selling beverages of all colours and consistencies.

Get a map: If like me you find out they have run out of a map, take a picture on your phone. Better yet, take additional pictures of the particular sections.

Don't think twice: If you like something, you buy it because there is a chance you will not find that place again. It's a maze in there. The last time anyone survived was several hundred years ago and his name was Hercules. And he entered this maze only to kill a rampaging minotaur.

Toilets: Manly men never need toilets. They just need an unsuspecting bush or an uncomplaining tree. Unfortunately Chatuchak has few such greenery. So a toilet is your only option of which there are quite a few. You will need to pay 5-10 baht for the usage. They are mostly scented but make sure you carry your own toilet paper and for us Bangladeshis, water.

Do you need cool air? Manly men don't because the ones I know will start whimpering after a while spent in the narrow alleys of the market. Some portions have air conditioning. Other sections sell small battery operated fans.

What next? Come back again later simply because this place is humongous and your wife will say she has not seen it all. And then sulk when you go off to look at cars.

What to get? It's a shorter list of what you cannot get. No car parts. No model cars. No Lego. As a result, my son and I were thoroughly tried of our patience. But there are pets. An entire section caters to all kinds of pet animals including what appears to be funkily dressed squirrels having had a few puffs of quality dope. And in most cases, you are allowed to pet, hug and cry over the dogs and cats and ferrets. And snakes. Just don't plan to buy them. If you must, you will need a permission from the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.

Things that got our manly men attention:

Scented soaps: Look like fruits and candy. We suggest you do not eat them because no matter the aroma, they still taste like soap.

Brand new antiques: Rusty signs you want to put up in your mancave? They look 50 years old but were most likely printed out 50 minutes ago.

Shoes: Branded and not so branded. Eventually they are all the same. Difference is you pay three times the price for the brand name instead of the locally made versions. Real antiques are often rusty and sharp. Manly men often cut themselves and feel the need to show the world their bloody manliness. But these new antiques are much safer. In many cases these are printed rust that is completely tetanus free.

Coconut icecream: Quite possibly the best and strangest ice cream you can ever have and not be worried about eating chemicals because there are none. As manly men, you may be disappointed at not having to crack and peel the coconut with your bare hands. Mostly because your bare hands will be occupied holding bags and children's backpack.

Kinky showpieces as gifts for other manly men friends back home

Dried fruits: Manly men prefer these as they don't go bad. I think. So you can leave them lying around

 

Ehsanur Raza Ronny is confused dad, all round car guy, model car builder and cartoonist. Currently Editor of Shift (automobiles), Bytes (technology) and Next Step (career) for the Daily Star

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