Having been to the Neon Night Market soon after it had opened, a return visit was long overdue and after some extensive researching (details to follow) in the Platinum Fashion Mall and nearby extensions, I found myself in Pratunam and so the opportunity to return presented itself.
Night Markets in Thailand are part of the scenery and culture for tourists and long-term residents alike. The markets create an atmosphere of fun and entertainment after the sun has set generally with a wide variety to stalls selling everything that you don’t need but sometimes gems can be found amongst the souvenirs and trivia My memory of the Neon Night Market was one of many multicoloured tents with a vast array of merchandise and of course different foods to try!
The Neon Night Market appears to have changed considerably, but for tourists in the centre of Bangkok this is one of only two possibilities to visit. As a result, one certainly now feels that the emphasis in now on servicing the tourists rather than longer term residents. The number of stalls/tents in the Neon market appear to have diminished and the small independent stalls appear to have morphed into larger, more professional stands. The array of merchandise remains vast and it is still enjoyable to visit if you are in the vicinity.
One of my personal pleasures at a night market are the myriad if individual stalls that sell a vast range of creative food. I love snacks at a market and really enjoy trying new and novel titbits. The food now on offer appears to be from 3 or 4 larger outlets that seem to have monopolised on the centre of the market. There is an emphasis on seafood with large grills and ice displays containing vast varieties of fish and seafood. Whilst the menu does offer an extensive choice there are no surprises. Our food was served quickly but it was bland and relatively tasteless. The Tom Yam Het (with mushrooms) was large and looked good. Fortunately it was not dowsed in coconut milk but the flavours were muted and generally ‘commercial’. It appears that the Chinese tourist groups have arrived at Neon market and that these food outlets are concentrating now on serving commercial food. Nothing to complain about, but certainly now not a memorable dining experience.
If you prefer just to have a drink, you will find a line of bars located at the rear of the market. Each bar is competing with its neighbour both with prices and with entertainment, we were not there late but it must be chaos when competing bands start up. I would not rush back to the Neon Night Market, but if you happen to be in the area it is still entertaining and relatively in-expensive. Get there early before the crowds!