This mother of all markets is filled with head-spinning numbers of stalls selling everything: Souvenirs, art, antiques, fresh and dried seafood, vegetables and condiments, pottery, pets of every sort, orchids, and other exotic plants, clothing, and a host of strange exotic foods. A visit here is a great way to introduce yourself to the exotic sights, flavors, and colors of Thai life; and it is the best one-stop shop for all those souvenirs you haven’t bought yet. Arrive early in the morning, before the heat and the crowds.

Be realistic and remember that you’ll never be able to see it all (this is one of the world’s largest markets!), so pick a few sections of interest and explore those. Clothing sections almost exclusively carry Thai sizes so it might not be worth your time. If you see something you like, buy it right away for fear of not being able to work your way back later in the day. Shipping centers are available if you want to ship artwork, housewares, or décor.

When you get hungry, the food section is between sections 6 and 8. Coconuts, ice-cold water, plates of noodles, grilled prawns, fresh fruit juices, beer, and more are available. Tip: Despite the overwhelming number of stalls, there actually is some order and organization. Before you enter the bowels of the market, stop and take a photo of the color-coded map.