Chill” seems to be the cool word of the year and conjures images of beaches and coconut trees – all in the name of leisure. But in Bangkok, the absence of such things puts more emphasis on the “relaxation” and “trendy” meaning of the word.
This is the best way to describe the JJ Green market in the capital city, located next to the famous Chatuchak Weekend market. JJ Green is one of the best kept secrets of Bangkok where tourists can lose themselves in a sea of hipster bars, unique shirt shops, colourful interior design stores and the trendy Thai youth that walk back and forth between each.
In short, this is where Bangkok comes to “chill”.
With an open Saturday evening, I rode the BTS down to the final stop (Mo Chit) and walked through Chatuchak Park which is between the sky train and JJ Green. It’s a perfect place for couples, families and friends to have a picnic. When I get to JJ Green, it’s almost sunset and the shops are just coming alive after setting up just an hour before.
JJ Green is actually the child of several once-trendy markets whose shopkeepers were forced to move: the Rot Fai Market and Siam Gypsy Market. Those vendors have come together in this space to create a giant temporary commercial hub that includes several live music bars and even a TV studio at the north end (where the Full Metal Dojo fights take place!).
The first thing you notice are the colours: the shirts of the shopkeepers and passers-by, the products sold at each stand, the hues of the setting sun as its remaining shine hits everyone as they walk. Though JJ Green is a retail space, its vibe is very much alternative, as if the place is screaming to be Iggy Pop to Chatuchak’s Beethoven.
And it’s cheap!
T-shirts with colourful patterns and prints go for B100 while other stands sell eight pairs of socks for the same price. You can get a Henna tattoo one minute and then find yourself digging for secondhand tennis shoes or old-school concert posters the next – all of which can cost just B200 each.
JJ Green is the type of place that doesn’t care what you sell or buy – browsing is the experience.Everywhere you walk, people are taking pictures of the art displays outside of shops, artists creating new pieces next to their wares as well as the antique items that dot the market every few metres.
Old-school Americana dominates the décor, and it seems that all of the shopkeepers have bought into this which creates a uniformly funky atmosphere. Your next chill Bangkok moment has to take place at JJ Green.
JJ Green is located at Kampaeng Phet 3 road in Bangkok, near the Mo Chit BTS station. It is open every Saturday and Sunday, from 5pm – 12 am.
All Photos by JP Mestanza