GALLERY: Goodbye Phutaret Flats Market

The first time I wandered into the market underneath Phutaret flats, I was smitten. Here was the grimy, dingy, tourist-free Chinatown market of my dreams, a dark maze of hygienically dubious market stalls where the cats and rats outnumbered the people. I’ve since been back dozens of times and it’s by far my favourite market to photograph in Bangkok.

Or rather, was. Sadly a few months back I learned from one of the stallholders that the apartment building is soon to be demolished (to be fair, it’s always looked as if it might collapse at any time), and over the last few weeks the market stalls have gradually moved out, with one stall still defying the wrecking ball and the march of progress and still selling vegetables (see last picture below).

What will replace the flats is as yet unclear, but we can be pretty sure it won’t have the same grit, charm, and aesthetic appeal of what was there before. The building is still standing, and the market – though mostly deserted (even the rats have moved on) – still open for a wander, so go now while you can. Otherwise, here are some memories of one of my favourite spots in the city.