Chatujak pet market, or “more Bangkok WTF?”

Bangkok feels like a videogame designed by a Japanese genius on acid where you’re always stumbling onto all kinds of crazy bonus levels: you turn the corner and suddenly there’s a Muay Thai training gym, a Chinese temple, a store that sells monks robes and only monks’ robes, sharks in a bag.

You thought you were just popping by Chatujak market (or “JJ”) to pick up fisherman’s pants and jasmine scented candles to take home, but suddenly you’re lost and roosters are crowing and Thai dwarves are watching cockfighting:


JJ has an entire section devoted to cockfighting. In the right corner, tucked under his owner’s arm, this badass waits to get into the ring.

in the left corner

A warning to the losers, perhaps? Vendors sell fried chicken next to the cockfighting ring:


If there were headquarters for mafia involvement in the illegal aquarium trade, this place would be it:


These guys sold manta rays and giant coi fish while watching Muay Thai on TV:


Rays in an aquarium. I wish I could have captured their ruffly movement:


You thought it was quaint to buy Thai coffee in a bag? These are sharks in a bag:


JJ is replete with animal cruelty. There are puppy mills, kitten mills, macaws who have plucked out all their own feathers sweltering in the heat, half-dead squirrels tethered to their cages with red ribbon, wild-caught ocean fish struggling in plastic bags. However, of all indignities suffered by animal kind there, this might be the worse:

bunny wearing outfits

It’s 40 degrees outside! Do bunnies really need “outfits”?

Click on any of the pictures to go to the whole series.

3 Responses to “Chatujak pet market, or “more Bangkok WTF?””

  1. 1 Caroline and Ed Pitman November 20, 2009 at 11:46 am


    Dear God…please do something to help stop the cock fighting in Bangkok and the puppy mills. We just returned from
    Thailand and were amazed and dishearted at what we saw. I could not believe it.
    For such a beautiful country…so religious…the Buddhist relegion does not kill anything or anyone…what is wrong with these people to have such cruelty. Please dear God stop it…

    What can we do…Is it fair to say that our rules of inhumane treatment of animals in the US does nothing to prevent these horrible people from their acts of cruelty to defensless animals.
    Please, please…let us know how we can help.

    I would be happy to write to the King and Queen for assistance.
    I am sure that they want tourism in this beautiful country. Do they not know what a total turn-off it is to be confronted with such treatment.

    thank you and hope to hear from someone that can help.
    Caroline E Pitman

  2. 2 May July 27, 2010 at 10:08 am

    “Bangkok feels like a videogame designed by a Japanese genius on acid where you’re always stumbling onto all kinds of crazy bonus levels”: HILARIOUS and too true.
    Great post, Julie.

    • 3 julielavoie August 12, 2010 at 2:36 am

      Hi May, sorry i missed your comment before! Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the post. I always think Bangkok is like a videogame. 😛

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A blog about culture and technology in South-East Asia.

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