Browsing through JJ’s popular second-hand zone or Talad Rod Fai’s endless rows of odd antiques and clothing might leave you thinking, “Where on earth do they get this stuff?”
It turns out they get it from Rong Khruea Market – located a hop, skip and a jump away from Bangkok in the province of Sa Kaeo, situated near the Thai-Cambodia border. Unlike JJ, this market is busiest during the middle of the week when throngs of Bangkok shop owners turn up in pickup trucks to scour through the latest shipment of used clothing and wares from around the region.
The same goods that eventually end up in trendy secondhand shops start their lives in garbage bags strewn about garages in giant warehouse-like complexes on the grounds of Rong Khluea. It’s here that you can cut out the middleman and score super-cheap second clothing and odd items.
Rong Khruea is a place for shoppers with a lot of time and little money, whereas folks with a lot of money and little time might prefer to skip the searching and head right to the chic second-hands shops around Bangkok.
The intrepid shopper will surely be rewarded for his or her time, however. Little league T-shirts from obscure American towns? THB40. Military Bomber Jackets worn by pilots in the Vietnam War? THB60. Secondhand New Balance shoes that run THB1,000 in Bangkok will set you back around THB200. Cutting out the middleman saves a ton of money and you get first crack at all the far-out fashions that fetch a pretty penny in the capital city.
To get Rong Khruea, head East of Bangkok to Aranyaphatet. The massive market is located on the outskirts of the town, and very near to the Thai immigration facilities. Most of the traders here are Khmer, so the market does tend to wind down around 6pm everyday, right before the border closes and the Khmer traders pack up their goods and head home.