The Dream of Bangkok's Papaya Vintage Market
I’ll start by saying it is hard to take a picture of Papaya Vintage Market, and photographers from all around the globe actually pay to try and make justice to that place (more on that below). I’ll be humble and admit I could never. Okay, from the top, shall we?
What is Papaya Vintage MarketIt is a huge, four-store vintage market neatly and cleanly filled to the brink with everything anyone could possibly imagine; lamps, chairs, phones, bikes, computers, hand painted porcelains, neon signs and a dozen of creepy life-sized Jar Jar Binks are just a hint of what can be seen inside that place. It is a whole world of rare antiques you would never hope to see in Bangkok, Thailand. It doesn’t really feel like a flea market filled with old dusty objects and gadgets, and as soon as you walk in there and you start wondering if it really is a market or actually a museum. And, as much as I am sorry to disappoint you, I have to say it is both since a lot of items aren’t available for sale. The owner of the store is a collector himself, traveling the world in search of antiques while his wife deals with the business part of things, so when you take a picture of the product you want and show it to the closest employee, there is a good chance you’ll hear that item is there only for you to admire, which, for me, as a vintage sucker, it’s worth it. The items that are for sale, though, tend to not be cheap. Except if you want a clock, they have a lot of those, and they were desperate to get rid of some. Good riddance to the clock collectors!
The whole time I was there, I was actually scared of dropping something or knocking something out of its shelf, and, in darker moments, scared the floor would give and I would fall on top of a hundred very expensive items I had no way of paying.
Who Can Enjoy ItI don’t think I would advise you to take a child, especially a small one, there – you can end up paying for a lot more than you originally planned. Aside from that, you don’t have to be a vintage fan, antique enthusiast, collector or anything similar to enjoy a few hours at the market. If you’re a superhero fan, a videogames fan, a booze fan, a fan of anything at all, you will definitely find your pleasure at a place where there’s a whole room dedicated to vintage kitchen products. Some of the things I saw – far from all that is present there – so you can decide for yourself if it’s worth it, are:
- Cinema memorabilia, from posters to a life-sized Alfred Hitchcock;
- Vintage technology of all kinds, from TVs to phones to radios and everything in between;
- Geek vintage things like old video games, memory slots, toys and action figures;
- Bicycles and motorbikes;
- Decoration for bars, like neon signs and dozens of Johnny Walker signs;
- Old child toys, from cute to terrifying;
- Snow globes;
- Musical instruments;
- Miniatures of everything that was ever invented;
- At least one stuffed animal;