Calling it a mere ‘vintage shop’ might bring to mind a dusty, rusty collection of chairs your grandparents might have used. The description of ’boutique’ is unfortunately used to describe some place that’s small, quaint, or vastly overpriced. I’m happy to report this place is neither dusty nor small – and it’s well worth the visit by anyone seeking the weird places around Thailand.
Getting here requires a bit of travel (see the directions below), but the sheer variety of stuff makes it worth the effort. After entering and taking in some of the more distinctive pieces (as the old-school piece) above, you’ll discover a bit of everything from dozens of chairs stacked on warehouse-style shelves to decades-old technology to, yes, eight life-sized Jar-Jar Binks that look like they’re doing the congo.
It’s not entirely clear what structure was intended, but it is clear the place has been well kept-up – and well organized. A big pet peeve of mine is the ‘scattershot’ approach some vintage shops take, but they’ve done a great job at putting all the clocks together, all the phones of M&M’s together…
To be clear, some of the appealing chairs seem tucked away on higher, unreachable shelves… but then again there’s enough eye candy around on the lower levels to enjoy. Supposedly, everything is for sale, but there are no price tags, and only a handful of staff around the building – finding one and negotiating a price might be more than half of the battle! Some items are supposedly not for sale – there’s no way of knowing that before asking, of course, and I suspect they keep some of their better items around for photographers and to add to the awesomeness of just walking around the place.
If it looks like there’s a lot of going on here, that’s only a part of the story – the camera can only zoom out so far!
Brandy, Courvoisier, and… body wash? Going from Napolean to Rugrats’ character Chuckie seems a bit of a stretch…
It’s the combination of the two elements that make it awesome.
Heading up to the third floor, one of the creepiest bunnies and a creepy clown may almost make you afraid to head up. I picture an epic (and low-budget) movie being filmed here at some point…
Some areas are set up in themes – they could be rooms taken right out of someone’s house for all we know.
The space is popular enough with photographers – thanks to all the unusual props – that one of the upper rooms is rentable as a studio. We didn’t see any more information about it, except to confirm its existence.
As promised – eight Jar-Jar Binks doing the conga. OK, so they’re not actually doing the conga, but what other dance does it look like to you?
It’s one of the most fascinating places I’ve seen in Bangkok, and only moderately compares to something like, say, Namdaemun or Dongdaemun Market in Seoul. If you had access to Hollywood’s prop rooms and a time machine, you’d have a fair chance at having a collection of this size – and this diversity. You’ll find yourself wanting to buy something while you’re in there, so keep it in mind as you peruse the collection. The staff are around… somewhere…
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Name: Papaya Vintage Market
Address: 306/1 Soi Lat Phrao 55/2, Lat Phrao Rd, Wang Thonglang, Bangkok, 10310 (GPS: 13.794239,100.597225)
Directions: Take the MRT to Lat Phrao station in the north. Take exit 4 to street level, then look right for the bus stop. Jump on any bus but 151 or 156. Watch closely along the left side of the road for the street signs, and get off as soon as you see Lat Phrao 55/2. Backtrack to the side street, then turn right. Walk about 100 meters and look for the entrance around to the right.
Ratings out of 5 ratchaphrueks (What’s a ratchaphruek, or how do I rate destinations?)
Ease to arrive:
Worth the visit:
Also published on Medium.