Phuket is a shopper’s dream. You can be guaranteed to have an exuberant experience at one of the island’s many night markets where you can find a diverse selection of authentic Thai merchandise, perfect for mementoes or gifts for loved ones back home. Phuket night markets are a must when travelling to Phuket whatever the season.
With all the lights, the night markets are always hot, so dress carefully. In addition the night markets attract locals as well as tourists so as with any busy market it is a good idea to keep your cash in a money belt and keep your children close. Finding children who have wandered off is of course an experience best avoided. Here are some of the most well known markets in Phuket:
- Phuket Weekend Market: Naka Market (open Saturday and Sunday 4pm – 9pm)
This market is located along Chao Fa West Road, just outside of Phuket Town, and is the best market for the bargain hunters and rummage lovers among you travellers. It is awash with second hand goods and pirated items. It does however also have a stock of wild animals which may be slightly disturbing, although fascinating to some visitors. It is worth a visit to observe the fascinating culture around the market. There is so much on sale you could easily waste many an hour wandering around perusing. There is a covered section of the market which hosts mainly second hand clothes, and tourist trinkets. Outside there are stalls selling CDs, DVDs, mobile phones, jewellery, and other accessories. Just before the main entrance on the right you can sample some of the local cuisine including buttered corn on the cob, spicy sausage, exotic fruit, and even deep fried insects for the braver among you. The floor is cemented unlike some local markets and so you won’t have to worry about your boots getting muddied. It is good to get there early to avoid the crowds.
- Phuket Walking Street Market: Lard Yai (open Sundays 4pm – 10pm)
This is the most popular attraction in the area known as Phuket Town. Starting from Thepkasattri Road stretching all the way to Phuket Road you see beautiful festive multi-coloured lights setting the scene of the market. On each side of the street you will find a wide selection of eateries as well as merchandise stalls with items such as t-shirts, stuffed animals, and printed fabrics which are very popular with tourists. The walking street market also has a good array of street performers to keep you entertained whilst you shop. Normal shops are open too which means there is even more choice, and there is often some form of dancing that you can get involved with. Street performers do not ask for money, but they would appreciate a small tip for providing the entertainment as many of them are young and looking for funds to get through education.
- Phuket Indy Market: Laadploykong (open Thursdays and Fridays 4pm – 10pm)
Situated in Phuket Town, the Indy Market on Dibuk Road known as laadploykong which means ‘to let go of your goods’ is a vibrant area which is popular with locals due to its mix of shopping and entertainment that is always on offer. The live performances here are a must see, and combined with the variety of stalls it really is a great experience. Because it is relatively unknown by tourists at the moment, it is quite small, and clean, and gives you a real taste of Thai markets. The market is set up along one street, and it probably takes around 20 minutes to walk the length of it, that is if you are not drawn in by the many fascinating market stalls. The type of goods you can expect to find at this particular market include clothing such as shoes, handbags, and jeans. You can also get some great customised, handmade items such as key rings, and beautiful items of jewellery at very reasonable prices. There are also a number of artist booths which offer caricaturing and portraits, which make for great souvenirs or gifts. You can also get
your nails done along the strip with many a manicurists to choose from.This market is also renowned for its tasty selection of street food. Frequent visitors suggest taking your time, and maybe having small samples from a number of vendors so you are sure not to miss out on something spectacular by filling up at the first stop. Local delicacies such as Thai Salad, Chicken BBQ, local fish-paste balls, seafood, and fish maw soup. As well as the savoury feasts on offer be sure to save room for the sweeter selection which includes cakes, candies, and crepes. For tradition try the Thai style crispy pancake (kanombuang) which looks like a taco but it is made from rice flour, topped with coconut cream, and other toppings of your choice. There are also many choices when it comes to liquid refreshment, from sugar cane, orange juice, traditional teas, to more indulgent cocktails.
So you see there is plenty to choose from in terms of markets on the beautiful isle of Phuket. If markets aren’t your thing, there is also the expo which is a shopping emporium also based in Phuket Town. This offers the more traditional western experience of indoor shopping which can be more comfortable for some who aren’t so sure about the hustle and bustle of the marketplace. Either way, you will find no shortage of shopping opportunities during your stay, meaning you are certain to come away with some physical keepsakes as well as your wonderful memories.
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