Let me get this right: Thai people love the market. As a matter of fact, we have different markets specializing in various things, such as the food markets, the clothing markets, the second-hand ones, the artistic ones. Markets could be seen as a second economy, not just because items are generally cheaper, but also because it allows people to bargain for their favorite products. It goes without saying that Phuket has its fair share of markets.
One of Phuket’s most famous markets would be Naka Market, also known as the Weekend Market. Located on the outskirt of Phuket Town, the venue opens each Saturday and Sunday from 4:00 pm onward. It is by far the largest market on the island, with several alleys offering the latest trend in fashion, accessories, and souvenirs.
A whole section of the market is dedicated to food, with many Thai specialties to enjoy, as well as some international classics; a great way to try many different dishes, as the portions are usually small, but on the cheap side of things. I would advise staying clear of one particular alley, where one can find cats, dogs and other animals for sale, as I do not believe it brings anything positive to the experience.
Chillva is another market we would encourage you to visit; located in Samkong, the venue is opened daily, except on Sundays. While it is certainly a lot smaller than Naka Market, Chillva has made a noun for itself, and hundreds of locals gather every day to look at the latest fashion and to eat some delicious food in one of the numerous containers that surround the market.
The other cool place to be seen is the Sunday Market, known by the locals as Lad Yai, which is located on Thalang Road, in the heart of Phuket old town. During one afternoon and one evening per week, the municipality closes down this road, which transforms into a long walking street, where vendors of all kinds set up stands to sell their merchandise.
Similar to the other places, we can see that the market is segmented into different parts, allowing to find what you’re looking for in a more efficient way. The food offering is a bit more international than Naka Market, though you will find enough of Thai food and other Asian dishes as well. It is well worth the walk, even though you are not looking to buy anything.
You will find other markets in different parts of the island, such as Patong, Karon (at the temple twice a week), Rawai and Bang Tao (the famous Boat Avenue market every Friday). Overall, visiting a Thai market is a unique experience, and you should certainly spend one or two days per month to discover the numerous venues across the island.
Who knows? You may end up getting hooked up on the hustle and bustle and the great street food each stall has to offer. We certainly are!