One of my most favourite things to do on the island is to visit one of the many markets (“dta laad in Thai) at my disposal.
The markets are a great way to immerse yourself in local cuisine and produce, along with local handicrafts and other craptastic things you may find.
I am fortunate that I have 3 sets of markets at my fingertips.
Naka Weekend Markets
The Naka Weekend Markets are about a 20 – 25 minute scooter ride from where I live and the operate on Saturdays and Sundays, mid afternoon to 10pm at night. If you ask any taxi or tuk tuk driver, they will know where you’re going.
These markets are by far the largest markets near to me and the one where you can try just about anything…
If you enter the markets from the bike parking lot, you begin with food stalls as far as your eyes will reach. Everything from your standard roadside fried chicken, to the most delicious sweet rotis around. Amongst all of this you can find a variety of local cuisine and a tonne of freshly made baked goods. Beware of the cake stall!!! Best of all – you can try fried insects (if that’s what floats your boat).
Aside from the delicious treats you may find, this is also the place to find most of your generic Thai style paraphernalia including (but not limited to) clothes, bags, shoes, hats, make up, jewellery, crockery, artworks and much much more. Most items, particularly clothing, are imitations so be weary of anything that might seem like it’s high priced. You are likely to find it in the next shop for half the price. I do, however, enjoy the more locally crafted items – some of the art work is quite beautiful and unique. I’ll be heading there to buy a few pieces before I return to Australia.
As much fun as these markets can be – especially for those going for the first time – after a while they can become frustrating. Due to the size of these markets, they are often over crowded. Worst case scenario, you go enjoy some great food and have a drink at one of the many little bars that pop up around these markets.
The Thalong Road Markets (The Old Phuket Town Markets).
I really love these particular markets because they are more dedicated to local vendors who make their own items. There is none of the generic finds you would see at the Naka markets and all the vendors sell their own made products.
Alongside these beautifully crafted goods, there is a vast array of some of the greatest (and strangest) foods you can find. I highly recommend the BBQ pork ribs… Mmmmm…..
The other really unique part to this market is that it is one of the only streets in Phuket to not have open hanging power lines. If you’ve ever been to Phuket it’s easy to see the clumps of power lines that frame the streets. You can often here the electrical currents passing through them with loud buzzing sounds. Always a bit concerning when it rains though…
There are street performers along the way so be sure to stop and join in the fun.
If you can get there before the sun sets, it makes for a beautiful view!
The Pop Up Markets
I don’t know what these particular markets are actually called but they pop up around my area in two different locations – Monday and Thursday next to Rawai Super Muay Thai and Tuesday and Friday on the Viset.
These markets are very small and consist mostly of food vendors and local produce. I am always a bit wearing of the meat sitting out in the hot, but I have willingly bought fruit and veg from these markets at ridiculously cheap prices.
The food vendors are basic, but offer a large variety of meals you can pick up and take for around 40 baht (approximately AUD$1.30). Along with this you have your usual crepe/roti guy (I highly recommend the one with Nutella, banana and peanut butter. Sorry Paul!), and a variety of BBQ and fried proteins.
Clothes and other goods are limited at these markets, but they are so close by a lot of locals go every time they are open.