Where to find Phuket Markets and what to expect?
Fresh markets in Phuket are always a great way to get close to real, local life with minimal effort. Markets are everywhere around the island, every community and every village has one, small or large, permanent or occasional. Some are daily markets, often open until the end of the afternoon, some are available only certain days of the weeks. Only a few city markets are inside clean concrete buildings, such as the Banzaan Market, but most are just wood poles and plastic sheets in a field.
Local markets are more fun than city markets, and you’ll discover more unusual veggies and foods. Don’t let the ‘raw’ look of meat fool you; it is fresher than the met sold in aseptic wrappings under shiny light at the supermarket. A section of the market sells fresh products, another part foods and condiments and a lot of dishes cooked on the spot. Further, you will find clothing, cooking and home accessories with mountains of colourful plastic containers and buckets. And even second-hand shoes! (does second hand applies to shoes?)
The Thai Fruits corner is always popular in Phuket markets; you might recognise two-thirds of the fruits on display, depending on how much you travelled. Most entertaining fruits might be those huge spiky stinky Durians, the ones you smell before you see, and their little ugly cousins ‘Jackfruits’ which can be even bigger but less pungent. The unusual magenta ones are the dragon fruits, which sounds scary but rather tasteless, just a little sweet. The yellow star-fruits are delicious but don’t look like stars until you slice them.
Then you have all the classics Thai fruits: Mangosteens, Rambutans and Longans. The veggie area is also enjoyable. After so many years in Thailand, I have no idea what half the green stuff on sale can be, mostly it looks like someone is selling all the weed from his backyard. Now If you go local and try a big local hardcore favourite one, buy some ‘Sa Tor‘, or stinky Beans. Don’t forget to send me your feedback.
Meat and fish sections are the smelliest (read stinkiest). Catfishes are all wriggling, even out of the water for hours, shells spit at you, and the meat is hanging in front of your nose like Christmas garlands. If you happen to be still hungry after that, move to one of the cooking areas where you’ll be able to witness how local dishes are prepared. It can be a real show, and it’s entertaining to try, especially Mang Da Na, the fried Giant Water Bugs, a treat.
- Banzaan Market, in Patong Beach behind Jungceylon Shopping Center. Very clean and nice and easy to visit. Good photo opportunities.
- Nanai Fresh Market, on Nanai road, the third road of Patong Beach, is not so far from Banzaan.
- The City Market in Phuket Town, opposite of Thai Airways, in front of the local ‘blue bus‘ station). Interestingly, two-thirds of the shops didn’t want to move into the new market, and you will still find them somewhere across the road n a small soi.
- The old Market in Phuket Town, behind Robinson shopping centre (a bit smelly, but good choice of goods)
Permanent Local Markets
- Kamala Beach Market, when you arrive from Patong Beach, on your right, you can’t miss it
- Kathu Market, opposite Caltex Station
- Thalang Fresh Market, right at the Heroines Monument on the way to the airport.
Scheduled Markets (on specific days)
- Karon Temple Market (Every Tuesday and Friday)
- Chalong market, near Wat Chalong
- Sam Kong Market is hard to find, not far from Bangkok Phuket Hospital.
- Phuket Weekend Naka Market, aka Phuket Chatuchak, because of its resemblance to the giant Bangkok weekend market. This Market sells mostly cloth and fake brands, lots of ‘things’ that can’t be described. Most people enjoy it and try lots of fun food at the same time. No fresh market in there.
- Chillva Night Market is the newest and most entertaining young market in Phuket Town
- Phuket Walking Street Market on Thalang Road, in the historical part of Phuket town
- Phuket Indy Market is also popular on weekdays in Phuket town