Phuket Markets, where to find them what to expect
Phuket markets are a great way to get close to real local life with very little effort, and Phuket is not different. Markets are everywhere around the island, every community and every village has one, small or large, permanent or occasional. Some are daily market, often open until the end of the afternoon, some are available only certain days of the weeks. Only few city markets are located inside nice clean concrete buildings, such as the Banzaan Market, but most are just made of wood poles and plastic sheets in a field.
Local markets are more fun than city markets… you’ll discover more unusual veggies and foods. Don’t let the ‘raw’ look of meat fool you, it is fresher than the supermarket meat in its nice shiny light and aseptic wrapping. A section of the market will sell fresh products, another part foods and condiments and a lot of dishes cooked on the spot, then further 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 recognize 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 cute magenta ones are the dragon fruits, which sounds scary but in fact is rather tasteless, and the yellow star fruits which don’t look like stars… until you slice them.
Then you have all the classics Thai fruits: Mangosteens, Rambutans and Longans. Veggie area is really interesting… 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). Cat fishes 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 the cooking areas where you’ll be able to witness how local dishes are prepared. It can be a real show and it’s really fun to try, especially Mang Da Na, the fried Giant Water Bugs, a treat.
City Markets (concrete covered and not-so-smelly):
- Banzaan Market, in Patong Beach behind Jungceylon Shopping Center. Very clean and actually nice and easy to visit. Good photo opportunities.
- Nanai Fresh Market, on Nanai road, the third road of Patong Beach, not so far from Banzaan actually.
- New Market in Phuket Town, opposite of Thai Airways (it’s known as the local bus station). Interestingly, two third of he shops didn’t want to move in 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 center (kind of smelly, but actually pretty good choice)
Permanent Local Markets:
- Karon Temple Market
- Kamala Beach Market, just 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 airport.
Scheduled Markets (on specific days)
- Chalong market, near Wat Chalong
- Sam Kong Market… hard to find this one, not far from Bangkok Phuket Hospital.
- Phuket Weekend Naka Market, aka Phuket Chatuchak because its resemblance with the giant Bangkok week end market. This Market sells mostly cloth and fake brands, lots of ‘things’ that can’t be described. Best is to go and have a look, it’s past Central Festival Phuket. 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
- See also the young Phuket Indy Market