If you truly want to get to know a Thai village, town or city you have to visit the market. From small village markets to the huge expansive Bangkok city markets.
If it’s an insight into what is happening locally you are after the market is the place to start.
Thai markets come in a few different styles, but one thing they all have is food. Whether you are shopping for fresh goods or souvenirs, at any Thai market you can always eat.
Firstly mid-morning can be anytime from 10.30am right until midday, and that’s the way Thailand is. Nothing is set in stone, everything is fluid and you will notice this walking around Khuk Khak market in the morning.
Some people are moving quickly, grabbing breakfast or maybe lunch for work. Some people are more relaxed, taking their time to look around the array of fresh produce available.
Khuk Khak market has a beautiful array of local fruits and veg, along with some of Thailand’s more unknown fruits and herbs. It’s a great place to get a treat, something different than the standard pineapple and watermelon. (Although still great choices).Rambutan, Langsat, Dragon-fruit and Rose-apples are common place here and all delicious.
As you move through the market you head into the meat, fish and dry goods areas. Here the market is very different. Thai’s really understand what it is, to use the whole thing when cooking, something that is sadly being lost slowly around other parts of the world. So expect to see some bits of meat you may not have seen for a while or even before. If you arrive here between 7-8.30 am it is not uncommon to see local chefs buying and bartering for cuts of meat and fish for the day ahead. It can sound a little heated at times, but it’s just the local dialect and the fast pace it is spoken at.
Dry goods start at the curry paste lady. Large clay pots on a table piled high with different curry pastes and spice blends. Thai cooks take these very seriously. Some pastes are for soup and soup alone, some for frying, some dry, some wet, so if you are wanting to make a dish, and make it well, you need the right paste.
Around here you can buy nuts, seeds and oils etc., the standard Thai store cupboard essentials.
Bang Niang market is located in pretty much in the centre of Khao Lak and Khuk Khak opposite the Police 813 boat and Tsunami memorial.
As often with afternoon markets they are mainly the souvenir markets. Thai crafts, silks, soaps, clothes to name a few things available. You may say this is Khao Lak’s shopping centre.
The market is split into three wide lanes or alleys with stores lining both sides.
The market starts at the road with the food stalls. BBQ chicken, pork, satay, curries, to sweet treats like donuts and ice creams make a great entrance way to the main shopping area.
There is a little kebab store on the right hand lane as you enter, who embraces the Land of smiles title of Thailand fully. Service with a smile is guaranteed, so she is often busy, however no problem she will deliver to Songs Bar, located just 20 meters further in. Songs Bar is a long established market Bar, and is a great place to unwind with a cold beer, cocktail or a soda. The staff here are happy go lucky, and will always be having fun. The market then splits into the three main shopping lanes, with a mish mash of stalls offering goods. This is the section where you can barter a little.
It is a part of the game in souvenir stalls, more so than the fresh produce markets. If you can play the game with a smile on your face and be cheeky a little fun when buying your gifts is sure to follow. But this is what it is; it’s a fun, game like transaction. Don’t get to bullish as Thai culture is very anti confrontational. You can always say thank you and move on to avoid causing offence.
At the rear of the market there is a small fresh market section, again full of great fresh Thai produce. Perfect place to pick up some last minute dinner bits, some fresh fruit for breakfast or an evening G&T.
Khuk Khak afternoonn market is the new kid on the block.
As with some many markets across Thailand, small road side markets often grow into bigger more permanent fixtures.
Here is no different, over the last year or so the road side market was growing almost daily. In August of 2020 a large section of land was cleared and large roof structure was built to house the every growing market. The markets growth during this time proves how important markets are to the Thai culture and day to day life.
The market houses a mixture of fresh and cooked foods, sweet treats and beverages. There are also a few stalls selling clothes, household items, kitchen knives, pestles and mortars etc.
The afternoon market has a few colourful characters, and is much louder and more fun than the morning markets. Music is played is some parts, but the general market buzz is there for all to see, people bartering, chatting, laughing.
Muay Thai veg man is very good. Wearing Muay Thai shorts and a balaclava only, he dances and shouts promotions to passers by, and seems to be really enjoying himself.
The cooked foods located at the front and surrounding the market lead into the fresh food section at the rear.
There are lots of delicious treats available from all over Thailand. Spicy sausage from the north, to salt baked fish from the south, all served with many spicy or sour condiments, it is very easy to wind away time here eating and drinking.
This market is only going to grow and become more diverse as time passes. A must visit during your time here.
So named as it is located next to Khao Lak’s night club; The Build Factory.
The Build Market has more of a social meeting place about it. A good mix of holiday makers, Expats and Thais all sit here have a cold beer or a mojito or two listening to the preforming bands or artists.
Made up primarily of old shipping containers this market has a very cool and unique feel to it. The layout is a little like a H with the central area been the focal point. The central area is more food and drink based, focused around a stage area where live music is performed.
The two outside lanes as such make up the gift shops etc.
A not to miss if you are a meat lover is the clay pot pork stall. Pork ribs, chops and knuckles cooked over coal in clay pots. Served with spicy sauce or sweet chilli, great bar snack food!
Around the market all the food hawkers offer a varied array of food, salads, fish, spring rolls, all available to eat straight away, at the seating area or wrapped up for treats at home.
Later as the market draws to a close, the warehouse bar near the front of the market becomes livelier.
Dressed to impress and ready to party, a few drinks here then into the build factory. Bright or UV clothing is common place, with body paints and hair styles to match. The dancing continues into the early hours, or outside people sit and watch sports and chat as the temperature in the evening is much cooler.
Walking markets are set up within the streets of a town. Takua Pa old town makes the perfect setting for this.
As you walk up the street, look above the market and you will see a mixture of architecture. Old style wood houses, to houses featuring stone carved window and door lintels give a glimpse into the history of Takua Pa.
A varied selection of gifts and souvenirs are on display as you meander up the street.
About halfway down the street you will notice a void where a house used to be, nestled in this space a street hawker has set up a coffee store. Shade provided from the building remaining either side, make this a cool place to sit, grab a coffee and relax a little before continuing up the road.
As you continue up the street you will notice the food here, it differs from other markets in the area.
Much more local and often finger food, you can eat as you shop, no sit down meals here.
During the high season local school children will dance traditional Thai dance on a stage near the car park area also and dotted throughout the market locals will demonstrate old Thai food process such as separating the rice grain from the chaff using traditional methods.
Interested in booking a Takua Pa market trips?