Markets are what shopping in Thailand is all about. The street markets in the beach areas sell all kinds of clothing, such as “brand name” t-shirts, DVD movies, watches, along with gift and souvenir items. Remember to compare prices, and bargain hard but with a smile. Ill-tempered bargaining often gets you nowhere in Thailand.
The fresh markets sell fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables. While they might not have too many items on a tourist’s shopping list, having a look around a fresh market can be an enjoyable way to mix with the local people and soak up the colours and smells. If you have a keen interest in Thai food and how it is prepared, a visit to a fresh market affords an opportunity to see all the ingredients that are used in Thai cooking before they are prepared as well as sample some tasty snacks.
Patong Beach Road
This is the main shopping street catering to tourists. All along the beach road south of Soi Bangla, and down a few of the small alleys, are stalls and shops selling cheap designer goods, beach wear, watches, some electrical goods and souvenir items. Quite a few stalls and shops are open during the day but the street really comes alive in the evenings. (See Patong shopping).
Bangla Road (Patong)
Pretty much a continuation of the stalls and shops along the beach road, interspersed with beer bars. As with the bars, the shopping is best in the evenings.
Patak Road (Karon Circle Area)
Similar to Patong Beach Road but with much fewer stalls and shops by comparison.
Taina Road (Kata)
Quite a few shops and stalls beginning at the intersection near Dino Park and continuing down Taina Road. Also some more shopping at the southern end of Kata, before the road goes over the hill to Kata Noi.
Chao Fah Variety (opposite Wat Nakha, Phuket City)
Also known as the new weekend market, this large market is located on the outskirts south of Phuket City, just off Chaofa West road opposite Wat Nakha (Nakha Temple). This is now Phuket’s largest weekend market having taken over from the now defunct Chatuchak (or Jatujak) Phuket market. There is a wide range of items on sale, including clothes, fashion accessories, pets, home decorations and plenty of delicious food.
Phuket Square (Tilok Uthit 2 Rd, Phuket City)
More of an air-conditioned indoor mall with stalls, Phuket Square is located near the Royal Phuket City Hotel. Features clothes, decorative items, furniture and household goods. Open everyday ’til late.
Cherng Talay Market (near Cherng Talay police station)
This market, which is open on Sundays and Wednesdays, is a much smaller version of the weekend market in Phuket City. There are stalls selling cheap clothes
Most locals in Phuket still buy much of their vegetables, fish and meats from fresh markets and there are dozens all over the island. Some of these operate everyday but most only operate a couple of days a week.
Ban Zaan Fresh Market
Phuket’s largest indoor fresh market, Baan Zaan is located just behind Jungceylon Shopping Centre in the centre of Patong. With plenty of parking and a food court on the upper level, this market is a great place to buy fresh produce for Thai cooking. In the evening, the area outside becomes a small night market where locals come to buy all manner of tasty food including barbequed meats and seafood, papaya salad, chilli pastes, and sugary snacks.
Downtown Market (Ranong Rd, Phuket City)
This market has been in existence since the city’s early history, when pirates and traders came to sell their wares or pick up supplies. These days the shoppers are mostly housewives and cooks but it is a buzzing and colourful market nonetheless.
Robinsons Market (Talad Kaset)
Located in a small road next to Robinsons Department Store this market is open during the morning hours. However, at night there are lots of food stalls serving cheap and tasty Thai food.
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