Phuket Weekend Market (Night Market)
Markets are where you can sample real life, local life - it's all laid bare for everyone to see. I've always been a big fan of markets and despite all the modern shopping malls and supermarkets that have sprung up around Phuket (Tesco Lotus, Big C, Central Festival, Jungceylon and more) the local markets are as lively as ever. You'll find fresh produce markets in all areas of Phuket, some daily, some only on selected days. One of the biggest is in Kathu in between Patong and Phuket Town - see Kathu Local Market. And the Phuket Town Main Market is well worth a look. See Markets in Phuket for an introduction to markets around Phuket.
The Phuket weekend market (aka Phuket night market) is located just outside Phuket City off Chao Fa West road, near Naka Temple. Due to the proximity of the temple, it's also locally called Naka Market (that's what my wife calls it). There's a Location Map at the end of this page. It's open Saturday and Sunday starting late afternoon, up to around 10pm. The weekend market is not really for buying fresh food, but there are stalls selling fruit and there are loads snack stalls for buying deserts, corn, drinks, spicy snacks, noodles and of course fried insects! I've been in Thailand since 1999. Never eaten a fried insect and have no plans to eat a fried insect. Ever.
It's one of those "you can get anything here" markets - you'll find entire stalls selling nothing but remote controls or comic books or fluffy toys. There are also some random secondhand stalls where you're never quite sure what you'll find. Many stalls sell clothes, new and secondhand. We visit the weekend market every few months if we happen to be passing. There are CD & DVD stalls (all originals of course!), handicrafts and antiques too. It's become very popular with tourists now, but don't expect to find something on the scale of Jatujak market in Bangkok.
You don't see many beggars in Phuket. So it's quite noticeable at the weekend market. Each time we go I see several poor souls with disabilities and I suppose no family to support them. Having traveled in some very poor countries in my life, I admit to having a hard heart, but here it stands out more. On our last visit I did give this guy some money...
The Phuket weekend night market starts up in the afternoon and carries on into the late evening. Many people go in the evening and it does get quite busy. Hard to park a car sometimes. We go there every now and then. My wife can always find some clothes to buy! If you go in the evening, you could more or less eat your dinner at the market by buying and sampling different snacks like the yummy (and slightly spicy) fish cakes below.
This blog tries to show a bit of local life and the weekend market / Naka market is a good place to start if you want to see the real Phuket (although quite a lot of other tourists also go!). Remember, it's Saturday and Sunday only. Try some snacks and food from the many foodstalls, grab a cold beer from the bar that can be found somewhere in the middle of the market... actually there are a few places selling drinks. Easy to get to from Phuket Town. If you come from Patong it takes about 25 minutes. I think a tuk tuk will charge about 400-500 Baht. Or you can rent a moped for about 200 - 250 Baht per day. Best to go late afternoon / early evening when the temperature cools down a bit. The night market gets busier after dark and can be really quite crowded. Enjoy!
Interesting Markets in Phuket
• Phuket Town Main Market (Daily)
• Thalang Road Walking Street (Sunday only)
• Chillva Market
• Indy Market (Wednesday/Thursday/Friday evenings)
• Karon Temple Market (Tuesday and Friday)
Phuket Weekend Market (Naka Market) - Location Map
View Phuket Weekend Market in a larger map