Bordering Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Malaysia many simply know of the country as Thailand.
Although officially named The Kingdom of Thailand this Southeast Asia country is one of the most visited places in the region. Thailand is a tourist wonderland featuring tons of great things to check out from temples and ancient structures to white-sand beaches and of course who can forget the food.
What sets Thailand apart as one of the best tourist destinations is that there is something interesting to see no matter where you are in the country. Every region has something worth taking in and experiencing. The bustling and frantic fast pace of Bangkok is different from the nightlife of Pattaya which is vastly different from the beachy and laid-back Phuket.
But if there’s one thing that you can find ubiquitously all over Thailand, if there’s one thing that the entire country has in common. It’s the concept of the street market.
Street Markets can be found all over the country and in just about any country in Asia. Thai street markets have just about everything and anything from food to clothes and everything else in between. There are some big ones and some smaller ones but if you’re someone who loves shopping then Thai street markets are going to be for you.
Haggling is the norm and if there’s something you can’t find at one of these places, then you probably don’t need it. If you’re in Thailand be sure to check out these iconic street markets.
If there’s one market you absolutely need to go to while you’re in Thailand, make sure it’s the legendary Chatuchak Market. The market is not only one of the biggest in the country but it is likely one of the biggest in the world.
Chatuchak Market is the mother of all markets consisting of everything from the entirety of the shopping spectrum. Chatuchak Market has a whopping 15,000 different market stalls and brings in over 200,000 people on an average weekend. The sheer size of it can be a little intimidating if you’ve never been before but fear not because it isn’t total anarchy. The market is divided into 27 sections where each section sells a different type of thing.
Chatuchak Market is a must-visit landmark in itself being popular with tourists and locals alike. Take a stroll through the art section and feel like you’re walking through an art gallery or head to the dining area and take in all the smells and sights of some of the most delicious food you’ll ever have.
Hua Hin Night Market
For some people when the clock strikes 5, it’s time to head home from work.
For the people at the Hua Hin Night Market, when the clock hits 5 it’s showtime. During the day you might not even think something important is here but almost in the blink of an eye, stalls, and shops open up and the Hua Hin Night Market comes to shine. The market is located between a rail line and a busy road in Hua Hin and its proximity to the waterways means that some of the best seafood in the area can be found here.
Enjoy some grilled prawns caught fresh of grilled fish curries that hit all your senses. Hua Hin Night Market has some amazing food that’s always fresh and will never disappoint.
Rod Fai Market
Although not as hectic and eclectic as the Chatuchak Market, the Rod Fai Market offers a little something different with a bit of a similar style.
Also located in the Bangkok area, the Rod Fai Market is the cool little brother of Chatuchak featuring an open outdoor concept with a ton of weird things to buy. Sift through vintage clothes from leather moto jackets to colorful hippie-inspired clothes. If you’re looking for something like shoes, they got it, if you’re looking for vintage 1960s Japanese action figures, they got that too and if you’re looking for a French chandelier, look no further! Because they also have that.
This quirky market is divided into three sections and has a food section as well so you can always grab a bite while you’re chandelier shopping.
Saturday Walking Street
Located in the beautiful area of Chiang Mai, the region is known for its gorgeous landscapes of rivers, dense greenery, and lush mountains. Chiang Mai is colloquially known as the “Northern Capital” and is a tourist hot spot.
The area is known for day-trippers and backpackers but when the sun goes down and the people on day tours head to bed, Saturday Walking Street is there for the night owls. Though it might be small in comparison to some other markets found around the country, Saturday Walking Street is offbeat and weird.
The market is hosted by locals featuring products curated by the locals so everything here has a very personal and homemade feeling to it. Browse handmade art and handicrafts of grab authentically made snacks.
What sets Saturday Walking Street apart from other markets is that they are open all night long. In fact, as the night goes on and the sun starts to rise, that’s when Saturday Walking Street reaches its peak. Truly a market for the night owls out there.
Soi Buakhao Market
Located in Pattaya, the Soi Buakhao Market is one of the busiest in the area. The idea behind this eclectic and busy place is that it will essentially be a one-stop-shop for just about anything from fresh fruits, to prepared meals and even things like clothes and shoes. Browse through stalls and stalls of things like cheap electronics, souvenirs, and handmade crafts. But be sure to check out their food options and indulge in some Thai green curry or tom yum soup.
If you’re a foodie and you’re looking to savor some of the most delicious dishes and foods from Thailand, then checking out Warorot Market should be at the top of your list. The Warorot Market is located in Chiang Mai and almost really more of a gigantic supermarket focusing a lot on food and fresh produce. With its emphasis on food, you can expect to find a lot of locals going about their day and doing their shopping.
The Warorot Market is right in the middle of town and opens up at the crack of dawn and has some of the cheapest wares you can find. So if you’re a traveler on a budget and you’re looking for some cheap eats that are without a doubt delicious, definitely head to Warorot Market.
Neon Night Market
While other markets in Bangkok have had some time to get into public consciousness and have a following, Neon Night Market is relatively new but making some major headway especially with the youth of the city. Neon Night Market is the cool alternative to a lot of the other markets that have a more traditional and rigid structure.
The Neon Night Market is located in downtown Bangkok and has a giant neon sign out front with tons of little light lights illuminating the whole area.
Shopping for things like clothes, accessories, and handmade goods is what you’ll find here but they also have a huge food section. Head by the giant tanks and fish for your food, have it prepared and made right in front of you for some of the literally freshest seafood you’ll ever eat. In the back of the market is a bar section with different little bar setups made from recycled shipping containers, so you can shop and bar hop at the same time.
If Warorot is for foodies then Cicada Market is for the artists and the art lovers out there. Cicada Market is an open-air market in Hua Hin and aims to be primarily geared towards selling locally made art, handmade crafts, and accessories, as well as paintings and drawings. Browse through the myriad of colorful photographs and paintings while also getting to know the people who create them. Most artists sell their wares directly so anything you buy will likely go to the artist themselves.
Located in Bangkok’s Chinatown, Sampeng Market is a weird, vibrant, and tight spot. The market is not like your typical market with wide spaces and divisions of stalls. Sampeng Market is mostly located along a narrow alley in the Chinatown district packed wall to wall with stalls and vendors.
The Chinese community has been here since the 18th century and has carved out a little piece of China in the bustling streets of Bangkok. The Sampeng Market alleyway is a little over half a mile long and you’ll find everything here from clothes to knickknacks as well as shoes and clothes.
What sets Sampeng Market apart from other markets is its Chinese-centered goods. Pick up some Chinese tea and silk or things like porcelain and herbs. Of course, if you’re hungry you can find some of the best Chinese food in the city here.
Phuket Weekend Market
Phuket is one of the busiest cities in Thailand and is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the country.
Phuket is in the southern part of the country and facing the Andaman Sea coastline makes it the country’s biggest beach destination for tourism and resort-goers. So it goes without saying that Phuket Weekend Market brings in plenty of tourists and locals all looking for a bargain. The market is dense and pretty busy, which isn’t unsurprising considering the market only runs on the weekend.
Walk through the stalls and take in the bright colors of the fresh food and good and even stop by at a vendor and indulge in some chicken skewers or fried crickets if you’re feeling adventurous.
ArtBox Night Market
ArtBox Night Market takes what people love about hitting the markets and twists it into a new and modern style.
ArtBox Night Market is hip and cool and what makes it so unique in comparison to other markets in Bangkok is that it is never stationary in one place at once. ArtBox Night Market moves around the city, usually setting up around gardens and near public transportation links. They move on a monthly basis so be sure to check out where they are currently ahead of time before heading out to see it. ArtBox Night Market has even been known to move abroad a couple of times as well.
ArtBox Night Market has a focus on handmade and art shopping giving it a very artistic and hipster vibe. But there is also amazing food to try out as well as live music and small funky bars set up in shipping containers.
Tourists beware, the Klongsan Market is not the place where many tourists go and so you might be a little hard-pressed to find someone that speaks English. But don’t let that deter you, if you’re looking for an authentic Thai market experience then Klongsan Market is the place.
Bringing in mostly locals means that everything sold here is at a low price and is super authentic. You won’t find kitschy souvenirs but you will find trendy shoes and clothes as well as accessories and food. Everything sold here at the Klongsan Market are things your typical Bangoker might buy.
There are a million reasons why Thailand is one of the biggest hot spots for tourism. The accommodations are cheap, the food is affordable and fresh, and the sights around the country are some of the most incredible. Whether you’re the type of person to want to lounge on the beach or the type to trek through hills and mountains, there is something in Thailand for you. And while you’re here, make sure to hit up the bustling and fun markets, pick out something to bring back home with, and maybe also something tasty to fill your stomach while you shop!
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