After spending the day basking in the tropical sun, cooling off with the occasional dip in the sea, kissed by the sea breeze, there is plenty of time to explore the other facets of the island. As the sun cools itself off with its daily plunge into the horizon and the heat of the day makes way for the cool evening, another way of life for Phuket’s visitors and residents is waking up: the night markets.
Heading into Phuket town, modern resorts fade away behind you as in front looms a distinct taste of the past. The streets are lined with colonial shop houses with a sense of history that will surely get you in the mood for the quintessential trade and bartering that defines the Asian shopping experience. Walking street, as its name implies, is a fantastic introduction to this experience, with its vibrant mix of foods, wares and entertainment. You can soak up the sensual feast, taking in the sights of the vividly lit Sino-Portuguese architecture and trendy clothing stalls. Sample flavours of foods that range from Western burgers to traditional Thai sweets, while being serenaded by the sumptuous sounds of various street performers. The place is more than just a market, projecting a feeling more akin to that of a vibrant community with the market acting as its backbone.
If you’re interested in a more rigorous shopping experience, then perhaps Naka market, or Phuket weekend market, is the place for you. With its plethora of stands selling everything from second-hand clothes to DVDs, there really is something for everyone willing to get sucked in. Watches, jewellery, clothes old and new, Naka market has everything you need to deck yourself out in the latest trends, or in something with a little more retro nostalgia. With your hunger for fashion sated, perhaps you’ll find yourself with some time to pick up the odd knick-knack, or maybe a souvenir for the family back home. Certainly you’re spoiled for choice, with perhaps the most difficulty in finding the time to cram everything in.
If these two markets aren’t quite what you’re looking for, then Chillva market might be more up your street, as it marries the best of both worlds. The selection of items on sale is impressive, and as it is very popular with the locals, you can be sure that it has everything for the discerning bargain hunter. Prices also reflect its more local feel, as well as the fact that it is very popular with trendy youngsters eager to pick up that essential and unique item to fill out their wardrobe. This popularity comes not only from the wide range and excellent value, but also from the very relaxed and funky vibe. Constructed from shipping containers, Chillva market has a very fresh and modern feel, laid out in such a way as to be simultaneously compact and roomy. Exploring everything that it has on offer is a pleasure, and has a feeling akin to a music festival.
This is just the beginning of discovering Phuket’s markets, giving you a different flavour on the theme. With a little more exploration perhaps you can find even more to dazzle your senses and find that perfect gift for a loved one, or even just to treat yourself.