Every market throughout the country features an amazing selection of local street snacks and meals, unique hand-crafted items, cheerful vendors and, of course, a wide array of fake designer goods, including “Roy Bans” sunglasses, “Addidas” sportswear and “Rulex” watches, among others.
Each of the best night markets in Thailand offer something different, whether it’s a special kind of goods, exceptionally low prices, special cultural shows or amazing food.
Market shopping in the places listed below offers the unequalled opportunity to witness local life and find one-of-a-kind souvenirs without wasting a beach day or sweltering under the midday sun, and it is justifiably listed as one of the must-try experiences in the Land of Smiles.
#1. Roi Fat Markets
There are, in fact, two Roi Fat Markets in Bangkok, but the biggest and best is found just behind Seacon Square Shopping Mall, on Srinakarin Soi 51. It is divided into three sections: Market Zone, Warehouse Zone and Rod’s Antiques. The Market Zone is what you would traditionally think of as a night market in Thailand, only bigger, with over 2,000 stalls selling anything from fashion to homeware. The Warehouse Zone and Rod’s Antiques are the really interesting parts, selling unique second-hand goods, from hobbyist items like old cameras and bikes to collectables and memorabilia.
#2. Rong Kluea Market
Also known as the Friendship Border Market, this massive swath of stalls and shops is not technically a night market as it remains open during the day. However, being among the biggest and busiest retail areas in Thailand, it is impossible not to mention it. Situated right alongside the Poipet Border Crossing into Cambodia (about 255 km east of Bangkok), it spans a huge area with thousands of vendors, many of them travelling visiting from neighbouring countries to offer new and interesting items. With so much choice in one place, prices for common goods (t-shirts, fake designer goods, cheap electronics, etc.) are rock bottom, while the chances of finding some unique and special souvenirs are very high. The choice of food available is also unrivalled in Thailand.
#3. JJ Green Night Market
JJ Green Night Market is part vintage flea market and part local drinking hangout. While many of the bars and established shops are open throughout the week, visiting from in the evening from Thursday to Sunday gives you the full experience, with shops specialising in cheap, second-hand clothes and genuine retro items like old car models, artwork, antiques and collectables. It is located just down the road from the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market, but has a much more relaxed, bohemian vibe.
#4. Fisherman’s Village Walking Street
The Fisherman’s Village Walking Street is probably the most popular weekly market on Koh Samui and attracts a huge number of tourists and Thais. The delightful old part of Bophut is a charming backdrop to a lively market, with food vendors, dancers, artists and, naturally, an impressive variety of goods on sale at excellent prices. This includes anything from unique craftworks to knock-off designer items, with lots of interesting options in between.
#5. Chiang Mai Walking Street
The Chiang Mai Walking Street extends across the majority of the lovely Old City, from the eastern gate to the entrance of Wat Phra Singh – a length of a little over a kilometre. Calling it a “walking street” is a slight inaccuracy because, being so popular, it’s virtually impossible to get up to any speed higher than a slow shuffle in places. Along the length of Ratchadamneon Road, you will find a great mix of street snacks, clothes, handicrafts and a very friendly atmosphere, among other wares.
#6. Chiang Rai Night Bazaar
The Night Bazaar covers four city blocks, presenting among the most remarkable range cultural and local crafts. What you will find here is a range of hill-tribe crafts, such as knitted scarves, embroidered bags, silver jewellery, bed spreads, wallets, fashion accessories and artworks, along with the usual choice of T-shirts, electronics and knock-off designer goods. It also has two outdoor stages for cultural performances and a beer garden/food court, where you can grab a quick snack or a sit-down meal. Vendors start to set up their stalls at around sunset, but it doesn’t get busy until after 19:00.
#7. Phuket Weekend Market
Known locally as Naka Market or Talad Tai Rot, the Phuket Weekend Market is the largest on the island and contains a massive selection of goods, from second-hand goods, curios, pirated items and a hefty amount of great local foods. Generally speaking, it’s easier to list what isn’t on sale here than what is! Mostly covered by a corrugated metal roof, it is dry in the rainy season, but also a little stuffy when it gets busy (which is any time after 19:00).
#8. Phuket Walking Street
One of the smallest and quietest walking street night markets in Thailand, it remains one of the best because of its beautiful setting, right in the heart of Phuket Old Town. The colourful buildings of Thalang Road provide a backdrop to the even more colourful performers and vendors, with traditional music alongside contemporary dance and stunt acts. It’s a great place for buying unique souvenirs and street snacks at low prices.
#9. Krabi Town Walking Street
Krabi Town Walking Street (Thanon Khon Dern in Thai) spreads along Soi Maharaj 8 and across the 2,000 sqm plaza right behind Vogue Department Store in downtown Krabi. With something like 50 stalls selling a wide range of products and street food, it draws an incredibly large crowd for such a small area. This weekly event is most notable for the wide variety of wares available, from the usual T-shirts and elephant pants to handmade leather handbags, gardening tools and pearl jewellery. It allows visitors to get a glimpse into southern Thailand life and discover local artisans and artists, who come here to present their products.
#10. Cicada Market
Cicada Market is all about art, handmade crafts and good times. With an open-air market concept, it brings together Hua Hin’s artistic talents and those who wear ‘freedom of expression’ on their sleeves. Besides the crafts market, you’ll also find an art gallery, beer garden and live music. Open only on weekend evenings, the market is usually packed with weekenders from Bangkok. It is located on Phetkasem Road, about halfway between Hua Hin town and Khao Takiab.