With an impressive range of markets scattered across the island, Phuket is nothing short of a shopper’s paradise. Whether you are on a quest to splash all the Thai Baht burning a hole in your pocket or merely to sample a little local flavour, shopaholic travellers exploring the island's markets are spoilt for choice. Even better news is that the vast majority of Phuket’s markets are also perfumed with the delightful aroma of freshly cooked Thai food, making them a great place to grab a bite once the shopping session is complete.
Phuket Weekend Market
Known locally as Naka Market, Phuket's weekend market stretches along a significant part of Chao Fa West Road just outside Phuket Town. The list of goods on offer seems endless, which makes Naka a great spot for visitors that want to sample the best of what a full blown Thai market has to offer. In the covered section of the market, keen shoppers can explore a range of curious items, including local souvenirs and gifts. Outside, electronics, clothing and jewellery can all be found in abundance. Visitors in search of a hearty meal can simply head to the right of the market’s main entrance to discover the array of street food stalls, where everything from fresh fruit to deep fried insects is on offer. The market tends to get going at around 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, and the stalls tend to stay open until around 9pm.
Phuket Walking Street
Situated in the charming heart of the Old Town, Phuket Walking Street is a favourite shopping location for locals and foreigners alike. The market spans the length of Thalang Road, which is home to some of Phuket’s most attractive Sino Portuguese architecture, and in tune with the setting, the walking street is a top choice for visitors in search of local handicrafts and souvenirs. Local entrepreneurs have even started producing unique Old Town souvenirs that show off the shapes and colours of the area's historical treasures. For visitors in search of some good food, there is also an impressive array of food stalls offering dishes such as barbecued squid, chicken and pork to enjoy before indulging in sweet treats such as mango sticky rice or fresh durian.
Patong Tourist Strip
Patong is Phuket’s biggest tourist magnet, and as such, it follows that shopping opportunities abound. Every evening the streets are lined with stalls selling everything from copy CDs to Red Bull T-Shirts, and small boutiques offer jewellery and crafts. Patong’s Banzaan Market offers more of a local twist and is housed in a contemporary building where stalls are arranged spaciously, according to what they sell. Banzaan is a popular stop for locals buying their groceries, with fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, seafood, spices and flowers creating a colourful assault on your senses and your camera. Overall, this market offers visitors the chance to enjoy the best of a Thai food market, but with a little more space to breathe.
Located near to the entrance of the Laguna Phuket Resort Complex, Boat Avenue is probably the island’s newest retail offering, as it only opened in December 2013. The long shopping street boasts plenty of chic local fashion boutiques, and the attached Villa Supermarket is a hotspot for foreign expats shopping for home comforts including everything from Italian cured meats to Somerset cider. Boat Avenue provides a convenient alternative for visitors staying in the north western part of the island that don’t want to make the longer journey to Phuket Town or Patong. As well as its permanent array of shops, it also hosts its own Fun Friday Avenue Weekly market with food, clothes and curios a-plenty. Things generally get going at around 4pm, and visitors that arrive early often get their shopping done before heading to one of the Avenue’s restaurants for dinner.
Visitors staying on the west coast of Phuket often gravitate towards Karon Bazaar, which is positioned between the Woraburi Phuket Resort and the Moenvenpick Resort. Housed in a covered area measuring approximately 6,000 square metres, this flourishing tourist market is a place where visitors and locals can get their hands on pretty much anything. Fashion accessories include everything from jewellery to purses and handbags, and fly off the shelves at Karon Bazaar, which is open every day from 10am until late in the evening.
Posted by Max Vee