This place is a superb place for sampling Thai dishes but also for buying trinkets, clothes, souvenirs etc. On top of that, nowadays it’s also an excellent second-hand marketplace (mostly for clothes and shoes)! I am really happy that Thais have also adopted the idea of recycling because, in this country, wardrobe items, furniture, etc. get thrown away easily.
I will quickly explain the reason for this. My Thai friend made the remark and I totally get the logic: Here it is so humid that things actually get mouldy or ruined quite fast. (I don’t mean to sound mean now when I’m saying this:) It is not just the lack of education or awareness on environmental issues. There is also a practical reason behind it (if I am being brutally honest, unfortunately, Thailand is still a bit backward when it comes to recycling but luckily, I see improvements every year as well).
Saturday night market on Koh Phangan in a nutshell
Also known as
Chinese Walking Street market, Walking Street Market, or as Thais would say it “thanon khon dern” which literally means road person walk.
In Koh Phangan, Thailand. The market happens in Thong Sala which is the main village of the island and the port hub also. The market stretches from the Thong Sala Police station all the way to the end of the Chinese walking street.
Every Saturday from 5pm until 10pm.
Remember to stand up and stay still 6pm sharp when the national anthem is broadcast from the loudspeakers.
In general, this is not the place for haggling. Food items have set prices. If you are buying clothes or expensive handicrafts you can try to ask for a small discount. Similarly, if you are buying in bulk, you can try to negotiate a lower price.
Carry some tissues with you in case you want to wipe your hands after eating some oily snacks.
There are public toilets in the park next to the Police station but I have never used them. The entrance was 5 baht if I remember correctly.
Water and other refreshments are sold in case you get thirsty. However, in my opinion, it’s good to refill your water bottle whenever you can so you don’t always have to buy a new one.
There are numerous small stalls that sell both salty and sweet food. Most of the portions are on the smaller side but I think it’s better this way. You are able to sample different kinds of tucker. If you are really hungry, perhaps you can buy a whole grilled fish. It’s really delicious!
All the staple Thai foods such as phad thai, no-name fritters, thai sausages, curries etcetera are available. If you want to be more adventurous, try the Isan (North-East Thailand) originated food; crickets, worms etc. There is a smiling and friendly, older local guy who is blasting psytrance while selling these crunchy treats.
Because no meal would be perfect without a dessert. They have modern delicacies, such as cakes, brownies and doughnuts, but also Thai khanom (sweet or dessert in Thai). I would advise you to try some of the local specialities.
Some might not be to your liking but at least for me, the coconut-based sweets are usually super yummy. Why not try eg. coconut waffle, pancakes or custard-type sweet that is wrapped in banana leaves. The latter is just delicious!
If you are a sweetaholic (just came up with this one) or a chocoholic, have a look at this post on the divine chocolate brunch in Bangkok.
If you haven’t tried the coconut ice-cream yet, now it’s about time. You can choose different toppings and sauces and it’s still only about 50b. Or why not try the new hit, frozen yogurt that is made in front of your eyes.
I like browsing through the clothes here. You can make real bargains and, obviously, when you buy second hand, you can find something special that the others don’t have. And save the whales, yippee (haha). Prices are around 50 baht so it’s not gonna blow your bank either.
Local Thais sell especially jewellery but also souvenirs and clothes. There are a lot of handicraft shops along the actual Chinese walking street section, such as locally made handbags, belts and a silversmith.
The lady selling sweet and savoury samosas is one of my favourite stalls. Flavours range from tomato-mozzarella, spinach-ricotta, chicken, vegetable to banana-chocolate and coconut. They are only about 10-20 baht anyway so you can try different flavours. Because they are so good it obviously gets busy here. You might need to wait for your turn a bit (not too long, don’t worry). Her stall is near the rotunda, where the Chinese Walking Street ends and you can see the beach.
Another good one is an old lady selling seafood omelets, prices starting from 50 baht. I must warn you though, a lot of oil is used for frying. As with the samosa lady, you might need to wait for your portion. But don’t worry, I can guarantee it will be worth it.
In general, be prepared to accept the fact that many of the dishes are deep-fried. Nevertheless, you can find some western-type salads as well as Thai somtum (papaya salad). There is sushi and Vietnamese spring rolls but otherwise, the food is on the heavier side.
If you are feeling stuffed and heavy, why not sit down for a cold beverage at one of the restaurants and pubs along the market area. It’s nice to rest your feet and watch the mix of the locals and farangs (non-Thais) alike enjoying their Saturday evening.
Need more tips on what to do here? Why not try the awesome saunas and steam rooms on Koh Phangan.
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