Naka Weekend Markets.
The Naka weekend markets is located in the Naka area of Phuket Town. Every taxi driver on the island knows where the Naka Markets are. They are open from about 6pm every Saturday and Sunday Night.
If you insist and driving yourself. To get there, you head north on the Chao Faa West Road and turn right at the traffic lights just before the big Central Festival intersection, its called the Naka Intersection. The Naka Markets are located about 300m along the road on the right hand side.
Seriously you can forget most of the other markets because this is my favourite. The prices are much more realistic here than the rest of Phuket, because this is where the local Phuketians shop.
When you enter the markets you head straight into a big outdoor bar area, there are lots of watering holes and if you keep going straight you will hit the food courts. There is also some money exchanges, plus plenty of cabs, tuk tuks and motorcycle taxis hanging around waiting for a fare.
If you hit a hard left you will end up in small enclosed lane ways that make up the majority of the market stalls. These lane ways run perpendicular to the main entrance road.
There is probably around 20 lane ways that run about 100 meters each, and literally hundreds of stalls.. Which basically means, there are plenty of bargains to be had!
There is also all the usual knock off goods here too, which we all love. If you cant see it, that doesn’t mean you cant get it. Just ask one of the vendors and the ‘coconut wireless’ will go into action. The word goes around the whole markets and someone should be able to rustle up what you need.
When bartering for clothes i always ask for a quarter of what the vendor is asking. Then aim for a 3rd of the price. If you can get knock off men’s T-shirts for between 200-250 Baht your doing well. Sunglasses should be around 200 Baht. Shorts should be around 300. Flip flops and sandles should be around 300 Baht. Football jumpers can be up around 800 Baht. When it comes to ladies fashions i am not entirely sure. But just remember women are smaller so its less material. Therefore should be cheaper. BUT remember the Naka Market isn’t Patong Beach. A lot of the prices are pretty close to the mark already.
Thais like to barter. But remember to do it with a smile, treat it like fun. Things are cheap in Thailand, but the locals still have to feed their families and make a little bit for themselves.
There are heaps of little art galleries around the markets.
This young lady was a bit camera shy, most of her paintings were of elephants, which are revered in Thailand.
Some artists do portraits, others will do various rock and roll stars and celebrities, and even landscapes / cityscapes.
A few artists specialise in Buddhist paintings. These are considered quite sacred and as a tourist / visitor to Thailand you should be a bit careful about taking these types of paintings out of the country, as you can be fined or cause offence. Basically if you are unsure, it is easy to ask. The Thais will be happy to tell you if it is uncool.
Different types of artists use different media and there are quite a lot of soap carvers at Naka Markets. Some of these carvings can raise the eyebrows.
All of these artists are very high quality and are a fraction of the cost of Europe, The Americas or Australasia
Other interesting items for sale at the markets include exotic pets, weapons and firecrackers. Pretty much anything goes here, but be wary of what you can actually take to your home country. A lot of western countries impose stiff penalties for seemingly harmless items that are sold all around Thailand.
Lastly, after the shopping is done. Everyone wants to chow down on some great food. The Naka Markets really has a different variety to what you would expect in the tourist areas. There is authentic Pad Thai wrapped in banana leaves starting at 20 Baht, Muslim curries with rice that start at 40 Baht. Also served up is fresh BBQ skewers, with either pork, chicken or seafood. Also because Phuket has a large Muslim population, you can even find a little bit of Arabic food here.
There is also an amazing array of deserts that you wont find in most restaurants, all at ridiculously low prices. You can grab a 3 course meal, then head with it to the one of the many bars at the front of the markets, remember, this is Thailand. Its acceptable to BYOF (Bring Your Own Food) to a bar as long as you are buying drinks 🙂
Naka Markets are only open on Saturday and Sunday from 6pm. A good idea is to incorporate a Naka Market visit as part of a Phuket City Tour.
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