This is a guest post by Koren Cohen of City Gal on the Go.
I find one of the best ways to immerse myself in local culture when traveling is to visit a local market. Markets are a fantastic way to sample local cuisine and see what the locals are eating, purchasing and wearing. I’ve seen my share of interesting markets around the world, but nothing compares to the markets in Thailand. Although there are certainly many things to do in Thailand, I highly recommend visiting at least one market. Chatuchak in Bangkok is perhaps the most widely known Thai market and Damnoem Saduak is the most popular floating market to visit, the best markets to visit in Thailand are often overlooked by visitors.
Here are three Thai markets that you shouldn’t miss:
It’s a pretty amazing sight to see. Minutes before the train runs through the market, vendors lower their awnings and stand back from the tracks. Vendors have become particularly adept at positioning their produce so it barely escapes being crushed multiple times a day. Once the train passes, business resumes as usual.
How to get to the Maeklong Railway Market:
The approximately 2-hour trip to the Maeklong Railway Market is an adventure in itself! To get to the Maeklong Railway Market, take the train from Wong Wian Yai train station in Bangkok to Mahachai. Mahachai is the last stop on the line, and this leg of the trip will take you approximately 1 hour. When you arrive at Mahachai, exit the train left, walk through the station, then turn right and walk through the fish market. When you reach the end of the street, you will see a ferry on your left; take this ferry across the river to Ban Laem. When you exit the ferry, walk through the covered market and turn right onto the street. Follow this street for about 10 minutes until you reach the Ban Laem train station. Wait there until the next train arrives. Take this train all the way to Maeklong, the last stop on the line. You’ll know you have arrived at the Maeklong Railway Market because you will be on the train when it passes through the market!
Amphawa Floating Market
There are many floating markets in Thailand, but Amphawa Floating Market is my favorite. Amphawa Floating Market sits on the Amphawa canal, a network of several canals connecting to the Maeklong River.
The vendors at Amphawa serve some of the best local seafood in Thailand. Watching the vendors cook and prepare the seafood on the boats is a truly unique experience.
How to get to Amphawa Floating Market:
Phuket Night Market
If you’re into Thai street food, the Phuket Night Market has some of the best street food in Thailand. The market is open every weekend from late afternoon into evening and has the widest selection of ready-to-eat street food I saw in Thailand. The market sells everything from fresh fruit (dragon fruit and pineapple), veggies (corn on the cob and Thai beans) and seafood (prawns, fried fish, squid skewers and sushi) to every dessert you never knew existed. The Phuket Night Market is also the place to go if you’re craving some of the more adventurous Thai dishes:
Bugs. The Phuket Night Market sells an array of bugs for consumption. I was daring and at the urging of a very nice Thai woman, ate a few maggots. They were fried and dipped in sauce, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. I hate to admit this, but they were fairly tasty!
How to get to the Phuket Night Market:
The Phuket Night Market is located just outside Phuket Town. To get there, hire a taxi or a tuk tuk from Phuket Town or one of the beaches.
With all there is to do on a trip to Thailand, it’s difficult to decide what to do when your time is limited. I hope this post encourages you to consider adding at least one visit to a local market when in Thailand!
How to plan your trip to Thailand:
If you’re planning to travel to Thailand, I recommend you check out my post on How to Spend Two Weeks in Thailand and Tips for Traveling Around Thailand, as well as these helpful guidebooks to take with you on your trip. I only travel with Lonely Planet!