Koh Samui Markets
The word "markets" can be sometimes confusing, as often people wrap this up with the idea of shopping, too. Unlike Bangkok, Koh Samui does not have giant shopping markets that sell everything from designer handbags to jewellery. On Koh Samui, the word 'markets' refers solely to those areas that are known for their huge range of foodstuffs. This can be simply where fish, meat, herbs, spices, fruit and vegetables are sold, or it can also refer to 'eating places' - such as Nathon's night food market - where big collections of food stalls are all assembled in one place.
The 'vegetable markets' on Koh Samui are worthy of a trip in their own right, as you'll see things that will have you reaching for your camera. Giant, spiky durian fruits that are bigger than your head. Huge banana-flower buds weighing a couple of kilos each. Basically, in Thailand, if it grows, walks or crawls, you can eat it! With this in mind, keep an eye out for stalls selling grilled grubs, grasshoppers and even scorpions. If you plan a trip like this, pay someone from your resort a few hundred baht to accompany you to explain what these things are and what they're used for - the stallholders don't speak English and you'll be glad you had a guide with you!
Koh Samui is an island, and thus fresh seafood is to be found everywhere, leading to a third type of market, Samui's fish markets. And, like all markets that sell fresh produce, these are at their busiest around dawn, when new supplies are coming in and buyers are scrambling for bargains to stock their restaurants for the day to come.
Chaweng has its long-established market in Laem Din, close to the lake and at the beginning of the road leading to the Reggae Pub. Some years ago, this was smaller and for foodstuffs only, but today it has expanded to include stalls outside that are selling clothes and household goods, too. The food section here closes not long after lunchtime.
Lamai Market is a traditional food market with about the same assortment as in Chaweng market, but is much smaller. It is located on the ring road, close to the PTT petrol station and Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri bank).
Bang Rak Market
Mainly a fresh fish market, this is situated right opposite where the road from the airport joins the beach road. There's also food stalls and several stalls with clothes and DVDs.
Mae Nam Market
Two in Mae Nam - the early-morning produce market, not far from the old ferry pier in the centre, opens early and closes early. And the food market, about one kilometre West, remains open until late at night.
Take your pick. Firstly, there's the famous Night Food Market on the concourse of the old ferry pier. The mobile food-carts begin to assemble at around 4:00 pm and in the early evening the whole place is a hive of activity, with just about every kind of food available. A little further along the Sea Road, there's also a small and sporadic road market where fish is sold as and when a boat comes in. But continue about half a kilometre though Nathon and you'll find the big fish market straddling both sides of the road. All manner of seafood is available here, but the best has been sold by mid-morning.
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