When you go on a beach holiday, you don’t necessarily expect to find awesome markets. That’s why taking a vacation in Hua Hin, Thailand is so fun. Not only is Hua Hin one of the country’s best beach resorts, it also has several excellent markets where cheap shopping abounds, and where you’ll find some of the coolest clothing, arts and crafts, and souvenirs in town.
Cicada Market – The best, and newest, market in Hua Hin is the Cicada Market. Located at Suan Sri in the Khao Takiab area of Hua Hin, Cicada Market only opened in 2010 but it’s alread the most popular market in town.
The market opens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at around 4pm and goes on until midnight. As many of the vendors are artists or craftspeople, you’ll find some of the most unique items in Thailand here and definitely things you’ll never see in Bangkok. Look for hand-painted t shirts, shoes,clothing, bags, jewelry, drawings and paintings, handmade dolls (with the cutest little crocheted dresses), make-up bags, leather belts, secondhand clothes and more. Prices are cheap; especially for such beautiful handmade things.
Cicada Market also has an excellent open-air food market with delicious, and cheap, Thai food and drinks. Grab dinner here, then wander around do some shopping, and swing by the open-air amphitheater as there’s live music every night, and it’s free.
Hua Hin’s Night Market – Another wonderful market for cheap shopping (and even cheaper food), Hua Hin’s Night Market is famous for being the place to enjoy excellent street food while grabbing a few bargains.
While much of the merchandise sold here is for tourists, and a lot of it you’ll also see in places like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, it’s still a fun place to spend an evening, as the atmosphere is great, the food is amazing (don’t miss trying the fresh seafood — most of it was probably still swimming that morning), and of course get some cheap shopping done.
The Night Market is a particularly good place to buy t shirts, bags, silk shirts, souvenirs and postcards. Don’t forget to bargain, as the first price you’re given is not the final price.
You’ll find the Night Market right in the center of town, just off Petchkasem Road. It runs every night from around 5pm.
Chat Chai Market – If you’re looking for an authentic Thai market where you can buy items local Thais shop for, the only place to shop is at Chat Chai Market. It’s been open since the mid-1920s, so almost 100 years, and is worth seeing just for the atmosphere and the old building alone.
Chat Chai is primarily a food market so, here, you’ll get wonderful bargains on fresh seafood, meat, fruit and vegetables, nuts and lots of Thai snacks. Buy some dried durian, Thai spices to take back home to liven up your cooking, or a bouquet of flowers for someone who has been wonderful to you on your trip to Thailand. There are also a number of fabric stalls selling gorgeous Thai fabric for a fraction of the price you’d pay at home.
Chat Chai Market is on Petchkasem Road. It opens at 4am every morning and, if you’re an early riser, head there before 6am as you’ll often see Buddhist monks at the market being given food by the vendors. The little ceremony that accompanies every gift of food is touching to see. It’s also a wonderful photo opportunity.