Thailand

Night market on Karon (Phuket) - a guide for tourists

AThello family! Today I will tell you about one interesting place in Phuket - night market on Karon beach, aka Karon Night Market. This market is located right on the grounds of the Buddhist temple Wat Suwankiriket (or simply Karon Temple as it is often called). Funny, right? Usually people go to churches for spiritual food, but here they go for physical food, things and all sorts of trinkets. But first things first.

How to get to the night market in Karon and when it is open

Getting to the night market in Karon is quite easy. It is located in the heart of the tourist part of the beach, a little closer to Patong Beach. From the Karon roundabout, go up Patak Street without turning anywhere. After five to six minutes (about 500 meters) of leisurely tourist traffic from the ring on the left side, you will see the brightly lit temple area (of course, it will be brightly lit if it has already become dark outside).

Usually the market on Karon is open on Tuesdays and Fridays, this is just an established tradition, since I have not seen any published schedule. Trading begins around four or five in the evening and lasts until 22-23.00 at maximum. But if there is no rain, and there are still a lot of people at the market, then the traders can stay longer.

Personally, when I have a chance to relax on Karon, I prefer to come to the night market closer to seven in the evening, just when the heat of the day subsides and some special atmosphere of the night market naturally appears.

Rows of vendors at Karon market
Rows of vendors at Karon market

However, the atmosphere is atmospheric, but be prepared for crowds and queues, especially in the high season from December to March, and especially at the entrance. The later, the more people. But even despite the tourist rush, the night market near the temple on Karon has retained its authenticity and local flavor. They say some Thais still like to shop here, which means the prices are not too high.

What to buy from souvenirs and things at the Karon night market

The lion's share of stalls in the Karon market is reserved for clothes, shoes, suitcases, accessories and various trinkets - magnets, key chains, figurines, etc. The choice is huge!

Part of the bazaar assortment:

  • Bright sundresses, T-shirts, tank tops and pareos;
  • Beach bags and hats;
  • Flip flops and silicone swim wallets;
  • Sunglasses from 100 baht;
  • Watches and lighters;
  • Cute T-shirts with Thai and Chinese prints;
  • Muay Thai shorts;
  • Colorful bags, swimsuits and swimming trunks;
  • Natural Thai toothpaste and soap;
  • Costume jewelry and jewelry.

There is also something to please lovers of authentic handmade items. On the market you will find original products of local craftsmen - jewelry, wooden masks, handmade soap. The main thing is to distinguish them from Chinese streaming consumer goods.

Tent at Karon Night Market
Bags and jewelry at Karon night market

For example, I bought myself funny earrings in the shape of elephants and fragrant coconut body oil without preservatives. For my husband, on our first trip to Phuket, at the Karon Night Market, we bought a massive authentic silver chain with a Thai design. Oddly enough, a silver medallion in the form of a Spanish doubloon, once brought from the Dominican Republic, suited it perfectly. There is also a large selection of wristwatches, but who can guarantee that they will not break in a couple of weeks?

Tent with clock
Tent with waterproof watch

And most importantly, don’t hesitate to bargain. Sellers initially quote a price with a good markup, especially for tourists. So feel free to drop 20-25%, or even more. Just don't overdo it. Sellers generally know their minimum price. Among them there are also those who will not give up almost a baht. But usually this concerns some non-standard goods for the market range.

Teas and miscellaneous
In the foreground of tea packaging

Just as an example: a really cool men's T-shirt, but for 1100 baht! Some English-speaking citizen tried it on in front of us. When he happily asked about the price and heard the answer, his “satisfaction” disappeared somewhere. Apparently the prices for T-shirts from 100 baht and the very atmosphere of the market relaxed him. So the Thai gave him only 50 baht, as a result of which they simply separated, each staying with his own.

Noni apples and other dried fruits
Dried: noni apples and other fruits

Useful items at the night market include beach towels, mosquito nets, and insect repellents. Exotic lovers can stock up on the famous Thai balm with cobra venom or “male enhancement product.” But be careful, not all of these drugs are tested and approved by doctors.

What to eat at Karon Night Market

For some, the main attraction of the night market in Karon is the food. The food court is located at the very entrance to the temple and invariably attracts crowds of hungry guests. Appetizing aromas beckon you to try Thai cuisine. It is absolutely impossible to resist!

Product range
Deep frying product range

Although the food court is not large, the selection of street food at the market is quite decent:

  • Fried insects for the bravest
  • Spring rolls with vegetables and shrimp
  • Chicken skewers
  • Grilled seafood
  • Pad Thai noodles cooked right in front of you
  • Fried tofu cheese, fish and meat balls, nuggets and fries on skewers
Grilled shrimp and fish
Image: Grilled shrimp and fish
Thai cuisine
Takoyaki is a famous Japanese dish.

For those who love healthier food, there are fresh vegetable and fruit salads, as well as mountains of various exotic fruits. Pineapple, papaya, mango, rambutan, mangosteen - you can’t list everything. You can buy already cut slices in convenient packaging or smoothies and fresh juices. However, keep in mind that ice from not the purest water is often added to drinks.

Smoothies and fresh juices
Smoothies and fresh juices for every taste

Connoisseurs of Japanese cuisine will appreciate the local rolls, which are sold by weight. Come up, put the sushi you like into a container and pay by the number of pieces. The filling is very varied - tuna, salmon, shrimp, avocado, cucumber, Philadelphia cheese.

Octopus sushi
Gourmet octopus sushi

All this variety is crowned with fresh pastries, which are especially good for breakfast. Buns, croissants, bread with various fillings just beg to be appreciated. I also strongly recommend trying the famous Thai pancakes - roti. They are prepared right in front of you, adding bananas, pineapples, chocolate or condensed milk if desired. It turns out not only tasty, but also very spectacular.

Banana pancakes
Pancakes for every taste

Wat Suwankiriket - a cultural bonus of the night market in Karon

Before shopping, so that shopping bags are not too stressful, it’s time to take a walk around the grounds of the Wat Suwan Khiri Khet temple. Still, it’s not every day that you have the opportunity to combine the shopping process with a cultural program. The temple, by the way, is far from new. They say it has been standing on Karon since the end of the 19th century.

Entrance to Karon Night Market
Main entrance to the temple grounds

The monastery complex consists of several buildings in classical Thai style. Neat whitewashed walls, sloping roofs, graceful dragon snakes guarding the entrance - everything is as it should be. The decoration is also traditional: wall paintings with paintings from the Ramayana, Buddha statues, the most notable of which is the black sapphire Buddha in the main hall.

Structures of the temple Wat Suwan Khiri Khet
One of the buildings of the Wat Suwan Khiri Khet temple complex

We must pay tribute to the monks; they clearly look after the temple and maintain it in a worthy manner. Repairs and restorations are carried out regularly, everything sparkles with gold and fresh paint. In general, the temple, although ancient, is perfectly preserved and is an example of classical Thai architecture.

The structure of Wat Suwankiriket
Wat Suwan kiri ket temple

True, you are unlikely to find the authentic atmosphere of peace and spirituality characteristic of Buddhist monasteries here. Too crowded and prosaic place. It is difficult to concentrate on high matters when there are crowds of noisy tourists and the sounds of the night market around. But for a quick introduction to Buddhism, the temple is quite suitable.

Serpent on the temple grounds
Snake figure on the stairs

Summary

Night market in Karon Definitely worth a visit at least once during your trip to Phuket. Even if you are not a fan of shopping and street food, a walk through an authentic Thai market is the very experience for which we go to foreign countries. So don't miss the opportunity and check it out. A delicious dinner and a couple of cute souvenirs are guaranteed!

Video market overview

A fresh video from Ekaterina with footage of a night market...

Ирина Залесская

Author on the site "TRAVEL GUIDE" Expert in the field of modern design. Madly loves to travel, loves to visit new places, learn new facts and takes details seriously.

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