There are three main types of market in Krabi: what we call the “local” markets, that move venue every day and deal mainly in fresh produce – meat, fish, vegetables and fruit – as well as street food snacks, dry goods and household items; the “night” markets which are primarily street food stalls; and the “walking street” markets which have a bit of everything, plus clothing, jewellery and other souvenirs. These will sometimes also feature performances from street artists, bands and dance groups.
Local markets are held in different villages every day, usually from afternoon to early evening (around 3 – 7pm). Typically people will come here to do a quick shop for dinner; you can find fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, dried goods, street food and snacks, clothing and various household items. These will be closest places to visit from the beach areas – they are held in Ao Nang, Ao Nam Mao and Klong Haeng on the following schedule:
Monday: Ao Nang (just past Makro heading away from the beach)
Tuesday: Ao Nang (same location)
Wednesday: Ao Nam Mao (opposite mosque) and Nong Thaleh (main road)
Thursday: Klong Haeng (just past electricity office)
Friday: Ao Nang (just past Makro heading away from the beach)
Saturday: Klong Haeng (opposite mosque)
Sunday: Ao Nam Mao (opposite mosque)
The Klong Haeng Saturday market is probably the best of these. There is also a huge early morning indoor market for fresh produce held daily in Krabi Town in a purpose-built hall on Maharat Soi 5, which is mainly a wholesale place.
There are two daily night markets in Krabi Town. The first (and best) is opposite City Hotel on Soi 10 Maharat Road, with excellent street food stalls serving everything from pad thai to catfish curry, chicken on rice, steamed shellfish plus salads, soups and sweets. It’s also a good place to buy fresh fruit. Large numbers of tourist visitors have driven prices up in recent years but it remains affordable.
The second night market is more like an open air food court. The series of small restaurants with plastic tables and chairs can be found on Khong Kha Road, next to the old Chao Fah pier. Between them, they serve a huge variety of dishes, and you can mix and match and sit down at any available table to feast. Here is where you will find office workers and families eating out.
If you are getting sick of pad thai, there are tons of other options to try – all are cheap so don’t be afraid to experiment. Some great street food dishes you can taste in Krabi:
1. Hot & spicy fishcakes drizzled in chilli jam
2. Green mango salad
3. Yellow chicken biryani (khao mok gai)
4. Fresh spring rolls
5. Charcoal-grilled squid skewers
6. Cold noodle salad with fish curry dressing (khanom jeen)
7. Roti pancakes
8. Black grass jelly or shaved ice desserts
9. Coconut puddings
10. Mango and sticky rice
“Walking Street” markets
Finally – and probably of most interest to tourists – are the “walking street” markets. These are weekly events, held by closing certain roads to traffic and setting up stalls for pedestrians (hence the name). If you are visiting Krabi at the weekend, you should consider the Krabi Town walking street , or Thanon Khon Dern (ถนนคนเดิน in Thai ), an absolute must-see on your itinerary. Held from 6 – 9.30pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings behind Vogue Department Store, this place offers a fascinating insight into local culture; a fantastic way to sample local food; and is also a veritable treasure trove for enthusiastic shoppers.
There is a lovely atmosphere and prices are very low. As well as shopping for handicrafts, jewellery and clothes and eating a huge variety of street food, you can often catch a show of traditional Thai music or dancing performed by school children, or be entertained by buskers and street artists. Fancy getting your caricature done? A 100 baht, 5 minute sketch will make a great souvenir of your trip.
Note: the market can get very crowded during peak tourist times: for a more relaxed visit go early or late – most stalls start setting up around 5pm, and the place starts to empty out around 9pm.
Many hotels are now offering an excursion to the “walking street” market in town as part of an evening “city tour”, which costs around 300 baht per person; or you could simply take the local bus from Ao Nang beach (hourly) and visit independently – the bus stops right outside the market.
For those who are not in Krabi at the weekend, try the smaller scale “walking street” held on a Wednesday afternoon in Klong Haeng village. There are similar things on sale, though there will not be any performances here.