If you go to the Cha-Am Wednesday Night Market you may choose to enter on the left where a lane takes you past a variety of food stalls. About 100 metres on the left side and you will come across one of the features of the Market. This is an innovative ‘extra’ to the usual market scene, the ‘Farang Husband Minding Centre’.
This free service provides for the care, protection and safety of many falang husbands who are not ‘browsers’ while their wives go about their shopping without concerns. Husbands will then be out from under your feet, not complaining (“when are we going home”) and wives shopping can proceed undisturbed! All the wives need to do is pay for drinks (usually beer!) then collect them and take them home.
The Wednesday Night Market is a Cha-Am institution and a must visit see for every visitor. As soon as the sun goes down a usually quiet part of town comes alive with a huge range of stalls with vendors offering everything imaginable.
The Market is not really set up as a tourist attraction and the vast majority of the shoppers are local Thai people, many of whom are there every week. However it’s a great Thai experience for travelers and you can see many of the local produce and products in one venue. The Market is HUGE! It would probably take you an hour just to walk down each ‘shopping lane’ even without actually stopping to buy.
What Will You Find?
Food: from donuts to dumplings, from bugs to biscuits, from chicken to chilies, from cockles to cakes, from seafood to sausages and from pasta to popcorn. And of course Thai delicacies too many to mention.
From stuffed toys to train rides and from bouncy castles to balloons. Kids just wonder around with wide eyes unable to decide on which special treat to take home.
From electronics to cosmetics, from tools to trophies, from shoes to shoulder bags and as many varieties of t-shirts as could ever be imagined. Clothing of all sorts some new, some second hand, some original and some may have ‘fallen of the back of a truck’. Videos, CDs and all the machines to play them.
When Is It Open?
Every Wednesday from sunset (about 5:30 pm) until about 10:00 pm. Early means better choices as some stall holders may sell out and choose to go home early.
Parking may be difficult for vehicles with more than two wheels, better to leave your car either at home or outside the area and take a motor bike taxi. Transport away from the Market is limited to motor bike taxis, so other arrangements may need to be made if you have a family group. Don’t eat before you visit or plan to eat later.
There is plenty of choice (with drinks) and you can find seating for a very casual (no flash restaurants), entertaining (watch the passing parade) and delicious (try cooked grasshoppers?) Thai style dining experience. Come prepared with suitable footwear. If there is rain about it may be muddy underfoot so no high heels! Take your time. No need to rush around, just enjoy mingling with the locals.
Where is it?
The Market entrance is on Narathip Road starting at the roundabout about 500 metres before the Cha-Am Railway Station. From the intersection of Narathip and Petchkasem Road (traffic lights) if you are coming from Hua Hin turn left, go straight on and you can’t miss it. The Market sprawls through a network of lanes alongside the Railway Lines, the Government offices and permanent shops.
REWRITTEN BY: Larry Cadiz
Credit: David Watson