For a smaller seaside town, Hua Hin’s night markets are bustling with activity, each has a unique theme and collection of vendors. The Hua Hin Night Market is the most popular, just a short walk from the town center, the market runs between Petchakasem Road and Liap Thang Rotfai, the railway station road. It is open from 6 pm into the early hours, with some vendors staying open until dawn. It can get crowded with tourists on the weekends, so a weekday visit is a quieter and more enjoyable experience. Visitors can find everything from jeans, hats, to intricate wood carvings and embellished silk pillow cases to rubber chickens and novelty mug warmers. There are vendors with local handmade jewelry, silk purses, scarves, and tapestries. Negotiate, and you’ll often get a better deal.
If there’s one thing that no one should miss at Hua Hin’s night markets, it’s the seafood. Dishes to try include curried crab with spring onions, fresh smoky, grilled shrimp, sweet and sour squid kabobs; the list goes on. You can stop into one of the restaurants at the market to grab a cocktail and watch the crowd, or you can stay in the thick of things and try a variety of inexpensive street foods. Each vendor usually has an ice filled case stocked with fresh crab, fish, and lobster attached to a vending booth where you order, and it’s all prepared for you right there on the street. If seafood isn’t your cup of tea, there’s a giant selection of other foods like sticky mango rice, roti, mango salad, noodles, spring rolls, Isaan snacks, steaks, and barbecue. For the less adventurous, there is a Starbucks nearby.
Cicada Night Market
Opened in 2010, Cicada Market is a 10-minute drive south of the Town Center and is fast becoming one of the region’s most popular night markets. This market lies within a tropical garden with enchanting lanterns and strings of fairytale lights to guide visitors. It has an artistic, bohemian feel to it and features a lot of artists, musicians, and performers. In fact, the word cicada is an acronym that stands for Community of Identity Culture, Arts & Dynamic Activities. The Cicada Art Factory is an indoor gallery located in the heart of the market for local artists and students to display work. All of the work displayed is for sale, if you are searching for something unique and artisanal, this might be the place to find it. Art A La Mode is an outdoor portion of the art market, and it’s packed with local artisans and vendors. Here you can find an artisanal collection of paintings and prints, fabrics, home accessories, handcrafted jewelry, sarongs, kid’s toys, pottery, and live glass blowing.
The Amphitheatre is the market’s performance art section. It’s adjacent to the beer garden so grab a cold one and watch some live music. Organizers book the stage with a wide array of events from bands to traditional and contemporary dance routines, to magic shows, comedy, and theater. Catch some local musicians rocking out or maybe even a poetry reading depending on the day.
Cicada doesn’t lack in the food department which is possibly the best reason to visit Hua Hin’s markets. Cicada Cuisine is a section dedicated to food, and it’s bulging with local delicacies. American style food alongside Thai style food is available here, Japanese, Chinese, Italian and Korean barbecue, fried mussels, Phad Thai, rice based dishes. Plus an entire dessert hall with treats likes pastries, gelato, sweet bread, cakes, coconut sweets and gourmet chocolates. For a contemporary take on a traditional Thai market, visit Cicada. It’s only open Fridays, Saturday s, and Sundays from 6 pm to Midnight.
Other Night Markets
Just a short distance from the town center along Canal road there are two more night markets worth mentioning. Pae Mai Market on Klong Road next to the driving range includes a wide selection of clothing, accessories, shoes, electrical appliances, tools, car accessories, plus snack, ready meals, and desserts. This market is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday from 5 pm to 10 pm.
Keep going along Canal Road just beyond the Pae Mai Market, and you’ll find the Dinosaur Market. This market is known for great prices and excellent produce. It’s only open on Wednesdays and Sundays from 4 pm to 8 pm so see it while you can. It’s a popular hub for locals to grab up the best locally grown fruits, vegetables, spices, and the catch of the day. This location gets muddy in the rainy season, during that time of year you could be the only tourist at the market.
A few blocks south of Town Center is the Grand Hotel Plaza and the Grand Market. Like a shopping mall, this market is in an air-conditioned, indoor space. There are fewer tourists at this market and therefore fewer touristy souvenirs. There is an assortment of home goods, clothing, wallets and other accessories, electronics, plants, and even pets. A few things that set this market apart are health food shops, perfumes, soaps, and lotions. Massage tents lure in tourists with sore feet, and there’s usually a band playing or another themed event. This market has many Thai restaurants where you can get some of the rarer treats like fried insects alongside favorites like fried chicken and spring rolls.