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It’s midnight. You suddenly remember you need to stock up on fruit, pick up an iPhone cover, browse Chinese medicines and purchase a pig’s head. Fret not, Bangkok’s Huay Khwang market is the one-stop destination where you can check off everything on your shopping list. Especially if your shopping list features a lot of kitten heels, knock-off makeup and offal.
Huay Khwang night market isn’t the tourist trap the way other markets such as Chatuchak can be. In fact, it’s quite possible that on a trip to the market you won’t see a single other foreigner. The market is full of the kind of products Thais want to buy, which means prices are low and clothes sizes are impossibly tiny. If you’re looking to tick off a few gifts from your souvenir list, there are certainly better spots to do it. But if you’re looking for a mid-sized authentic Thai market to stick your nose into that’s not too busy and is easily accessible, Huay Khwang is an excellent bet.
The food section, furthest away from the MRT station and Thanon Ratchada, is by far the most interesting spot where exotic fruits, such as the stinking durian, bizarre snakefruit and the delicious mango are piled high next to stalls serving up unidentifiable animal innards and others hawking cockles, elastic band-bound crabs and huge prawns.
Seafood is particularly big business in Huay Khwang and, if you’re feeling peckish there are a good number of all-night restaurants serving a range of seafood dishes and somtam (papaya salad). Arrive hungry, allow 30 to 40 minutes for wandering around, taking in the haggling, instagramming the offal and dodging the ruthless tuk tuk drivers who seem intent on running over anyone walking off the pavement, then recline in a plastic chair with a bottle of Chang in one of the market restaurants, which are always buzzing with locals who’ve just finished work or a night out.
How to get there
Get off at Huai Khwang MRT and head out exit 3. When you exit the station, turn back on yourself and take the first road left. If taking a taxi, ask the driver to head to talaad huay khwang. The market kicks of about 18:30 each night and keeps going until late.
By Gaby Doman.
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