Kata Fresh Market (Kata Porpeang Market) is quite simply one of the most vibrant fresh markets on Phuket’s west coast. There are two types of market in Thailand: A Talad Nad is a twice- (sometimes thrice) weekly market and a Talad Sod is a daily market. They are both fascinating places to wander round in but the Talad Nad has a slight edge when it comes to oddities. Kata Porpeang is a Talad Nad.
Kata Fresh Market is located on Kata Road opposite the Chaba Phuket Resort – the one of the roads connecting Patak ‘top’ road with the Club Med road. Roughly speaking, it’s a large L-shaped market on a piece of unused land with plenty of parking space to the side. Don’t wear your best white clothes to come shopping here as it is muddy when wet and dusty when dry and remember to dress light as it gets pretty hot and only cools down after the sun has set.
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Entering the market you’ll come across a secondhand clothes section to the left that is flanked by a new clothes stall selling mostly ladies’ jeans and T-shirts and a risqué ladies’ underwear collection. There’s also a complete collection of men’s ‘leather’ belts bearing brand names such as Gucci, Billabong, Armani, and Boss. Further in and you’ll discover a children’s section that is next to a cosmetic stand which is in turn next to a collection of religious artifacts that flanks a health juice and skin products stall.
By now you should have realized that there really isn’t much logic as to how Kata Fresh Market is laid out but wait… Now the food stands begin and the air is filled with delicious aromas and scents. A good piece of advice is not to eat before coming to Kata Fresh Market. You’ll be sorely tempted by the whiff of deep-fried chicken, duck, barbecued fish, crabs, cockles, squid, spring rolls (prepared fresh before your eyes), Thai sausages, and of course by the wonderful array of fresh tropical fruit.
Some of the colourful fruit on sale here includes big bouncy melons, soft and yielding mangoes, bananas, rose apples, coconuts, pineapples of all sizes (Phuket pineapples are a delicacy), papayas, hairy-looking rambutans, pomelos, mangosteens, jackfruits, delicate-tasting longans, and even more delicate-tasting lychees, and of course much more according to the season. You can even find grapes and apples at the right time of year.
At the corner of the ‘L’ shape and just after the wonderfully green vegetable section things change once more and you’ll enter gadget territory with electronic toys, speakers, headphones and the like which is quickly followed by several pearl and bracelet stands, textiles, towels, and bed sheets, along with fashionable bags and totes. There are also some interesting wooden elephant-themed friezes along with hundreds of wooden elephants of all sizes.
The list is endless of what you can buy at Kata Fresh market so just amble along and take it all in. There’s a friendly, fun feel to it with no hard-sell tactics, just joking and polite suggestions. And it’s a calm and peaceful atmosphere with no throbbing annoying speakers and booming bass that are sometimes prevalent at other markets. While some prices are clearly marked it’s still worth it to try to haggle down the damage with a smile but please do not bargain for food, fruit, and vegetables.
The best time to go is after five o’clock in the afternoon when the market is not so crowded but if you want to ensure the freshest vegetables it’s best to go mid afternoon. Market hours are ostensibly from 11:00 – 21:00 but the market doesn’t really get going until 16:00 on Mondays and Thursdays.
Kata Fresh Market
- Opening Hours: Every Mon and Thu from 11:00 - 21:00.
- Location: On Kata Road opposite the Chaba Phuket Resort