Phuket Walking Street is the latest attraction featured in Phuket Old Town. Also-known-as Lardyai (talaad yai), which means ‘big market’ in southern Thai dialect, this weekly market started in October 2013 and is hosted on the beautifully renovated Thalang Road, right in the middle of the historical Sino-Portuguese district of Phuket Town.
Thalang is a 350m-long commercial and cosmopolitan street which hosts a mix of Baba (Chinese migrants settled in Phuket at the beginning of the 20th century during the tin mining era), Thai Muslim and Indian shops. Phuket Walking Street allows visitors to discover some typical southern Thai culinary specialties as well as local handicraft and gift stalls. This weekly event (every Sunday from 16:00 – 22:00) is definitely family-oriented with the presence of toy stalls and a (free-of-charge) trampoline to entertain the little ones.
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The main entrance of Phuket Walking Street is on the eastern (Phuket Road) side of Thalang Road at which a superb wooden Chinese-style gate has been installed. The gate boasts a sign with LARDYAI written in three languages (Thai, Chinese, and English) and is a popular photo op. Thalang Road was one of the first Phuket Old Town streets along which electric cables were buried in 2012, in an effort to revive its vintage splendor. Thalang Road’s Baba house facades have even been further enhanced by the addition of colour-changing lighting effects – from blue to green to magenta - on many of the townhouses along the street, giving the place a ‘history meets technology’ feeling.
Phuket Old Town has always been a commercial hub, and nowadays, Thalang Road still hosts many shops selling fabrics/tissues, tools, sports equipment, clothes, and traditional medicines (the oldest drugstore in Phuket is located here) between coffee shops, restaurants and bars; it is indeed an active and lively street, and a great place for a Thai-style weekend market.
The two main items sold at Phuket Walking Street are food and souvenirs. Barbecued squid, chicken and pork are certainly the favourite dishes if you consider the number of stands selling them. Fruit juices, ice-creams and khanoms (Thai traditional sweets) are also very popular. There’s even a stall selling horse-shoe crabs, which is somewhat unusual. The international side of Phuket is represented as an original tuk-tuk sells beef and chicken burgers at the end of the street.
Some young Phuket entrepreneurs have started interesting T-shirt and handicraft businesses and at this open-air market they have an excellent window to promote and sell their products: T-shirts featuring stylized Sino-Portuguese architectural elements, knitted dolls, custom-made flip flops (customers pick the sole, top and decorative elements of their choice which are assembled on site), marinières (striped long-sleeve T-shirts, Jean-Paul Gaultier-style) and fancy jewellery, of which there is a good choice of cool and inexpensive items to browse through.
Summing up, Phuket Walking Street – Lardyai Phuket – is an attractive place to spend a late Sunday afternoon, and a good opportunity to discover charming Phuket Old Town in the best conditions possible.
Phuket Walking Street
- Opening Hours: Every Sundays from 16:00 – 22:00
- Location: Thalang Road in Phuket Old Town