Phuket Town Central Market is located on Ranong Road is the historical commercial hub of Phuket Old Town. Apart from the two fresh markets here – Talad Sod Satarana and downtown market; there are lots of small shops selling clothes, eggs, incense, tools, birds, fireworks, baskets, hats, slingshots, raincoats, shoes, and so on; and you know that you are in Chinatown when you see that no less than 10 gold shops are within the first 100 metres of the street!
Ranong Road is also famous for being the locals’ bus station. Named ‘songthaew’ (two-benches), these blue ‘buses’ (converted pickup trucks) link Phuket Town to most of Phuket beaches from 07:00 until 18:00 at very affordable rates (about 20 baht for a ticket to Patong Beach). Ranong Road bus station and its two markets make it a busy place from dawn ‘til dusk; it is also a place where you could find some out-of-the-ordinary things to eat as some of the most popular Phuket’s vegetarian restaurants are serving their healthy delicacies toward the end of the street.
Other places of interest in this street are Thai Airways offices, Wat Kajonrangsan (large Buddhist temple and school), and San Jao Jui Tui (Chinese shrine at the end of the street, one of the centres of annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival).
Phuket Town Central Market
Phuket Town Central Market (Talad Sod Satarana) is a large modern beige-and-white four-storey building in which you can find just about everything for sale and probably more. The exterior of the building offers some shaded seating areas for people waiting for local buses parked in front, and at the same level you’ll find shops selling dried fish, shrimps, biscuits, coffee, tea and other packaged snacks.
The signage explaining where to find goods in the building is in Thai and English so you’ll easily find what you are looking for; for instance the second storey sign reads: ‘’Souvenir-Clothing-Fruits-Aquatic Animal-Meat-Lift-Old Man/Disabled Toilet’’ – all a programme in itself.
Phuket Town Central Market was entirely rebuilt in 2009 due to the fact that the previous building, was crumbling and rat infested, lacking basic hygienic standards. The new market looks much better but still I wouldn’t recommend it to those with too sensitive a nose.
- Opening Hours: 05:00 – 11:00 daily (the shops selling snacks and dried goods are open until 18:00)
Downtown Market is located in a soi on the right side of the one-way Ranong Road – approx. 100m from the entrance of the street, linking Ranong and Krabi roads. It is mostly a 24/7 open market where many vendors from other markets in Phuket come to do their shopping (wholesalers park their trucks at the back of the market, opposite Downtown Inn). Vegetables, meat, fish & seafood, exotic fruits, condiments and ready-made dishes are all sold here.
Due to its location, it‘s one of the most ancient markets of Phuket: some 100 years ago, canals from the nearby port of Phuket reached Thalang Road, and Ranong Road and it was already the commercial centre of Phuket Town. It is definitely a place to visit while exploring the Old Town as, apart from the cars and modern neon and other signboards, the area and its buildings and houses still retain a charming vintage look.