There is not much to do in Khao Lak, besides relaxing at the beach or exploring the national park. One of the few alternatives is to visit the Bang Niang Market on a Monday, Wednesday or Saturday afternoon.
Bang Niang itself, three kilometres North of Khao Lak, is a strange little place that looks a bit dusty. Especially on non-market days it can be very quiet and sleepy. When we first passed through the town on a Tuesday afternoon we hardly saw any people on the street.
But on market days (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays) the small town awakens. Next to the taxis is an area with wooden market stalls, which are really busy on market days:
Locals gather around the stalls selling local produce and bargain over fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood.
Of course, there are also lots of stalls selling snacks and refreshments – you can try anything from BBQ meat, fried insects or freshly made Pad Thai.
Of course, fresh fruits are also popular or you might event want to try some animals made out of coloured sugar!
The market is great fun – especially if you want to try some different local foods. I found some amazing (spicy) seafood curry there that is wrapped in a banana leaf and tastes divine. I can thoroughly recommend it!
The only downside is that the area is focused on tourism – so yes, the market will be highly frequented by tourists. They will bargain over cheap, fake T-shirts and sunglasses as in every market in Thailand. Bang Niang is not much different to that. The non-food items are average, so all I can recommend is that you go for the snacks and to purchase local produce.
There is no address for the market – but Bang Niang is so small you can’t miss it. Also every hotel and taxi driver knows about the market, so if you just say that you want to go and see the market, they will take you there.