There’s a curious and absolutely delightful event that happens in a different region of Ko Samui every night. This is known as a walking street, basically the best kind of night market, full of delicious food and interesting shopping.
For some reason, despite their popularity, it’s really difficult to find information on the walking streets. When do they happen? What exactly does one find there?
Tripadvisor has a list here. We only spent five days in Ko Samui, so my details will be limited to Chaweng, Choeng Mon and Maenam.
Prices tend to be: around 50 Baht for a small BBQ stick, up to 100 for a large one. Generally below 100 Baht for food. 50-100 for a drink.
Chaweng night market
The Chaweng night market happens on Tuesdays in downtown Chaweng. It was actually a bit difficult to find at first; we basically asked the driver to just drop us off at the center, and walked around. We found ourselves along a main road that was full of shops and stores, and kept walking along until we just stumbled upon a big lot. There was a stage on one side, and all the food stalls on the other side.
An easy way to find it as well is to find the lake. The market is across the road from there.
There are only a dozen or so stalls, but they do have a variety of food on sale. There are a couple BBQ stalls selling both chicken and pork. There’s also a stall that offers fresh fruit shakes, and one that sells dessert waffles. Cocktails are also available. One popular stall sold soups and noodles, from which we had some tom yum. It was some of the spiciest food I’ve ever had, but it was delicious!
As an interesting note, before this trip to Thailand, I was very spice-sensitive. Now, not so much. When such delicious spicy food is your best option, then you just have to get used to it!
Walking some more around the area, there is another small market right by Chaweng Beach. This market is more for small trinkets and clothing than food, though.
Choeng Mon floating market
Choeng Mon’s walking street is in front of the Muang Samui hotel and happens every Wednesday. Right in front of the hotel, there are a few tables set up on the sidewalk. The tables are small, but it’s the perfect spot and most couples can share tables — it’s a good way to meet people!
Across from the hotel is a big parking lot with lots of stalls, mostly food. There is more variety here than at the market in Chaweng. Whole fish, lots of fried food, rice cakes and of course BBQ are on offer.
Also alongside the hotel are some shops and stalls for souvenirs and local items like jewelry.
Maenam walking street market
On Thursdays, Maenam closes a couple of streets to make room for the night market. As someone who stayed in the area, it’s actually an amazing transformation from the empty streets to the huge collection of stalls.
Maenam’s street market is bigger than the previous two we explored. It’s pretty easy to find: just find the Chinese temple. From here, two streets form an L, and these streets contain the market. Food tends to be concentrated on the side heading out to the main road, and shopping along the other side.
The variety of food is pretty crazy: everything found at Chaweng and Choeng Mon, and more. Some of the unique things we found here were fried insects and homemade ice cream. There were rice cakes and meat aplenty, as well as many things I didn’t even recognize… if only I had enough space in my stomach for everything!
As for shopping, it was almost like being at an open air casual mall. Swimsuits, denim shorts, sarong, wallets, candles, paintings… All these and more are available.
The night markets are a great way to eat a selection of local food for great prices. We enjoyed sampling the variety of things and perusing the wares that were on display.
I wouldn’t recommend spending every night at a different walking street, particularly if you only have a few days. There are many good restaurants on the island that also deserve to be tried. But try to visit at least one or two night markets, they’re definitely a fun Ko Samui experience.