Sunday Market in Old Takua Pa
Last Sunday (25th January 2015) we had one of our exploring days. Sometimes we feel in the mood for a drive, sometimes we relax at home or don't go far when I have a day off and the kids are off school. Last Sunday we drove, as usual with no particular destination in mind, we'd see what we felt like on the way. I wanted to eat at a particular restaurant, but as things turned out we did not have time for that! We headed towards Phang Nga Town. We do like to explore Phang Nga Province to the north of Phuket which has a lot of great scenery. We thought about stopping at a viewpoint cafe near the town, but then we realised - it's Sunday! Well, I had heard of the Sunday market in old Takua Pa, but last time we passed through on a Sunday there was no market. That was in low season, and so I figured it only takes place in high season. We've stopped in Old Takua Pa several times before. It's a time warp. Built around the same time as old Phuket Town in the late 19th and early 20th century - a tin mining boom town with shophouse architecture and Chinese shrines, but when we first visited in about 2010 it was very, very quiet. Like a memory. I heard of the market a couple of years ago and it seems that old Takua Pa is being promoted on a small scale. If you stay in Khao Lak, certainly worth a visit. And especially on a high-season Sunday. I guess from November to April the market will be there.
We took the lovely jungly route from Phang Nga to old Takua Pa via Noppring (route 4090), took a long detour to Tone Pariwat waterfall which we'd never seen before (to be blogged!) and really enjoyed the drive on quiet country roads. Reached old Takua Pa around 3:30pm hoping to find the market and also feeling rather hungry! And yes, the market was happening along the main street in the town. It looks something like Thalang Road in Phuket, only the overhead wires have not been removed and there are less trendy cafes!
(above) Old Takua Pa main street with the Sunday market.
My first thought? It's much smaller than the Sunday market which started up in 2013 on Thalang Road in Phuket Town. I'm not going to suggest that Takua Pa is worth a special visit from Phuket, but if you are in Khao Lak, or exploring the area - yes! I was surprised actually to see so many foreign tourists walking around, and really this market did not have much in the way of souvenirs or handicrafts or things the average tourist might want to buy. But it does show that there is some promotion of the market. Our family wandered up the main street, mainly looking for something to eat! I wanted a place to sit down rather than just snacks, but there's plenty of food to but and nibble ...
(above) A bag of spicy fishcakes would have been just fine for a snack
(above) Or some spicy sausages!
There was not really a cafe or even a noodle shop open, but we did find a place with tables inside doing Kanom Jeen noodles and chicken satay. My wife loves kanom jeen, a real southern-Thai favourite. The kids like it too. Sorry to say I don't! But a dish of satay and an ice tea was just fine. We sat inside and I snapped a photo of a couple of fellow diners ...
This old town really is a step back in time. I want to explore a bit more around old Takua Pa. There is a huge Chinese shrine on the edge of town, as well as a couple of smaller ones in town. There are also some old city walls and I have read that a few of the older houses predate Phuket Town by a few decades.
Looked like the market was just getting going when we arrived, and I am sure it continues until well after dark. But we had to drive back home to Phuket a couple of hours away. I took a few more photos of the market as we headed back to the car. Really is a lovely place.
And I loved this door (below). There are quite a few tumble-down houses. Some of these places are well over 100 years old. Wish I had the cash to buy this place and fix it up!
I was happy to have been able to stop here again, a successful day out with the whole family! Yes the kids may moan "Not another drive! Can't we stay home?", but they love it really. A day out with the family is always nice for me. And this is a fair day out from Phuket. We drove about 300km altogether, but it was easy driving on roads with not too much traffic and plenty of scenery. An easy day out from Phuket really. And another day when I think we are lucky to live here!
Map showing Old Takua Pa and surrounding area