Phuket has many markets that might in some way interest a visitor. The most popular is certainly the weekend market which is open Saturday and Sunday nights near Phuket Town. But it has plenty of competition now. The Indy Market opened a few years ago in the old town area and is popular with young people. And then the excellent Sunday market is on every Sunday on Thalang Road in the heart of old town. If you want a real working market (you know, vegetables, fish, meat, fruit, fresh foods) I'd suggest visiting the main market in Phuket Town or maybe Kathu fresh market. I think what people want is a mix of food/restaurants and bars and stalls selling clothes and arty things. The Sunday market is probably my favourite, but it's only in Sunday! The weekend market is an experience, but can be too busy for me. So, now there's something new!
The Chillva market officially opened at the end of April 2016 with the aim of being a bit more cool and trendy, and without the alcohol free experience of the Indy market, which has many local teenage customers. Chillva has a mix of shops, market stalls, bars, restaurants, food stalls and often has live music too! Some of the shops and bars are open every evening, but the main market is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday starting late afternoon and closing around 11pm. Best to visit from about 6pm. My last visit (to take some photos for the blog!) was about 5pm and that did seem too early, it was very quiet. Gets much busier after dark and has quickly become popular.
(above) View of Chillva Market
(above) And a very similar view after dark with a lot more people! You can get elevated views as in places there are shops and bars made from shipping containers with seating up top. Cool!
Chillva is located in the Sam Kong area of Phuket Town, which is in the north of town. It's between the Tesco Lotus store and the Bangkok Phuket hospital, close to the Sam Kong Chinese shrine. There's a map below. I avoided the market for a few months mainly because between our house and Chillva is a big messy roadworks where an underpass has been built and it's taken a lot longer to complete than planned. We should be able to drive straight from Kathu to Sam Kong, but for a long time we've had to make a big detour down the bypass road and u-turn back towards town. That is now almost complete.
(above) Another elevated view of Chillva market with the live music stage in the foreground and the road to the left. The market occupies a fair slice of land and has quite a large car park too, although one time when we visited the car park was all full and roadside parking there is like gold dust. You could park in Tesco and walk about 500 meters. Moped parking is less of a problem. As it's quite new, it is currently one of the local hotspots :) The various markets do pretty well at not clashing with each other, or are located a fair distance apart (like the weekend market is on the opposite side of Phuket Town).
So, what do we have at Chillva market? Well, first of all (on Thursday, Friday, Saturday) you have the market - lots of stalls selling clothes, arty things, and quite a lot of food stalls. It's not a huge place like the weekend market (where you can easily lose your way!) and is open air. Not too hot after dark.
(above) Stalls at Chillva market
There are also a fair number of restaurants with outdoor tables, plus a seating area for eating food from the stalls. Anything from burgers to Thai noodles.
(above) Chillva is great for a cheap tasty dinner!
Aside from the market area, there are some more permanent shops, mostly selling clothes. My daughter found one she likes selling earrings. Yeh, I have a teenage daughter now.
And there is a bit of night life here too! Every time I have been there was some live music, just local musicians playing or another visit there was what looked like a school talent show going on! And there's a little street of trendy bars too. Nice to sit up on the roof with a beer.
(above) Bars at Chillva Market.
I imagine we'll go a bit more often once all the roadworks are complete, it'll be a very quick drive from home. If someone asks which is the best market to visit, hard to answer. These places are more for locals than tourists, but I'd say try this one, and the Sunday walking street, or the weekend market if you want the big one! As a local, it's good to have these options now. A few years ago, the weekend market was on it's own.
More markets in Phuket
Phuket Weekend Market
Sunday Market in Old Town
Karon Temple Market
Phuket Town Fresh Market
Chillva Market - Location Map