I would like to take a quick moment to mention the impressiveness of the Thai markets. You can buy anything you may ever need or want at markets. Just as we shop at grocery stores and shopping malls (which you can also do in Thailand), the majority of business gets done at the local markets. Of course the market in Chinatown selling everything from fresh octopus to gold jewelry is very different from the tourist market selling beautiful scarves and local artwork, but the point is, they are both fascinating, diverse and a wonderful places to visit.
It is very hard when you are traveling for 10+ months and you want to buy lots of things that you see but you ultimately know you can’t the stuff in your backpack. However, even when you have no interest in buying bundles of red hot chilis, or fish on a stick, it is quite entertaining to wander the isles and try and figure out exactly what you are looking at.
One of my favorite markets was the night market in Chiang Mai. There were hundreds, if not thousands, of stalls lining the streets at night and catering their wares to tourists. Ted scored a “Billabong” swimsuit for about $6 and I got some “Ray Ban” sunglasses for $3. However, if shopping is not your thing, nearly all markets have a food area where you can get delicious, piping hot food for very very cheap.
For shopping, eating, exploring and people-watching – it’s hard to beat a local Thai market.