Suan Luang Market - สวนหลวงมาร์เก็ต

Since the Temporary Market (still visible on the Google map in 2013) moved back into the newly built Fresh Food Market in Ranong Road I have watched building work going on of what looked like some kind of temporary fair. As I always pass in the daytime I hadn't noticed the opening of shops and stalls inside and presumed that nothing was happening there. Well that was until I saw some promotional article for 'Suan Luang Market' and started to wonder if this was the place I had been driving past for the last year or two. I kind of forgot about it again until I saw a poster for an OTOP fair and decided to go and investigate.

Walking in at first I didn't realise that there were air-conditioned zones until I bumped into Pee Lin, the wife of a tour guide who I haven't seen in ages. She had spotted me walking around and started waving and calling me over to her bar. 

Pee Lin is the kind of person that is full of warmth and after a few minutes you feel you have known her all your life! 

She made me a very tasty Mango Somtam (Tam Mamuang) and I sat and chatted to her for a while about Suan Luang Market. I had noticed that some shops were open and some were closed, and it seemed that the whole place may come to an end if the vendors don't get to reach an agreement about opening times. Pee Lin took me on a guided tour of the market which is when I actually realised that there was a lot more there than it seems form the street, including a large car park at the rear as well as street side parking along the front. Close to the car park to the back of the air-conditioned walkways were clean looking toilet facilities (although that may deteriorate when things get busier!) 

The market is based on clothes, handbags and shoes but there are a lot of food stalls too and Pee Lee will keep the 'boys' drinking beer while the ladies do the shopping! In the main square the OTOP Fair was being held and a large stage had been set up for the evening concert which started around 7pm. I felt sorry for the band playing to rows of empty chairs but I am sure people turned up later despite the threatening rain clouds.

Suan Luang Market is just down the road from Naka Weekend Market but is open every evening and some shops are presumably open all day. I liked the atmosphere of the main square and hope that the place works out in the end. In the meantime take a visit there sometime, many of the clothes were cheap, one stall selling 3 T-shirts for 100 Baht now that is a bargain!