In the Marketplace with Wilson
The Sukhumvit Road Market in North Pattaya
Despite its proximity to the Mini Siam tourist attraction, this is certainly a local market, not one catering for tourists as witnessed by the lack of ‘Good guy goes to heaven, bad guys go to Pattaya’ t-shirts’; in fact there was a distinct lack of t-shirts of any description.
I visited the market around 6.30pm on a Tuesday. With great difficulty I found a parking space for my motorbike on the main road, the frontage of the market almost completely filled with parked bikes.
Taking a quick count of the number of stalls revealed there were in excess of six hundred vendors, about one hundred of these being food orientated. These were, in the main, located down one flank of the market in four rows. The cooked food on offer for immediate consuming ranged from sausages on a stick to full meals in polystyrene containers. There were also areas where a sit down meal could be taken.
Fresh vegetables and fruit featured heavily in the items on sale, cuts of fresh meat of all types including whole pigs heads were available for purchase. Much of the produce was aimed solely at the local Thai population.
To keep the children amused whilst mum and dad did the family shop, a large inflatable bouncy castle type of attraction was available as a distraction.
About fifty percent of the other five hundred stalls featured clothing. Denim items were well represented, many offering brand name jeans for just 99 Baht. Whether these were the genuine item or not, one could not say.
There were stalls selling shoes/ trainers, with literally hundreds of different styles and colours for both ladies and men.
Several small table top stalls were engaged in selling Buddhist religious items and artefacts. Many of the older items were being scrutinised at great length by prospective purchasers. These people obviously appeared knowledgeable and sure of what they were looking for. It could well be that they were hoping to find an old item of considerable value.
A row of stalls had only second-hand items of clothing for sale, the majority of these items being in piles, with the price per item clearly displayed.
Live animals were also on sale, from a humble goldfish for the children’s aquarium, through baby rabbits, birds and onto pet dogs, with all the items of paraphernalia that go along with pet ownership.
Other types of second-hand goods were on offer at differing locations throughout the market. Almost everything you could imagine was available, I even saw an antique typewriter that many a missive had probably been tapped out on.
Automotive parts, both new and used were on sale. One stall was selling only rubber grommets, rubber gear lever shrouds, universal joint boots and the like. The range of items was really amazing, and it seemed he had the rubber product for any make of car.
One person was selling a ‘hybrid’ motorbike, with facility for carrying goods or passengers at the rear.
Another ‘shop’ was doing a roaring trade in massage, every chair filled and not a foreigner in sight. Ladies were sitting patiently at other stalls having their nails cut, polished and painted in all manner of designs, and several outlets sold beauty products, shampoos, creams, perfumes, in fact everything for the Thai femme fatale.
For the DIY freak, virtually every hand or electric tool could be purchased. Welders, drills, planers, chop saws, all were there. Spanners, socket sets, and other automotive related tools were also waiting to be snapped up by the amateur mechanic or the professional one.
Fancy a light-up wall plaque of your favourite English football team? Well even that was on offer in what is clearly an always busy market.