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The Bophut Fisherman’s village walking street takes place every Friday and is one of the biggest markets you will find in Samui. Although many of the vendors exhibit their goods on all of the Walking Street markets the Bophut Market has some that you won’t find selling at other locations.
The easiest way to get to the market, especially if you are going by car, is to park up on the main road close to the PTT garage and then take the middle road down into the heart of the village. There are stalls on both sides of the road as you head towards the ocean and about half way down you will find a roundabout that turns into a beer garden on Fridays as a dozen cocktail bars selling cocktails at only 60 baht play tunes and light up the night. There is plenty of seating in this area and it is a great place to sit, relax and take in the sights, sounds and smells of the market. Just before you get to the roundabout there is another place to stop and have a drink and listen to live music called Big Mamas.
The middle road ends as it joins up with the main Fishermans village street. If you turn left you will find a dozen or so stalls and turning right will take you through the heart of the village that is packed full of stalls and boutique shops offering all manner of goods ranging from a few baht bargains to classic works of art.
As well as the many food vendors in the Bophut Walking Street market you will find the local restaurants offing walking street deals on food that would rival anything you would find in a five star restaurant.
The Frog and Gecko pub is a popular watering hole for residents and visitors to the island. They have an extensive menu, ocean view tables and friendly staff. The Shack grill has to be one of the most popular restaurants in Koh Samui and the smell of steaks on the BBQ only adds to the fabulous and vibrant market atmosphere. If you fancy some up market Italian Fare then Villa Bianca is worth a visit and if it’s traditional Thai food you are after, the long established Happy Elephant has a vast menu and plenty of ocean view tables. 56 restaurant is another popular choice, selling fusion, German and international cuisine and recently a crepe bar has opened up next door, called 55, that sells both sweet and savory crepes.
Directly across the road is the Emerald Irish Bar that is packed full of fun and banter. As you carry on through the village you will come to the pier where there is always something worth watching going on, live bands and fire dancers entertain the crowds who come in their masses.
The Samui Times took a stroll through the market to find out what shop owners, residents and visitors think of the Friday night spectacle.
Yvonne Roberts, island resident, said “I love the market; I love all of the stalls but especially like the chicken kebab stall near the roundabout. The kebabs are huge, very fresh and really good value for money. I think that this market has gone up-market recently and it is great to see artisans and independent traders here, selling things that you cannot find anywhere else. I also have a bit of a passion for Mayuko’s Japanese noodles!”
Liam Smith, Samui Boat Charters said “I get far less bookings for boat trips to the National Marine Park and Koh Tao as well as private charters because everybody is outside enjoying the market. But what is great about Walking Street is that I see a huge increase the following day because the market brings so many people to the village and they pick up our brochures that are outside the shop. I think people really enjoy shopping on walking street because unlike the markets in Chaweng here they are not harassed by touts, hawkers and taxi drivers. I think walking street is great for Bophut, where I have my shop.”
Julie Smith from London said “this is my first time in Koh Samui and I have fallen in love with the island. I did not know about this market when I arrived last week and feel really sorry that I did not find out sooner as I am leaving tomorrow and would loved to have had the chance to visit more than once, there is so much to see and some incredible things to buy. I have brought so many gifts here that I have not found elsewhere and I am worried now that I will be getting charged for excess baggage on the way home I have brought so much.”
Wenche Hanson from Denmark said “I come to Samui every year and love the markets, I go to all of the walking streets, but this one is my favorite. The size of it is fantastic; there is so much to choose from in terms of street vendor food that I love and I just love buying all the jewerly as well as visiting my favorite stall Samui Nature that has a fabulous range of organic herbs and cosmetics that I take back for friends in Denmark. “