Kamphaeng Phet Markets

On Saturday afternoon, I took the short walk from my apartment (A on map below) to the Lumpini subway station (B) and then I rode the subway for 20 minutes to the Kamphaeng Phet station (C), the penultimate stop on the line. This station is just past Chatuchak, the location of Bangkok’s huge weekend market. Yesterday’s destinations were a farmers market and a relatively new night market.

Or Tor Kor

I first learned about Or Tor Kor from Muhibah, the in-flight magazine on Royal Brunei Airlines. The story and pictures put a visit here on the to-do list. Last year, CNN ranked Or Tor Kor as the fourth best fresh market in the world, beaten out only by Barcelona’s La Boqueria, Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market, and NYC’s Union Square Farmer’s Market. With its white tile floor and good lighting, the Or Tor Kor market is bright and welcoming, unlike many local markets. Farmers come here to sell fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish as well as spices, nuts, and dried seafood directly to local consumers.

The market is reasonably well-organized (a rarity here in Thailand) — at one end of the market, fresh seafood abounds — river prawns, sea bass, crabs, squid, mussels and other shellfish. Vendors of fresh produce and spices occupy the middle portion of the market. At the other end, cooks prepare food ranging from barbecued seafood, curries, satay, fried rice, and noodles to fried bananas, mango with sticky rice and numerous other sweets and desserts. The food can be eaten at nearby tables or packed for take-away.

Fresh fruits

Fresh fruits

Dried fish, prawns, and squid

Dried fish, prawns, and squid

Chilis for seafood

Chilis for seafood

Fresh juices

Fresh juices

Squid

Squid

Giant Prawns

Giant River Prawns

Packing food to go

Packing food to go

Barbecued pork

Barbecued pork

Garlic, onions, chilis

Potatoes, garlic, onions, shallots, chilis

Fresh produce

Fresh produce

Purchases from Or Tor Kor

Purchases from Or Tor Kor

Although the prices seem to be a bit on the high side, the vendors typically close the deal by offering small samples to prospective customers. I ended up bringing home onions, capsicum, oranges, a pineapple, strawberries, and mangoes. The mangoes and pineapple were put into mesh foam covers to protect the fruit from bruising — in the picture on the right, one mango is in its foam cover and the small pineapple sits atop its packaging.

Rod Fai

The Rod Fai is an open-air market next to an abandoned rail track about one-half mile from Or Tor Kor. Established by a couple of antique dealers two years ago, there are now hundreds of vendors who sell at this weekend-only night market. In Thai, rod fai translates to train, but the owners also seem to use rod to mean hot rod. Throughout the market are several older, large American vehicles — Impalas, a Chevy pickup, and a couple of Harleys are shown below — as well as many old-style gasoline pumps.

Impala convertible

Impala convertible

Harleys

Harleys

Chevy pickup and Shell gas pump

Chevy pickup and Shell gas pump

Rod's Restaurant and Bar

Rod’s Restaurant and Bar

In what appears to be an old parking lot near the road, many merchants park a van, car, or pickup truck — many of which have been modified into makeshift shops — to display and sell their vintage goods. Other simple place their offerings on mats spread on the pavement. There is a wide variety of items, many of which date back to the 1960s or 70s, on offer including second-hand clothes, toys, home decor, telephones, audio equipment — reel-to-reel tape players, cassette decks, small B&W tube televisions, answering machines, etc. — records, advertisements, etc. I think (hope) that they are too young to be considered antiques but that “retro” is the right designation.

Van converted into a display

Van converted into a display

Van converted to bar

Van converted to bar

Pepsi and Coke advertisement

Pepsi and Coke advertisement

Vintage TV, telephones, and lighters

Vintage TV, telephones, and lighters

Empty containers of Paracetamol (generic Tylenol)

Huge empty drums that held Paracetamol (i.e., generic Tylenol)

Record player, tape player, clocks and a gun

Record player, reel-to-reel tape deck, clocks and a gun

Further back and away from the road are old rail warehouses in which permanent shops  sell true antiques and furniture. While these are open in the evening, few visitors seem to go in since most are more interested in finding bargains at the flea market that is set up in front of these shops. Row upon row of vendors sell clothes, leather goods, toys, beer, and all sorts of food, snacks, and drinks.

Gently used Birkenstocks

Gently used Birkenstocks

Hookah pipes

Hookah pipes

Pretty lamps

Pretty lamps

Action figures

Action figures

VW bus as mobile bar

VW bus as mobile bar

VW bus in need of restoration

VW bus in need of restoration

Blue jeans and shorts for $2.00

Blue jeans and shorts for 59 baht ($2.00)

Pickup truck as soda fountain

Pickup truck as soda fountain

Pulsar

Last Thursday, Nissan launched the Pulsar, a five passenger, C-segment hatchback. The Pulsar is Nissan’s newest product for the Thai market and its five trim levels are priced from US$26,000 to US$32,500.

The launch event was staged at the W Hotel that opened in December on the site of the old Russian Embassy. The embassy building was preserved and is currently being renovated to house shops and a restaurant. The building dates back to 1914 when it was built by a wealthy nobleman, Luang Jitjamnongwanich (later Lord Sathorn), as his private mansion. In the late 1920s, financial difficulties lead the family to convert the mansion into the Hotel Royal. Throughout the Depression, the hotel struggled and in 1948 the Russian government obtained a 50 year lease on this three-story property that served as the Russian Embassy until 1998.

New W Hotel

New W Hotel

Old Russian Embassy

Old Russian Embassy

During the weekend, the new model was displayed at the recently renovated Siam Center mall. There is a fun promotional video that you can see by clicking here.

New Pulsar

New Pulsar

Pulsars at Siam Center

Pulsars at Siam Center

Kop Khun Krab.

© 2013 Kurt Brown. All rights reserved.

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2 Responses to Kamphaeng Phet Markets

  1. kt says:

    First of all, what is capsicum and what are you planning to do with it? Second, why are the oranges green, and finally, what do the soda fountain truck owners have against the Pink Panther!!

    • KB says:

      Capsicum are sweet red pepper; Oranges are green on outside but orange, juicy and sweet on the inside; I never liked the Pink Panther.

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