Koh Lanta is a very relaxed island where you can spend your days island hopping, lounging on the beach, diving, volunteering at Lanta Animal Welfare, or slinging back a beer while watching the sunset. This island is the perfect getaway if you’ve just spent a few crazy nights on neighbouring Koh Phi Phi. You might be able to easily keep yourself busy during the day, but at night the island really winds down (unless, to your surprise, you stumble upon a “half moon” party on the beach!). When we were staying close to the ferry pier in the northern part of the island, we were wandering about the town one night after yet another delicious dinner of Pad Thai and we found a night market. Now, this wasn’t just any market – the Koh Lanta night market is going down in the books as one of the most bizarre markets I have ever come across during my travels..
There was more skewered food here than I have ever seen in one place and that’s saying a lot since I live in HK! Not only was there tonnes of barbecued food, but some of the skewers were weirdly shaped and colored as different Angry Birds. We played it safe with the barbecued chicken and it was juicy, tender, and oh-so-sweet.
Besides the skewered meat there were sushi rolls (first time I’ve seen stall sushi), milkshakes (unfortunately quite icy), massive mounds of cotton candy, cute chocolate covered strawberries, and some other local food that I wasn’t too sure about (see the last picture – what kind of sea monster is that?!).
The food is cheap and, for the most part, delicious. I highly recommend sampling a few things from the different stalls so long as you don’t mind some flies landing on your piece of chicken – yum!
Clothing & Accessory Stores
There were also dozens of clothing and accessory stores in this night market. Though there was nothing in the shops that I hadn’t seen throughout the various other markets in Thailand, it was still interesting to wander about. There were even cotton candy vendors set up along the shop walkways if you needed to refuel after buying a bunch of crap you don’t need.
The Carnival Attractions
This was definitely the most bizarre part of the Koh Lanta night market. When we finished walking through all the different shops, we came into what I can only name as the Cabinet of Curiosities (obviously stolen from Cirque de Soleil). At first it was just a bit strange – walking past a small crowd of people playing BINGO and various other carnival games. There was a child no older than five that was playing a dart game with real darts, but I’m going to try not to judge the safety practises here..
As we walked out from under the tented area there were trampolines, a pathetic merry-go-round, and some blow-up slides with children playing on them. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “what’s so bizarre about that?” Well, on my far left side there was a dunk tank. But, this wasn’t just any dunk-tank. There was a scantly clad woman dancing to hip hop on the chair, enticing intoxicated men to pay for a chance to soak her (you can watch the video here). My mouth literally dropped at the sight..
On my right there were kids having the time of their lives on these carnival rides and only a few feet away this perplexing adult-only dunk-tank entertainment was happening. I’m not going to lie here, I definitely did laugh, but it was one of those awkward, unsure kind of laughs. This was another “welcome to Asia” moment.
Even though the Koh Lanta night market was extremely odd, I did really enjoy it. Exploring the market was interesting since it was clearly catering to only locals (only saw a few tourists walking around), so it gave me a bit of a sense of what locals do for “fun”.