Your Guide to Hua Hin’s Famous Markets: Insider tips from a local

There are around eight Hua Hin night markets (depending on the season and day of the week). Locals mostly visit some, and others are nothing more than a couple of food vendors setting up shop next to a park.

However, there are three significant ones, visited by tourists, ex-pats, and locals, that I’m going to cover here. I’ll tell you how they operate, what you can buy there, and some insider tips on how to get the best out of your visit.

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Hua Hin Night Market

The lively Hua Hin Night Market, found in the city’s heart, dates back several decades. The market has been a fixture in Hua Hin for as long as locals can remember, offering a slice of authentic Thai culture to generations of visitors. 

The Night Market began in response to the influx of visitors, providing a place to purchase daily necessities and mingle, socialise and immerse in the local culture. Even after Hua Hin’s transformation into a bustling tourist hotspot, the Night Market still retains the old-world charm and vibrant street life that first defined it.

Hua Hin Night market - This one is on every night
Hua Hin Night market – This one is on every night

What’s for Sale?

Hua Hin night market is an actual market in every sense. Apart from traditional street food and drinks, there’s an array of products, ranging from handmade crafts to stylish clothing. We bought shirts, shorts, and nicknacks for our home from there.

How’s the Entertainment?

Halfway along Soi 72, opposite Ko Seafood, is Ko Bar. The same company operates it and is a chill-out bar where you can get anything from tap beer to cocktails and eat bar snacks and Thai favourites. Every night between 6.30 pm and 7.00 pm, a singer plays his guitar and serenades everyone with popular songs from the 60s right through to today. Sitting outdoors, drinking a beer, and listening to him sing was my favourite pastime for ages.

Soaking up the night market atmosphere

What About the Prices?

Hua Hin Night Market has the broadest range of eating options. You can buy three chicken skewers for 100 baht or sit down at a seafood restaurant and order a lobster for 2,000 baht. Street food, snacks, and drinks are around 80–100 baht.

My favourite chicken skewers

Insider Tips and What I Love (or Don’t)

For ages, this was my favourite market, and we went often. I like that there’s a choice between local street food, sit-down restaurants, and bars. As I mentioned, it was my favourite hangout, and we often got massages there, too. I especially love that, unlike the other markets, it’s open every night. 

My favourite drink there (apart from the draught beer at the bar) is the avocado shake with honey, available from one of the first vendors as you enter the soi. I like the food the most at Ko Bar. The macaroni gai (macaroni with chicken in tomato sauce) is awesome, and my husband adores the mushroom soup. 

Hours: Hua Hin Night Market is open every single day of the year from 5 pm to midnight. 
Where: It’s located right in the heart of Hua Hin in Soi 72 between Phet Kasem Road and Prapokklao Road.
How to Get There: A songtaew runs every 15 minutes from the airport to Tamarind Market (see below) but has a major stop at Hua Hin Night Market. It only operates until 8pm, after that, get a taxi or a tuk-tuk. Some of the 5-star resorts also offer their guests a free shuttle bus to this market

Cicada Night Market

The Cicada Night Market, brimming with a vibrant blend of art, culture, and commerce, first opened its doors in 2010. Located in the Khao Takiab area of Hua Hin, the market was created to promote local craftsmanship and artistic expression.

Cicada Night market Hua Hin sign
Cicada Night Market

It stands out as a hub where local artisans, designers, and performers can showcase their talents to residents and tourists alike. Over the years, Cicada has grown in popularity, becoming a must-visit spot for anyone seeking a unique and artistic shopping experience. 

You can’t miss the Cicada Market: bright lights and an Instagram-worthy entrance. The throngs of people taking photos in front of butterfly wings will identify it. 

The market is split into two parts: the dining section, where street food vendors offer every possible Thai creation, from staples like Pad Thai and Pad Kra Pow to local curries and desserts. Western favourites like pizza and pasta are also available.

The concept is very food court. Upon entering, you queue up for food tickets. It costs 100 baht per strip, and on the strip are 50 baht, 1 x 20 baht, 2 x 10 baht, and 2 x 5 baht. You exchange these for food at each stall. While this negates the need to handle cash, I’m not a fan, and I’ll go into more detail a bit further down. 

What’s for Sale?

The second part of the market is where the artisans display their work. You can buy hand-painted art, ceramics, bespoke clothing, sunglasses, and souvenirs galore. At the far end of the grounds is a flea market selling very cheap clothes.

How’s the Entertainment?

Cicada Market has two entertainment areas, the second one of which not many people even realise is there. The primary one is near the front; live bands perform there every night from 7 p.m.

The second area is at the back of the food stalls. It’s a stage where live dancing and other performances happen. The local performers are excellent, and it’s worth looking for it.

What About the Prices?

Here’s the thing about Cicada Market. It’s more expensive than the other two, in some cases significantly. Remember the strips of food vouchers? You’re going to need more than one, a lot more.

Take the chicken skewers from the example above. Three of them will cost 115 baht, so if you’re working on a 15% increase for everything, which is about right, depending on the size of your group and how much you eat, you’ll end up paying a lot more.

Insider Tips and What I Love (or Don’t)

If you want a table in front of the entertainment, you’ll need to get there early as the market does fill up. As I mentioned, it’s worth hunting down the second entertainment stage.

My favourite thing to eat at Cicada is the Pad Thai in the Egg Net, Pad Thai can be very hit and miss anywhere you go, but they always get it right here.

Food tickets are useful in shopping mall food courts as they allow the staff to focus on cooking and not on counting out change. For me, it doesn’t translate well to this market. On a busy night, you have to queue for ages at one of only two ticket boxes.

Food vouchers, buy them early to avoid long queues

The biggest catch of all is that any non-used tickets can only be cashed in—at one of the two long-queue ticket boxes—on that same day. I can’t tell you how many nights I went home only to find a few tickets still in my pocket. Instant commission for the market organisers right there.

Hua Hin Songtaew
Hua Hin’s Famous Songtaew will get you from the Hua Hin night market to the others

When: Cicada Market is a weekend market, it’s only open Friday to Sunday from 5 pm to midnight.
Where: Cicada Market is right on Phet Kasem Road, a couple of doors from Tamarind Market.
How to Get There: There is a songtaew from Hua Hin Night Market every day until 8 pm. It operates every 15 minutes or so, and the cost in 2024 is 15 baht per person.

Tamarind Night Market

Remember how I said at the start that Hua Hin Night Market was my favourite? It was until I became a regular at Tamarind Market, Which is a few doors down from Cicada Market and on the main street of Phet Kasem Road

Tamarind market hua hin
Tamarind Market is a short walk from Cicada

New to the scene, Tamarind Market opened in 2017. Created as a contemporary space blending the charm of traditional Thai street food markets with a modern twist, it quickly became popular among locals and tourists alike.

Initially developed to complement the neighbouring Cicada Market, Tamarind Market now offers a unique experience with its eco-friendly ambience, live entertainment, and diverse range of food options. Over the years, it has evolved into a favourite for many visitors, embodying the spirit of Hua Hin’s weekend market culture.

What’s for Sale?

Predominantly a food and drink market, it offers Thai classics like Kao Man Gai (chicken with rice) and Penang Curry. There’s also pizza, burgers, Indian and Japanese food, and every possible drink, from avocado shakes to beer towers. 

How’s the Entertainment?

A singing duo entertains the crowd from the stage each night from around 6.30pm. They sing a mix of Western and Thai songs, most of which are easily recognised.

Plenty of seating surrounds the stage at Tamarind

The volume of the singing isn’t intrusive, so you can still maintain conversation around the table while enjoying the music in the background.

What About the Prices?

Another of my favourite things about Tamarind is that the prices are similar to the Hua Hin Night Market. Those famous chicken skewers (IMO, Tamarind does them the best) are also three for 100 baht. A glass of local draught beer is also 100 baht.

Insider Tips and What I Love (or Don’t)

I could rave forever about the perks of this market. It’s significantly cheaper than Cicada, there are no food vouchers, you just pay as you go, and the range of cuisines is very broad. I’m a huge fan of the Western hot dogs and the stuffed jacket potatoes, and in my opinion, this market sells the best Pad Kra Pow in all of Hua Hin. 

The other win for Tamarind Market is just how lovely the staff are. It could be that we were regulars there, but we were warmly welcomed every time at every food booth. It got to the stage where most vendors remembered what we liked to order. It was common for me to be the first customer of the night at the beer stand.

hot dog and beer hua hin

If there was any negative, it’s that it’s only open 4 days a week. I’d go every night if it was open more.

When: Tamarind Market is now open four nights a week, from Thursday to Sunday, 5pm to midnight.
Where: 117 75 ซอย หัวถนน 23 Nong Kae, Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan 77110
How to get there: It’s the last stop on the songtaew from the Hua Hin Night Market. Next door, there’s a really large car park where you can park for 50 baht. 

Visit All Three With a Limited Time

If you have only one free night in Hua Hin, and it happens to fall on a weekend, you can visit all three night markets and experience the best they have to offer. 

My tip is to start at Tamarind, as I mentioned the food there is in my opinion the best, and it’s also the cheapest. Have a beer or a glass of wine and listen to the singers. Don’t fill up, as you’ll need to leave space for dessert, which you’ll get at Cicada. It’s a couple of minutes’ walk there. As I suggested earlier, grab a table at the back, load it up with desserts, and watch the dance performances.  

Finally, jump in the songteaw which terminates at the Hua Hin Night Market, and head on to Ko Seafood and Bar, for a couple more beers or cocktails and enjoy the live singer there. Alternatively, there is a stack of massage shops there, too, perfect for unwinding.

The markets close at midnight so you have plenty of time to do all three in one night!

About the author: Stephen left Australia in 2016 with a one-way ticket to Thailand
and hasn’t been back since. Seven years later, he’s “living the ex-pat dream”, married and settled down; he and his partner travel across Thailand competing in half-marathon running events and sampling coffee at cafes.