Fisherman’s Village Koh Samui is a historical part of Bophut, with rustic-style buildings housing boutique stores, trendy restaurants and a small selection of hotels lining the narrow Beach Road. Every Friday, the whole area becomes the site of the Fisherman’s Village Walking Street market, attracting huge numbers of shoppers from across the island for the amazing variety of wares and the lively atmosphere. This old part of Bophut Beach obviously takes its name from the fact that it was once home to a thriving fishing community.
More recently, the fishermen have moved on and the main pier has collapsed, but the old wooden shophouses remain, with a warren of narrow alleys running between many of them, giving the village a charming old look and feel.
A couple of the entrances to Fisherman’s Village Samui are marked with arches, but the area broadly consists of Bophut Beach Road and surrounding small streets. It runs from the Happy Friday Restaurant at the easternmost point, where the road meets Route 4171 to The Wharf Samui in the west. Bophut Beach Road is open to vehicle traffic most of the time (except for Friday evenings) but is one-way and is barely a car-width wide for most of its length. Many of the buildings on the beach side of the road are open at the back, offering remarkable views across the sea towards Koh Phangan.
These are mostly restaurants, many of which have tables which spread out onto the sand of the adjacent beach. Unsurprisingly, many of them specialise in Thai seafood, though you will also find a wide selection of western and international offerings and even one or two pubs and bars. With its rustic appearance, huge selection of boutique shopping, dining and accommodation options and, of course, the weekly market, Fisherman’s Village Samui is particularly popular with tourists and especially attracts couples and older travellers as well as those on a tight budget. The picturesque main road is an attraction in itself any day of the week and looks particularly striking in the half-light of dusk.
Fisherman’s Village Walking Street brings the quiet, sleepy town of Bophut to life every Friday from 17:00 to 23:00. It sees the narrow Beach Road and adjoining streets crammed with market stalls and shoppers from across Koh Samui, with a diverse range of wares available at very low prices. Many of the stalls sell much the same items as you will find in markets throughout Thailand, including 100-baht T-shirts, simple jewellery, handbags, sunglasses, beer cosies, souvenirs, watches of questionable mechanical soundness, branded clothes of dubious manufacture and electrical goods of suspicious provenance. As with all market shopping in Thailand, a certain amount of judgement and measured expectations is necessary when selecting your purchases Bophut Beach Road is already a great place for shopping, with an impressive selection of small local and boutique shops.
Many of these take part in the weekly Walking Street by simply extending their racks and shelves out onto the now carless streets. Quieter sections of the 860m road become much busier with food vendors, small cocktail bars, stalls and street performers, as do many of the side-roads. The Walking Street differs in the unusually high number of unique (or at least quite rare) goods you can find. These include interesting handicrafts, herbs and spices, musical instruments, an impressive range of shoes, high quality local fabrics, one-of-a-kind jewellery and interesting fashion designs.
You will also see fun street performances (including Muay Thai demonstrations, beatboxing and traditional Thai dances), particularly in front of the town’s old pier. The range of food and drink stalls is particularly impressive, allowing you to enjoy famous Thai treats like pad Thai, banana pancakes, tempura seafood, a host of cakes and sweets and a colourful array of street food. Prices are very low, with fresh spring rolls at 20 baht, pad Thai at 50 baht and cocktails from 70 baht. Price tags across the market generally start low and can usually be haggled down a little if you’re friendly about it. The Fisherman’s Village Walking Street is probably the most popular weekly market on Koh Samui and attracts a huge number of tourists and Thais.
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