To have a truly fantastic dining experience in Thailand, you don’t need the upmarket, Michelin-starred restaurant that might be necessary in the West. All that’s really needed, in our opinion, is a couple of plastic stools, some good company and a fresh plate of seafood within the bustling seaside atmosphere of Naklua Fish Market.
It’s located north of Pattaya, in the Na Klua district on the coast. It’s a short drive away from the hotel, and the area is good for a family day trip, as it provides an insight into the local Thai residential areas of the eastern seaboard, as the fishing town of Naklua contains no shopping malls, bars or upscale restaurants that other areas are famed for. Tourists come to Naklua, albeit in smaller numbers, for a real Thai experience.
The prices at the market are not an indication of quality, as you can get a kilo of the best, fresh shrimp for less than 200 THB (~$6), while the squid, shellfish and fish are also generously priced. It would be wise not to try and haggle at this market due to the highly reasonable pricing, and food is not normally bartered over in Thailand.
The market is open early, from 5am to 9am every day, so as with any fresh market around the world, the earlier the better. If you can manage a pre-sunrise trip you will likely have the pick of the goods before the lazier of us make it down to Naklua Fish Market. Even if you’re not intending to buy fish, and are prepared to get a little wet around the feet, touring around this market the and surrounding area can be an enlightening and rich experience, mostly due to the local Thai hospitality among the vendors and suppliers, creating a real community atmosphere.
When you’ve finished with your meal (we recommend having breakfast or lunch here, as this is when the produce is fresh), you can stroll around to Naklua Beach, around 5 minutes walk from the market, and down the beach to the Sanctuary of Truth, a hand-0carved teak wood temple that straddles Naklua Beach a short distance away on Naklua Soi 12.
Pattaya-Naklua, Muang Pattaya, Amphoe Bang Lamung, Chang Wat Chon Buri 20150
- Monday - Sunday 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM