Saturday night is the high point of the week for the people of Nong Khai, and the place to head to is the Night Market on the Tha Sadet road which runs along the river front from the main part of Nong Khai town to the Friendship Bridge to Laos. It starts from dusk and, as the title of this post suggests, it is held every Saturday.
About Nong Khai Saturday Night Market
I really like this market for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it is on the river side. The mighty Kong river (the Mekong as it is known to most, but actually ‘mair’ means river in Thai so its English name is really the Kong river) forms a picturesque backdrop. There is something intriguingly romantic about seeing the lights from the market and the houses in Laos lining the river at night.
The second thing I like about this market is that it is not primarily about shopping. It is one big party where people might also buy some stuff at the same time. At the Eastern (town end) start point of the market there is a stage with seating. All night there is a succession of bands, comedy performances, and various public figures making announcements and giving awards.
Further on there are plenty of buskers, performers and another stage which is devoted to music for a younger generation which kicks off later in the evening.
Family Friendly Market
The third thing I like about this market is that it is a real family outing with activities for children to participate in.
The picture above is one of the stalls where children paint models. There are other activities aimed at families at this market as well.
Food at the Saturday Night Market
The fourth thing I like about this market is the variety of food on offer. Lots of it from noodles, to Thai deserts, to grasshoppers fried with chilli and lime. I have to admit I eat none of that last time I went. Instead I opted for sausage and mash, and a couple of beers, at the ever reliable Noi and Brendan’s restaurant which is about half way along the river side market.
This is a great place to sit, have a drink, and soak up the atmosphere, which is the fifth, final and most important thing I like about Nongkhai’s Saturday night market. In South East Asia it’s all about the markets and this one is about as good as it gets.