Walking Streets ~ Koh Samui, Thailand

Colourful soaps carved into flower shapes.

Carved Soap in decorated wooden boxes: Mae Nam's Walking Street

“Eating, sleeping and shopping.”

If you ask a Thai to name the country’s three favourite pastimes, this is what they will tell you. “Chatting” (คุยกันเล่น) comes a close fourth. As a general rule, Thai people value relaxing and having a good time.

I was reminded of this on our recent visit to Koh Samui. When we are on the island, we get so busy coping with the vagaries of dealing with tradespeople and agents that we don’t explore the “everyday” as often as we might. Every week nearby towns close a stretch of narrow roadway to traffic and let the already-crouded-markets flow into the roadway. Here, Thais (and visitors) can indulge in eating, shopping and chatting to their hearts’ content.

Twilight view of a Thai market street

The Wednesday evening Mae Nam Walking Street is still relatively quiet.

A friend of mine who lives on the island reminded us about the Wednesday evening “Walking Street” in the little town of Mae Nam. While I find evening markets a photographic challenge because of the light (or lack thereof) and the crowded spaces, they are also a great opportunity to meet and chat with local people.

Smiling Thai woman sitting at a table of colourful carved soaps.

Soap Carver ~ Mae Nam


The soap is pressed into a mould before carving.

White-handled knife with soap-maiking supplies.

Soap-carving tools.

Carved soap on a wooden box.

The carved soaps are so intricate, I wouldn't want to use them.

Carved yellow soap in a carved coconut container.

"But they smell nice, and last a long time," she told me in Thai.

Gold-trimmed butterfly jewellery

My next stop was to admire the butterfly jewellery ~

Beautiful young thai woman in an orchid necklace.

The young woman selling the jewellery told me she usually sells these pieces in Phuket, but the tsunami warnings had made the markets there very quiet.

Gold-trimmed orchid jewellery

She told us her family in Chiang Mai made the jewellery, sourcing the best orchids and butterflies (who had died of natural causes, she assured us) from around the area.

Colourful cordials or presses over ice are still popular market drinks in Thailand.

Cordial drink stand on the back of a scooter.

This cold-drink stand is ready to roll.

Smiling thai man at a portable pancake stand

Food is ALWAYS close at hand in Thailand: here a man is ready to make fresh banana pancakes on demand.

Quirky pipes in Rasta hats

Amazing what you can buy on the Walking Street!

A Chinese temple at night

At the bottom of the Walking Street in Mae Nam there is a Chinese temple where you can pop in to make an offering.

We weren’t available Friday, when the “Fisherman’s Village” of neighbouring Bo Phut holds its weekly “Walking Street”, so we had to duck cars, busses and bikes as we explored the restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques of Thanon Haad Bo Phut.

Blue scooter against a peeling green wall.

In Fisherman's Village, old buildings mix ~

Wooden Chinese-style doors in a white wall

~ with stylish, up-market villas.

Carved mango-wood vases

Shops are crowded with wooden products...

Carved wooden Thai ladies

... inside and out.

A wall of thongs for sale.

Colour and patterns abound.

Old wooden pier, Bo Phut

Take a break from the street and wander out onto the old wooden pier; still very much in use.

Buildings, new and traditional, stretch along a Thai beach.

From the pier, you can pick out your dining options.

Dining table on the beach with white curtain canopy.

Dining in style on the beach at Bo Phut.

White daisy arrangement on banana leaf - Bo Phut Beach

Afternoon flowers.

We settled for a rather more modest dining location, but it doesn’t matter: on Samui, even in the “cheap seats”, you usually get a beautiful view with your dinner.

Silhouette of a thai fishing boat against a blue and purple sea and sky.

Koh Samui offers up another beautiful sunset.

Text: Happy Travels

Eating, sleeping, shopping – and chatting.

Not a bad way to live, really.

Happy travels!


  • Lesley Fisher - May 24, 2012 - 8:24 am

    Great shots Ursula….I am off there tonight, may even be tempted now to take the camera! I love the shot of the Chinese Temple and the one of the wooden pier…lovely.
    Hope you are well xReplyCancel

    • Ursula - May 24, 2012 - 11:37 am

      Thanks, Lesley, for reminding us to walk… 😉
      Guava, if I had a brother on Samui I would surely visit more often! Thanks for stopping by the site. 🙂
      Welcome, Susan! Nice of you to join us here. 😀ReplyCancel

  • Guava - May 24, 2012 - 9:05 am

    Great shots Ursula. It’s been a couple of years since I was on Samui, I really should go to see my brother in Chaweng!ReplyCancel

  • Susan dejesus - May 24, 2012 - 9:45 am

    Enjoyed the photographs of your adventures!ReplyCancel

  • Virgonc - May 24, 2012 - 2:14 pm

    Great shot 🙂 I like Samui so much! We never miss friday market in Bophut! Maenam market is same. Really great shot. I miss Samui and i miss this walking streets. I can’t wait to go back as soon as possible 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Virgonc - May 24, 2012 - 2:18 pm

    You should have to visit a buffalo fight in Samui. Very interesting for a photographer 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Ursula - May 24, 2012 - 4:53 pm

      Welcome, Virconc!
      Yes, a buffalo fight is something I want to try to photograph… though maybe only once! 😉ReplyCancel

  • Signe Westeberg - May 25, 2012 - 1:51 am

    great photo’s as always Ursula – thanks for sharing themReplyCancel

  • dietmut - May 25, 2012 - 8:14 pm

    A nice and various series Ursula. Dining on the beach very romantic. Beautiful carving soaps and nice the image of fishermen village. I wish yiou a nice weekend, DietmutReplyCancel

    • Ursula - May 28, 2012 - 2:00 am

      Greetings Signe and Dietmut! I am always so pleased for you to join me. 🙂ReplyCancel

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