Tuesday Market

When planning your stop-off in Soppong, make sure you leave Tuesday in your calendar as the day to stay in town and visit the Tuesday Market. Soppong is admittedly a bit of a 'one horse', relatively modern town, and other than the spectacular surrounding scenery, it doesn’t have a lot going for it. But this sleepy village bursts into life once a week when the Tuesday market comes to town. Rotating between various nearby districts, on Tuesdays, it is the turn of Soppong to become the market centre for the Hill Tribe villages and farmer's wares. Villagers from the surrounding hills, including Karen, Shan, Lahu, Hmong and Lisu all congregate at the Soppong market after making the long trek down from their villages, high up in the mountains. The vendors, who have travelled from as far away as Pai and Mae Hong Son, set up their wares along the roadside, near the bus stop, before dawn, and close up shop at around midday. It is colourful and a very old-style occasion, with many sellers laying their produce on mats on the ground. With only the occasional tourist to be seen, it is a truly genuine local market - a place where Hill Tribe villagers and local farmers sell their produce to each other - harkening back to a bygone age. A scene rarely to be found in present-day Thailand. Their produce ranges from thanaka bark (cosmetic face paste), to bags of fermented tea leaves and dried fermented soya bean paste, to fresh fruit, vegetables and of course all manner of local handicrafts, bracelets, trinkets and the like. As ever, there are plenty of food stalls to be found along the market's half a mile length selling such Northern and Hill Tribe delicacies as Kow Soi, Burmese-style noodles, grilled chicken and other grilled meats. The 'hole in the wall' nearby rice and noodle shops also enjoy a thriving trade. The choice is yours.

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