This is the third of a four-part series on traveling to Thailand to document the journeys of two Houston natives exploring Muay Thai in its element. Read part one here and part two here.

The Thai market. A staple within any Thai neighborhoods. And the first place I have ever been where I could buy a cell phone, a pig's head, fanny packs, fire-roasted crickets, and a Nescafé iced coffee all in one place. 

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The front of the market across the street from where I stayed in Isaan.

In Thailand, there are night markets, day markets, weekday markets, weekend markets, and a market for anything you can imagine. Everywhere we went in the country, the markets caught my attention as much as the Muay Thai fighters I was there to document. 

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Various meats for purchase

The market is the place I went everyday for my 75-cent iced coffee. It was also the place where my traveling companion and our hosts would get dinner most of the time. The markets were always bustling, and always hot. Even from a distance, they smelled of the heavy blend of Thai spices—galangal, lemongrass, coriander, a million different kinds of chile peppers—wafting from from all the possible dinner options.

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Bulk rice, spices and flour for sale.

Everybody bought something different each night for dinner: desserts, curries, grilled chicken, fresh coconut—we bought it all. Even though we always bought enough to feed four to five people, we could never manage to spend more than $20.

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A bustling morning market

Everything is negotiable. Everything is for sale. The mornings are a different crew than the night vendors, we found, while the morning markets mostly drew people buying items for their own night market affairs, the two groups feeding off of each other in a sort of symbiosis. Like the fighting rings in the villages, the markets offered a true, and truly fast-paced, experience within the Thai community.

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A butcher cuts meat to order.

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Getting set up and prepared for night market is an all-day operation.

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Watches for sale of various provenance.

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A driver waits for riders in front of the market with his tuktuk.

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All manner of garlands and different Buddhist offerings are always for sale.

This is the third of a four-part series on traveling to Thailand to document the journeys of two Houston natives exploring Muay Thai in its element. Read part one here and part two here.

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