It’s Friday and Hua Hin’s newest open-air market is crawling with families, groups of teenagers, and tourists of all hues, all set to shop until they drop.
At the entrance, an illuminated alphabet sculpture standing in a dark pool of water spells out its name; lights strung on the trees give the place a fairground atmosphere.
In one corner, a gang of break-dancers performs to the staccato beats from a boom box, while shoppers throng stalls selling everything from handmade paper, dolls, and lamps to postcards, hand-painted T-shirts, costume jewellery, and everything in between.
Sprawling over four acres just outside Hua Hin town in the Khao Takiab area, Cicada (or Community of Identity Culture, Arts & Dynamic Activities) was created as a medium for artists and designers to connect with the community.
Only open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, it is divided into four zones: Art A La Mode features local vendors and from Bangkok and the surrounding areas. This where you can pick up casual fashion like the simple, flowing lines available at Head Over Heels. Or cute home accessories from Lullaby by Liken. Original Cin sells one-of-a-kind accessories and clothes using motifs from traditional Thai sarongs, while Baan Tak Tor not only peddles dolls made from yarn, but also outfits and accessories for them.
The two white buildings in the centre of the market that make up the Cicada Art Factory, give young artists a space to display and sell their original artworks. The Amphitheatre, designed to educate and amuse visitors, provides a stage for bands, dance troupes, or theatre groups.
All that shopping is going to make you hungry, which is when Cicada Cuisine is the place to be with its wide variety of local and international delicacies, such as grilled seafood, pork satay, pad thai, fried mussels, Chinese noodles, Korean barbecue, Italian pasta dishes, and mouth-watering array of desserts. And if you are thirsty, there is plenty of beer on tap.
The perfect place to hang out either with the family, or a group of friends.