The Thai-Cambodia land border at Aranyaprathet is possibly the most popular land border crossing between these two countries. It is a preferred route for backpackers, budget travelers and for those who wish to experience parts of Thailand away from the tourist trail. While, Aranyaprathet, the border city on the Thai side, is an intriguing city in its own right, a lot of tourists give this city a miss and head straight into Cambodia. I too did the same thing the last time I did the overland crossing into Cambodia. But, this time, thanks to the tourist authority of Thailand, I got to explore a bit more of Aranyaprathet and understand its importance as a shopping border town.
While this town rose in importance as a popular land border crossing, its path to fame is its shopping arena and border market. A lot of people from the rest of Thailand come here every morning and more so during the weekends to buy goods in bulk. Popular items of sale are clothes, shoes, bags, household goods, daily usables, food and more. The market is massive and can test the stamina and strength of even the most die hard shopper. While most of the shops sell the same kinds of goods and for the local Thai people, some of them stock on souvenirs for the tourists. Since goods are procured from Cambodia at a wholesale price and due to the heavy competition, the price of the goods works out to be very less and you get a great bargain if you buy in bulk.
Even if you are not buying anything, this border market offers a great insight into a Thai countryside living. The color, the smells and the vibrant atmosphere in this border market will appeal to all kinds of tourists and especially those ones who like to click a lot of pictures. The one thing that you need to watch out here is for the pick pockets. Apart from that, this border market has enough variety in it to keep you enthralled for a full day and the next day you can enter Cambodia.