BRING A SECOND SUITCASE FOR THE CHIANG MAI NIGHT MARKETS
Whenever I am planning a trip somewhere I try to bring as little as possible. It’s not because I’m trying to bring a smaller backpack or a smaller carry on suitcase, but because I need to have as much empty space in my luggage as possible for all of the stuff I end up buying on my travels.
My favorite thing to buy when I’m on my travels is local art. Whether its paintings, carvings, or ceramics, I love bringing something home that has some local flare.
When I was doing research on things that I wanted to do in Chiang Mai, I came across many different types of activities like Tiger Kingdom, Chiang Mai Zoo, Ran-Tong, PooPooPaper Park, Elephant Parade House, and the Chiang Mai Night Markets.
Who knew that I would end up going to the Chiang Mai Night Markets every night I was there?
There are three major Chiang Mai Night Markets:
- Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
- Saturday Night Market Walking Street
- Sunday Night Market Walking Street
I spent the majority of my time at the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar because it was right by my Airbnb. So my insight will mainly focus around the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. You’ll want to ensure that you bring Thai Bhats because credit cards aren’t accepted by many vendors.
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
The Chiang Mai Night Market is located on the East side of Chiang Mai on Chang Khlang Road. The market weaves through different side streets off Chang Khlang road.
Hours of Operation
The daily Chiang Mai Night Market goes on seven days a week. The vendors will usually set up at around 5pm and stay open until 1am. The closing time also depends on the foot traffic in the area. If there are still lots of people out and about at 1am, then they might stay out later. The same goes for if there aren’t many people out and about; they might close down a bit early.
What Goes On
This night market was located close to my Airbnb, so it was where I headed for dinner most nights. If you’re looking for street food, you will pass tons of local street food as you make your way to the market. You’ll want to grab your food before you make it to the market because the prices for food inside the market area tends to be about double the price you would pay for the same thing outside the market. Now for me, I wasn’t worried about the food prices because I was mostly eating at McDonalds.
The Chiang Mai Night Bazaar has lots of local art that is available for purchase. Inside the night market, you can even watch some local artists working on paintings. I did pick up a few pieces of art for my apartment back in the United States.
When you see something that you want to buy, you need to be ready to negotiate. The initial price that you will be given will definitely be higher than the price that they will actually accept. So I would offer back with a price that you would be comfortable paying and then if they say “no” just walk away and as you are walking away, more often than not, they will call you back and agree to your price.
One of my favorite things at the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar was getting a fish pedicure. This was the first time in my life that I had any type of pedicure, let alone a fish pedicure. For those that don’t know a fish pedicure is, it’s a type of pedicure where you put your feet in a tub of water with little fish that eat the dead skin on your feet. It does tickle at first, but after the first minute it actually becomes quite relaxing. For fifteen minutes I paid 100 Bhat, which is about 3 USD.
You will find it all at the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. You’re going to find your street food, local art, and all sorts of nick-nacks to fill your shelves back home. If you want a fake Rolex or an imitation designer handbag, you will find plenty of them at the Night Bazaar as well. I would highly recommend that, if you’re in Chiang Mai, you make sure you check out the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar.
Saturday Night Market Walking Street
The Saturday Night Market Walking Street is located on Wui Lai Road, just opposite of the Chiang Mai Gate. The entire road is shut down to all vehicles so you can walk freely on Wui Lai Road as you shop for local goods.
Hours of Operation
The market is every Saturday and runs from 4pm until midnight.
What Goes On
The Chiang Mai Saturday Market is going to have a lot of the same items that you would come across at the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. You’ll find more local shoppers and more local vendors.
You’ll find street entertainers, street food, a wide variety of art, clothing, and all sorts of local goods.
I did notice that everything in general was priced cheaper than the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. I believe this is due to the fact that there are a lot more local people shopping here and due to the fact that there are so many people shopping at the Saturday Market, they don’t have time to negotiate, so they price their stuff at a fair price.
Due to the fact that the Chiang Mai Saturday Market is only one day a week you can expect that it is going to be extremely crowded. As with any crowded area make sure that you are keeping an eye on your wallet and other positions because there could be people pickpocketing.
Sunday Night Market Walking Street
The Chiang Mai Sunday Market is located in the center of the old walked city. It starts at the Tha Phae Gate and goes the entire length of Ratchadamnoen Road. Just like the Saturday market, Ratchadamnoen Road is closed to all traffic so you can walk about the street and shop the market.
Hours of Operation
The market is every Sunday and runs for 4pm until midnight.
What Goes On
It’s been said that the Sunday Market is where you will find the absolute best deals. The Sunday Market is where the majority of the Northern Thai locals will come to sell their handmade goods. So, if you are looking for that perfect handmade gift, you will be sure to find it at the Chiang Mai Sunday Night Market.
If you want to get away from the crowds, there are quite a few bars and coffee shops in the area that will be open until at least midnight, when the market closes.
Due to spending all of my time at the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar and Saturday Night Market, it didn’t leave me much time for wandering around the Sunday Night Market because I had other activates going on.
I would love to hear about your experience at the Sunday Night Market or any of the other Chiang Mai Night Markets in the comments below.
All in all, if you do find yourself in Chiang Mai, you’ll want to make sure you find some time to go to at least one of the three Chiang Mai Night Markets. You’ll get to see some of the best local Norther Thai art, pick up some fantastic souvenirs, and try amazing street food (if you’re into that kind of thing). Oh yeah, I almost forgot, don’t forget that second suitcase so you have enough room for all of your new souvenirs!
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