If you are coming to Chiang Mai, bring money and a big bag. The shopping in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand is unbelievably good. And, mostly cheap. We have highlighted what we believe to be the best places for all things plus an added ultra touristy market for good measure.
The Wualai Saturday Walking Market
By far, the best night market in Chiang Mai. It is on a long stretch of road just to the south east of the southern moat of the old city. See map at the end of the this post. The markets start at 5pm and run till way past 11pm. And the products are just fantastic.
It is a smaller version of the Sunday Walking market but we feel as though it has more of a soul. A lot of Chiang Mai locals come to this market to hang out, shop for hand made items and eat delicious foods. Cheaply.
Wua Lai Street, Chiang Mai, Saturday from 5pm to very late. The earlier you come the better, it gets pretty busy quickly!
The Sunday Walking Street Market
This market is what makes shopping in Chiang Mai famous. It stretches from outside of the moat at Tae Pae Gate, all the way inside on Ratchadamnoen Road and all the side streets off it and parallel. It is massive. If you can spare two Sundays, we do recommend you do Ratchadamneon one week, and then the rest of the market the following week. It is that big.
Because of the size, the market starts at around 5pm and ends at about 11pm. The earlier you get there the better though, it gets very busy very quickly. You will find little food courts at each of the temples along the walking street, as well as massage chairs. When your feet get sore, stop and be pummelled!
Ractchadamnoen Road and most side streets and streets parallel, Sunday from 5pm till late.
Chiang Mai's Night Bazaar
This is the place you want to go if you are interested in all things touristy. Here, you can find your wooden croaking frogs, cute kids clothing, clocks made out of cans, everything made out of wood that you can imagine. Everything. Most at very inflated prices. If you must buy something from here, do so while bargaining hard. Do remember though that you're still not talking about huge amounts of money and they probably need that dollar more than you.
Although this market is not one of our favourites, it is still pleasant enough for a weeknight browse and walk.
Chiang Mai's Night Bazaar which is open every night of the year from 5pm till midnight is held along Chang Khlan Road. Eastern side of Old City.
If you are like us, you like to shop where the locals shop. This market is it. Here you will find the local Thai people doing their daily shopping. All things fresh – fruit, vegetables, meat, spices and even flowers can be found here. There are a number of stalls that sell clothing at very reasonable prices too. May not fit you but check them out anyhow.
Wararot Market is open from 7am till about 5pm in the afternoon. Corner Chiang Moi Road and Wichayanon Road. The main market space is indoors and quite cool. You will find a number of stalls surrounding the inner markets as well as the beautiful flower lined street just next to the river.
This may not be a “market” as such, but deserves a gold star mention. This is the place to go if you need anything IT related. Perhaps a new screen for your laptop, a cable for your camera, anything. If one shop doesn't have it, they will tell you which shop does. All prices are reasonable if not down right too cheap.
Computer Plaza is situated just outside the north west moat, from Huai Kaeo Road. Open from around 10am till about 10pm every day of the week.
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