You may come to Chiang Mai for the temples, historical Lanna buildings, the nature or spas. You might practice meditation, yoga or traditional Thai massage. Whatever the reason is, one of the biggest delights is the abundance of colourful markets. We have listed the seven most important markets you should visit on a trip to Chiang Mai:
Warorot Market is a well-known landmark in Chiang Mai and marks the centre of the city’s little Chinatown. The quirky market excites visitors with its vibrant atmosphere and is often considered a place where you can still see the old and real Chiang Mai. Warorot Market is a multi-story shopping centre with dozens of traditional shops, selling mostly food (ground floor) and clothes (upper floors). What many people don’t know is that a similar building, called Ton Lamyai, is just on the opposite of Warorot and features also plenty of vendors selling food and clothes. The open-air market just outside these buildings is home to hundreds of vendors, selling everything from food and clothes over ceramics to flowers and handicrafts. All three markets combined make up the largest daily market area in town.
Open: 05:00-18:00 (Warorot/Ton Lamyai), 05:00-23:00 (the outside market) Address: end of Chiang Moi Road, near the Ping River
Chiang Mai Gate is dominated by two daily markets: the morning market until noon times and the night food market from 17:00 until noon. The morning market is a true gem among all the markets. It takes mainly place in the semi-open market hall and gives you plenty of fantastic photo opportunities. Yes, you may have to wake up early, as the market starts by 04:30, but it’s definitely worth it. Watch locals haggling, preparing delicious Thai treats and monks collecting alms. Visiting the morning market gets you a unique glimpse of the typical Thai life. You can barely see any tourists until 09:00 am.
These are by far the most popular markets for visitors. As the name reveals, the markets only happen on the weekend. Although they can be very crowded, visiting the markets is one of the best shopping experiences you may have in Chiang Mai. The streets are lined up with vendors selling mainly artisan items and unique clothes which won’t be anywhere else available. Other vendors are specialized in food, a perfect way to sample a lot of northern Thai cuisine.
Saturday Night Walking Street:
Every Saturday, from 17:00 onwards, the busy Wualai Road turns into a huge pedestrian zone. Wualai Road starts just southwest of Chiang Mai Gate and was once the centre of the silversmiths of Chiang Mai. A few artists still practising the art of silversmiths and demonstrating their skills by producing wonderful items made from zinc and alloy.
The Sunday market is like the big sister of the above mentioned Saturday market; it opens already by noon around Thapae Gate and expands during the late afternoon along the length of Rachadamnoen Road which is also turned into a pedestrian zone. The highlight here is an open-air food court, situated around a large golden stupa.
The famous Night Bazaar opens seven days a week and draws thousands of visitors every night. Watch vendors selling clothes, souvenirs, fake Rolex watches, cheap DVDs and much more. The Night Bazaar offers items at prices you may not find elsewhere and it’s a perfect place to develop your haggling skills. If you’re looking for handicraft items, it is recommendable to visit the Saturday –or Sunday Night Walking Street for better quality ones. Many local and international restaurants are clustered around the market area, some with live music and traditional Thai dancers.
Open: daily, from 18:00-midnight Address: along Chang Klan Road
Plants and flowers are probably things you won’t pack in your suitcase but it’s yet another picturesque market and well worth a visit. You can find a huge diversity of tropical flower species here: from orchids over lilies to lotuses. On top, the market has also a large fish section and yet another with a lot of kitsch garden figures.
Open: daily, 09:00-18:00 Address: behind TESCO Lotus on the Superhighway, north of the city
JJ Market (Jing Jai) is conveniently located in walking distance to Kham Tiang Market. The market complex consists of indoor and outdoor areas and specializes in organic food, fruits, vegetables, handicrafts, spa products, second hand furniture and antique goods. The buildings are designed in typical Lanna style and the market provides also a number of dining facilities and coffee shops.
Open: daily, 11:00-20:00 Address: 45 Assadathon Road, near the Superhighway
Although this market seems solely to target young and fashion oriented Thai, it is also an interesting place for foreign visitors. Dozens of vendors sell everything fashion related from hats and bags over shoes and undergarments to pants and beachwear. If you’re craving for food, Kad Rincome has a big dining complex with a mix of Thai and western food. As mentioned, this market focuses on Thais only, therefore don’t be wondered if you miss any sort of souvenir products or come across a language barrier. That being said, it’s an awesome and vibrant place to visit.
Open: 18:00-midnight Address: at the junction of Huay Kaew Road and Nimmanhaemin Road