The best markets in Chiang Mai

Night Bazaar, photo by avlxyz

Chiang Mai, the unofficial capital of Northern Thailand, is only the fifth largest city in the country, but as a travel destination it is definitely on equal footing with Bangkok. Chiang Mai is known for its beautiful temples (especially the stunning Doi Suthep), museums and gardens, but one of the best things about the city are its bustling markets. If you want to buy some souvenirs in Thailand, or just shop for shopping’s sake, the best place to find interesting items are the markets. From cheap counterfeit goods to local crafts and spices, you can find almost anything in the markets. So prepare yourself for hours and hours of rummaging and walking through stalls at some of the best markets in Chiang Mai.

Night Bazaar, Chang Khlan Road

Night Bazaars are a great way to spend the evening if you don’t feel like clubbing or hanging out in a bar. The markets open in the evening and they stay open well into the night, and most of the time they have a festive, carnival-like atmosphere. Plus, some of the best street food in Chiang Mai tends to come out at night! Many of the stalls sell souvenirs geared towards tourists, as well as pirated stuff, but if you have patience to browse through the market, you will definitely find some interesting items as well.

Sunday Walking Market, Rajdumnern Road

Warorot Market, photo by

Sunday on Rajdumnern Road is quite an experience – the road is closed to cars, and local vendors set up their stalls on the street. Unlike the Night Market, the Sunday Walking Market draws more locals than tourists, so you are less likely to fall into tourist traps. Many of the items on sale are typical for Chiang Mai – thanks to the nationwide OTOP programme, which encourages each tambon (district) to produce its local specialties and crafts.

Warorot Market, Thapae Road and Chang Moi Road

Warorot Market, also known as Kad Luang, is the main local shopping market, and it is a crowded, bustling places most days of the week. This is where many of the inhabitants of Chiang Mai do their shopping, and this is where you should go if you are interested in buying things like fabrics, tea and spices – as well as jewelry, shoes, and even flowers! If you are hungry, you can snack on fried pork rinds (Kaep Moo), nam prik (very spicy chili dipping sauce) or Sai Ua sausage.

Kad Sum Murd (Midnight Market)

Midnight Market, photo by Thomas Kreise

Thursday through Saturday in front of the Kad Suan Kaew shopping centre there’s an atmospheric market that starts around 6 PM and ends  before midnight. The market is illuminated by the light of countless candles, which create a surreal mood that is just as good for people watching as for shopping. Cheap goods abound at the Midnight Markets, and there’s also a nice selection of local crafts.

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