Why the Night Markets in Chiang Mai are Not to be Missed
By the time we arrived in Chiang Mai we were over night markets in Thailand. Much like the churches of Europe and temples of Asia, after a few days they all start to look the same. The night markets of Koh Samui and Bangkok all have the same tourist crap. Cheap T-shirts with stupid logos, garbage souvenirs, and “handmade” jewelry by the person selling it – only to find the exact same item “handmade” by a vendor two stalls down. Yes we had seen our share of junk and we were over it.
That is until we went to Chiang Mai.
We found ourselves wandering through the night markets in Chiang Mai simply because they are seemingly everywhere. It’s a good thing because the night markets in Chiang Mai are not the same as those found in the rest of Thailand.
Crafts That are Actually Handmade
To our surprise we found a ton of cool stuff at the night market in Chiang Mai. Sure there are booths selling the same knock off garbage as found in Bangkok and other markets in Thailand but they are outweighed by the local artist selling their handmade jewelry, artwork, and crafts. We ended up with a surprisingly heavier backpack after our visit to the night markets in Chiang Mai. A necklace made from old Thai currency, a handcrafted bamboo iPhone case, a silver ring, a custom made stuffed animal, and a man-purse that is now my camera bag all came home with us.
Another reason why the night markets in Chiang Mai are unlike the rest is the street food. Again you will find the same dishes as those found in other markets however we found the variety and quality is far superior in the north. Of course I could be swayed by the fact that you can get Koh Soy in Chiang Mai, my now favoriteist of Thai dishes.
Another thing we didn’t see a lot of in other Thai markets was street performers and entertainers. There’s no shortage of great musicians at the night markets in Chiang Mai. I loved enjoying a meal and listening to live music as well as snapping pictures of these photogenic entertainers:
The last reason why the night markets in Chiang Mai are my favorite is the street games, in particular this balloon popping dart one:
This game is probably found elsewhere in Thailand but we didn’t find it. Nothing like getting drunk and spending 50 Thai Baht to win a 2 Thai Baht Prize… and then giving that prize to a random child.
Some of my Favorite
For all of the reasons above and more don’t write off the night markets in Chiang Mai. They are full of great finds and packed with entertainment. Although they seems to be on every night of the week, here are my favorite night markets in Chiang Mai:
Chiang Mai Walking Street
When: Sunday (16:00 – 00:00)
Where: From Tha Phae Gate down Ratchadamnoen Road.
Why: The most popular night market in Chiang Mai, and with good reason. Here you will find tons of handcrafted gems and souvenirs.
Wualei Walking Street
When: Saturday evenings
Where: Wualai Rd
Why: Quieter than the Sunday market but just as good. Known for its stalls selling silver and local cuisine. There are also plenty of street performers at this night market in Chiang Mai.
Kad Sum Murd Market
When: Thursday to Saturday evenings
Where: in front of Kad Suan Kaew shopping center.
Why: A locals market that is candlelit. Need I say more?
Chiang Mai South Gate Market
When: Daily AM to PM
Where: Phra Pokklao and Cnr Bumrung Buri Road
Why: Known for its cheap eats. You can find every Thai dish under the sun here. Order up and enjoy it in the square while sitting on a tiny plastic chair.
Night Markets in Chiang Mai to Avoid
Night Bazaar – This is your typical touristy market. Don’t bother. Although I did get a massage by a transvestite there….