Chiang Mai in northern Thailand has one of the country’s largest night markets. Chiang Mai’s Night Market, also known as the Night Bazaar or Kad Luang is the second best place in the city to buy inexpensive Thai products (the best place is the Sunday Walking Market). It opens around 5pm every evening and begins to close down at 11pm. At the Night Market, you’ll find thousands of stalls selling everything from Thai handicrafts to suitcases, shoes and jewelry. If you go there, though, what’s the best way to more than survive it and actually enjoy it? Read on for quick tips about Chiang Mai’s Night Market, and you’ll have no problems getting there and having a fun evening.
Location of Chiang Mai’s Night Market – It’s located on Chang Klan Road in the center of town. The best way to get there is either take a tuk-tuk or a songtaew (the red open-sided pick up trucks that drive around the city picking up passengers), and tell them “Night Market”. They’ll drop you off near the Starbucks on the corner and you’ll see the Night Market on both sides of the street.
Start at One Side and Go Up the Other – Best way to see everything is to start at one side of the street. Walk all the way down, stopping off to go into the two or three storey building (depending on which side of the street you’re on) to check out the thousands of indoor stalls. Then, back on the street to the end, cross the road and go back down the other side, also checking out the large building with more indoor shops. The market runs the length of a three block area, plus many stalls indoors, so there should be something for everyone.
Remember To Bargain – Bargaining is key at Chiang Mai’s Night Market and the stall sellers expect it. If they initially offer you a price of 300 baht, go down to 200 baht. They’ll counter with 260 or 280 and you should be able to end up around 220 or 230. Don’t forget too, if you buy more than one, you’ll get a better price.
Check Out The Food – There are many restaurants around the Night Market, as well as an area at the back of the Kalare Center that has a huge food court with a lot of very cheap food. Here, you can also see Thai dancers.
The German restaurant near the McDonald’s also serves excellent food (both German and Thai) and there are also several British pubs, where the fare isn’t too bad. Most of the restaurants around the Night Market are quite inexpensive and there’s food for everyone’s taste.
If It Rains Go Into One of the Larger Buildings – I’ve been at Chiang Mai’s Night Market three times when it’s rained. Chiang Mai floods very quickly, so two times I’ve had to paddle to waiting tuk-tuks to get out of the rain. The best thing to do if it rains is just head into one of the large covered shopping areas in the two or three storey buildings, wander around and shop, get something to eat and wait it out.
The good thing about Chiang Mai is, even if it does flood, it drains very quickly, so a few hours afterwards you won’t even know it rained.
Best Things To Buy – There are so many things to buy at the Night Market you’ll be spoiled for choice. Thai silk is always good to buy (and its inexpensive), they have a great collection of suitcases and bags, jewelry, wooden carvings, handmade clothing, DVDs and CDs, packets of Thai snack food, handmade notebooks, soaps and perfumes, t shirts, shoes, sandals, carved wooden boxes pretty much anything you can see there is worth buying.
The only places I tend to stay away from are the stalls that sell truly tourist things (the paintings on velvet, the incense stalls, the paper lamp stalls etc), as all of these products you can usually buy elsewhere cheaper.
Overall, Chiang Mai’s Night Market is a fun experience. There’s a lot of things to buy, the quality of the items is amazing, prices are cheap, good food is plentiful and very cheap, and the stall keepers are friendly. Just remember, bargain, bargain, bargain and you should end up with lots of things for not too much money.