The main venue
for shopping in Chiang Mai, indeed all of Thailand, the night
bazaar is a can't-miss part of the Chiang Mai experience. The
Night Bazaar is located at the
intersection of Chang Khlan Road and Loi Khro Road but the whole
thing spreads out for two blocks in either direction.
How to get there: The Night Bazaar is on Chang Klan Road between
Tha Pae Road and Si Donchai Road.
If you are staying in Chiang
Mai it is probably within walking distance, but if you want to
take a Tuk-Tuk the fare will be around 20 Baht from the centre
of town. Set up
time is around sunset (usually about 18:00) and shopping goes on
unabated until about 22:30 with a few vendors remaining open
The market has huge arcades which hold a multitude of shops and
stalls. The place is so packed that stalls actually spill over
onto the footpaths around the market. It�s a big place to wander
around, and you should put away at least a couple of hours to do
A good way to check out the whole thing is to start at Tha Phae
Road and work your way south towards Loi Khro. Once you reach
the end of the market, cross the street and work your way back
along the other side. Don't forget to peek down the little sois
(alleyways) and arcades along the way. If you see something you
like you might want to be patient-there are hundreds of vendors
and an absolute flood of products for sale.
What to Buy at The Night Bazaar
market attracts huge crowds every evening and it is a great
place to pick up trinkets and gifts. Given the market�s close
proximity to the companies that manufacture them, the price of
local handicrafts is attractively cheap here.
The night bazaar consists of countless stalls packed along the
sidewalks and spilling out into the street. Here you can find
vendors selling almost anything you can think of.
is simply staggering and items on offer include CDs, DVDs,
clothes, shoes, Thai silk, handicrafts, purses, wallets,
watches, video games, luggage, housewares, furniture, statues of
aliens made from auto parts, spices, souvenirs, samurai swords,
art, jewellery, silver, antiques, and a hundred other species of
knick-knack and goo-gah that defy categorization. Quality varies
from vendor to vendor but low prices mean you almost always get
good value for your money.
The best goods on offer here are usually clothes, from
hand-tailored Thai silk to the latest 'designer' fashions to the
ubiquitous Red Bull and "Same Same But Different" t-shirts.
Another big draw for visitors is the huge selection of cheap CDs
and DVDs. When buying music or movies make sure you test the
disc before buying. The quality of the copies is sometimes
abysmally low, especially for the newest movies (i.e. ones that
are still in theatres). Most CD and DVD vendors will have a
player set up so you can check out the merchandise before making
Catering for the large number of foreigners visiting, the bazaar
also offers camera shops, travel agents and internet cafes. Be
prepared to bargain � to get the best price you will have to.
One service the bazaar offers that seems eternally popular is
portrait paintings from photos. Alternatively, have your
portrait painted in Thai costume!
Most of the stalls sell pretty much the same things as other
vendors in the bazaar (one sarong starts to look a lot like all
the rest after a while) but keep a sharp eye out-you can find
some really unique treasures if you look hard enough. Some
vendors will have a small shop or storeroom with further wares
if you don't see what you want on display.
For a step up in the quality (and price) of goods, try out the
two level, purpose-built Viang Ping Night Bazaar, near Tha Phae
Road. The handicrafts here are more authentic, the clothes are
more durable and the fabrics are of better quality. Although
there are plenty of specialist markets and shops in Chiang Mai,
the night bazaar is a great cross-section of everything the city
has to offer.
Food, Drink and Services
For mid-spree snacking there are plenty of restaurants and bars
in the vicinity where you can take a load off and review your
purchases. Just off the main street you will find a delightful
selection of Thai seafood and noodle restaurants, while Loi Khro
Road just east of Chang Khlan Road (towards the river) has a
number of international restaurants and pubs. If you need your
fix of western comfort you'll find a Subway, a McDonald's and a
Starbucks on the main strip. Also in the area are numerous other
useful services such as travel agents, internet caf�s, mobile
phone shops and camera shops.
Prices in the night bazaar aren't fixed so make sure to do a bit
of haggling to get the best deal. If you're a serious bargain
hunter you might want to try being the early bird. It's
considered bad luck if the first customer of the day doesn't buy
anything and watching proprietors whack their goods with the
day's first cash is a great photo opportunity. The end of the
night is also a prime time to get some real steals as many
merchants are willing to give a very good price to squeeze in
one last sale.
When haggling with Thais remember to smile and be light hearted
and friendly. A good joke and some patience will get you a lot
farther than hardball tactics. Although haggling and getting a
good deal is all part of the fun of the market, don't forget
that most of these vendors make very little and ten baht means a
lot more to them than it does to you.