Every day, dawn until dusk, Chiang Mai is bustling with a variety of markets squeezed onto sidewalks, set up under rows of tents, or spread out under huge pavilions. Here’s a look at some of the most popular wholesale, fresh food, secondhand, walking street markets in Chiang Mai:
This market is best known for its abundance and variety of fresh tropical fruit, but vegetables, flowers and you can find some northern-style Thai food as well. Compact but brimming with activity, visitors can grab a fresh tropical smoothie (Sompetch Fresh Fruit Smoothies, Moon Mueang Soi 6, Mueang Chiang Mai, Google Maps: 18.7917514, 98.9931316).
and watch scooters zip down the road with bags full of produce or observe local Thai cooking schools taking their students shopping for fresh ingredients for the day’s class.
When & where: Open every day inside the northeast corner of the Old City on Moon Mueang Soi 6. Copy and paste this into Google Maps: 18.7917514 98.9931316
Muang Mai Market
This wholesale food market is the go-to place for restaurant and food stall owners looking to restock their daily inventory of fresh ingredients. Although the variety at Muang Mai Market is impressive, it’s the sheer volume of fruits, vegetables and fresh meat that really distinguishes this market from others. There are baskets of smoked fish and eggs stacked shoulder high barrels of peeled garlic and dried chilies, and tabletops full of leafy green vegetables and brightly colored fruit.
When & where: Open everyday from dawn until dusk, just west of Wang Singkham Road.
Locally known as Kad Luang, this market in Chiang Mai is buzzing with shoppers at nearly all hours of the day. You can buy almost anything here and it is essentially a modern day department store turned inside out! You will see many Thai locals shopping here since the prices are cheaper and the quality of goods are usually better than the more touristy markets. Vendors here sell everything from clothing, packaged herbs and snacks, fresh fruit and vegetables, flowers, household décor and appliances, children’s toys and more.
When & where: Parking is the biggest problem at Wororot Market, and your best bet is in th Wawee Coffee Shop lot, on the river across from the market. Copy and past these coordinates in your map app: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=18.78983,99.00251. Open 24 hours everyday although most vendors come and go in waves from early morning until dusk. You’ll find the majority of places open from early in the morning until late afternoon where new food, clothing and electronic stalls open up for the night crowd. Located at the end of Chiang Moi Road on the west side of the Ping River.
Khamthiang Flower Market
Acres of nurseries, hundreds of garden shops, tons of landscaping supplies, helpful vendors and more. Need anything for your garden? Whether it’s plants (like wonderful live orchids, carefully placed in pots – for 600 Baht– shrubs, trees (I bought 5 beauties for 300 baht each and they’re flourishing), garden supplies, water fountains of all sizes, bonsai, paving…this is the place. Or just wander around. Poke your nose into any flower, pick up any plant, ask anything you want: Thais are mellow people, and Thais who care for plants are especially mellow. There are coffee shops and food outlets so, as anywhere in Thailand, you’re never more than 100 meters from a snack!
When & where: Open 9:00 am – 5:00 pm every day at 100 Talad Kham Thiang Road (behind Lotus Tesco on the Superhighway).
Weekend Flea Market
This secondhand market is unique among the markets in Chiang Mai because its vendors sell both new and used items but from vintage collections. You’ll find old bulky electronics, dated kitchenware and decade-old books. Some items are still in their original, yellowing wrappers while others clearly show some wear and tear. There are some great finds if you look hard enough!
When & where: Open every Saturday and Sunday beginning at 8:00 am until around 1:00 pm. Located at the intersection of Kaew Narawat and Bumruang Roads near Prince Royal’s College.
Saturday and Sunday Night Walking Streets
These two walking streets are among the most well known markets in Chiang Mai and are especially popular with tourists. Both markets are packed with vendors selling artwork, jewelry, hand-woven bags, clothing, lacquerware and other trinkets. There are also plenty of food stalls along the street and several separate dining areas where you can sample tasty sweets, bowls of noodles and grilled meats.
When & where: Open from approximately 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday nights. The Saturday Night Walking Street begins at Chiang Mai Gate (south gate) and stretches southwest along Wulaai Road. The Sunday Night Walking Street begins at Tha Pae Gate (east gate) and heads west along Ratchadamnoen Road inside the Old City.
Farang Farm Saturday Morning Market
One of the newer markets in town, this Saturday morning market features western-style produce like homemade cheeses and jams, freshly baked goods and pressed juices. The highlight of the market is the artisanal breads such as sourdough bread, croissants, brioche and baguettes. Get there early to get the best selection.
When & where: Open every Saturday from around 7:00 am at the Suan Phai Lom Village on Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Centre Road. Closes when the bread is gone!
Chiang Mai Gate Market
Beginning in the wee hours of the morning, rows and rows of vendors set up under a large pavilion on the inside of the moat at Chiang Mai Gate and sell pre-cooked snacks and fresh produce, breakfast foods and coffee, and home goods. Vendors also set up outside near the brick wall and sell secondhand clothing.
In the evening, the Chiang Mai Gate side street areas are flooded with food stalls selling Thai dishes such as noodle soups, stir-fried dishes and curries. Some items are made to order while others are scooped from large brimming pots. You can also find Thai sweets and fresh fruit smoothies here,too.
When & where: Open everyday. The morning market opens around 4:00 am until 10:00 am. The evening food stalls serve food from 5:00 pm to midnight. Map details and directions: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=18.78137,98.98808
The Night Bazaar is very popular among tourists and full of stalls selling DVDs, watches, electronics, clothing, luggage, sunglasses, shoes, and jewelry, both real and knock-off. Vendors also sell Thai products such as silk goods, dried spices, hand painted home décor and wood carvings. During the evening these stalls back up to many other permanent stores such as tailor shops, Western restaurants, and massage parlors, which provide visitors a place to escape from the crowds gathering along the narrow sidewalks.
When & where: Open every night starting around 6:00 pm and closing near midnight on Chang Klan Road.
This market creates and sells countless amulets, a special type of jewelry that come in all different shapes and sizes and is meant to protect the wearer from bad luck. The amulets themselves are works of art and reflect an incredible level of detail in the design. They are typically housed in a decorative case and it’s interesting to watch the craftsmen create these pieces by hand with their simple tools.
When & where: Open everyday from the early morning until the evening. Located at the southern end of Wulai Road near Thippanet Road.
This is just a glimpse into the world of markets in Chiang Mai. The variety is incredible! Some are open every day while others are day-specific. Some focus on produce or clothing while others have a little bit of everything. It’s a great place to shop, sample authentic Thai food, and peek into the lives of Thai locals.