Mar 30 2012
A fraction of the size of Chiang Mai’s more famous night bazaar, the mini version in downtown Chiang Rai is still a pleasant place for an evening stroll and an excellent option for snacks and a beer or dinner.
The offerings are similar, though much reduced in choice, to the Chiang Mai version: hill-tribe handicrafts, pirated DVDs, T-shirts, carved soap candles and so on — though how many Hmong shoulder bags can one possibly need?
What we do like at the Chiang Rai market and we feel make it a worthwhile evening destination are the excellent eating and drinking areas — a nice alternative to Chiang Rai’s other eating spots.
There are two adjacent sections, one comprised of nice wooden furniture and waitstaff wearing north Thai costumes, and another more aimed at locals with aluminium chairs and staff in jeans and T-shirts. The former has all the usual Thai and north Thai dishes and a very tasteful traditional Lanna dance show (though you may have to put up with a guitarist singing Hotel California between dances), while the latter has live Thai rock and country bands, cheap draught beer and lots of fried insects and snack food.
Both areas are reasonably priced and fun and personally we like to have a couple of pre-dinner drinks and snacks in the local area, move to the nearby “tourist” section for dinner then perhaps head back over the soi to catch a local band or game on the big screen TV.
The night bazaar’s open daily from dusk until midnight-ish, and is located off the main drag, Phaholyothin Road (see map).
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