Nuzzled into the southeastern region of Chiang Mai amid the towering hotels and seedy and not so seedy haunts of Loi Kroh road is the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar.
Open every night of the week from around sundown, it’s an ideal place to hunt for bargains, especially if you can’t attend the more original, and also slightly cheaper, Saturday and Sunday walking streets.
When it comes to souvenirs, the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is king. Chang Beer T-shirts? Check. Hilltribe print wallets and clutches? Check. Elephant everything — necklaces, wooden carvings, bronze statues, children’s clothes? Check. The range of goods you’ll find here is comparable to Bangkok’s Chatuchak market, and some would argue this night market is the best in the kingdom.
The vendors line Chang Khlan Road from Thae Pae pretty much all the way to Sridonchai Road — roughly a kilometre of road — and peddle everything from imitation brands of electronics to antique jade Buddha statues. While it’s possible to find more original, contemporary goods at the walking street, we do have to admit that the Night Bazaar is the best one-stop shop for gifts, both for the self and others.
Do make time to walk beyond the busy streets of Chang Klan and venture into one of several designated shopping areas, including Anusaran Market, Kalare Night Market and the Night Bazaar building, all located off Chang Klan Road, where you’ll find higher quality, albeit pricier, goods. Anusarn market, in particular, is less claustrophobic to stroll through than the overpacked footpaths, where you have to be prepared to snake in single file if you hope to get anywhere.
While it’s expected that you will haggle freely with the vendors selling at the street stalls, do respect prices if they are written down on paper or inside the nicer shops at any of the shopping areas. If anything, ask for a small discount at these places when purchasing multiples.
While the main attraction of the night bazaar is the shopping, do take advantage of the phenomenal food nearby. If you’ve had enough of local food, try the Lebanese at the Gulf Restaurant at Anusarn; maybe follow that with some of the best live music in town at Boys Bar Blues in the Kalare Food Centre.
By Claudia Sosa
Last updated on 18th January, 2014.