Chiang Rai Night Bazaar

The only place to be after dark

What we say: 3.5 stars

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.

Entrance to the small night bazaar

Entrance to the small night bazaar in Chiang Rai.

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?

Same same but not different

Same same, but not different.

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.

Crickets, beetles, worms or ants?

Crickets, beetles, worms or ants?

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.

Beer snacks for sale

Beer snacks for sale

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.

North Thai traditional dance

North Thai traditional dance.

The night bazaar’s open daily from dusk until midnight-ish, and is located off the main drag, Phaholyothin Road (see map).

Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours?

Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours?

More details
Off Phaholyothin Rd, Chiang Rai
Opening Hours: Daily dusk to midnight
Last updated: 31st August, 2015

About the author:
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.
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