Photo: Need more spice?


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Chiang Dao’s two small, daily municipal markets—there’s a morning and an afternoon one—don’t hold more than minimal interest for casual visitors but the town does have two very good weekly, street versions which are certainly worth a look if you’re in town on the right days.

Towards the southern end of town—on a piece of vacant land to the right as you enter—there’s a regular Thursday market while both sides of the main street at the northern end (just past the Soi 25 cave road) are given over once a week to a Tuesday version. Both start up early and wind down late morning with the Tuesday one being the livelier of the two.

Always interesting. Photo taken in or around Markets, Chiang Dao, Thailand by Mark Ord.

Always interesting. Photo: Mark Ord

As usual, both are a mixture of household goods, agricultural supplies, clothes and fresh produce and both have plenty of snacking options. The range of goods is wide as fruit and veg stalls include temperate crops like strawberries as well as tropical ones such as pineapples and mangos.

You’ll potentially see hill-tribe vendors and shoppers or varying provenance with Lisu in their updated purple and blue dress ubiquitous. While most Lahu and many Hmong villagers have largely given up on traditional dress and Akha and Yao still frequently wear their time-honoured costumes, Lisu wear—while retaining traditional form and overall design—evolves regularly in terms of material, patterns and colours. That may explain why you see more Lisu women than any other ethnic group still wearing traditional clothes.

The Thursday Market. Photo taken in or around Markets, Chiang Dao, Thailand by Mark Ord.

The Thursday Market. Photo: Mark Ord

Even better is a bi-monthly walking street market that fills the road between the central section of the main drag as it passes through town and the road leading down to the Ping Bridge. The emphasis here is on strolling and snacking rather than serious shopping and over half the stalls are given over to an amazingly varied and mouth-watering display of food and drink.

A grazer’s paradise, though unfortunately this market only operates twice monthly on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. We hope for this to increase to a weekly affair before long, particularly during dry season. The street market sets up late afternoon and goes on until mid-evening. Check with your guesthouse, but if it’s on during your stay don’t miss it.

Wandering the Walking Street market. Photo taken in or around Markets, Chiang Dao, Thailand by Mark Ord.

Wandering the Walking Street market. Photo: Mark Ord

The morning market is one block back from the main road near the crossroads in the town centre and the afternoon market—the better of the two, being less dingy and at least having a couple of cafes—is past the bus station on the north side of town.

Morning market: West side of the main through road, just past the crossroads with the bridge road. Open daily, early until mid-day.
Afternoon market: North of the bus station on the west side of the Chiang Mai—Fang road. Open daily, with some stalls open all day and others afternoon only.
Thursday market: On the right-hand side of the main street as you enter town from the south. Open every Thursday 06:00–12:00.
Tuesday market: Both sides of the main street, north of the town centre and past the cave road. Open every Tuesday 06:00–12:00.
Walking Street market: Along the road linking the main street with the bridge over the Ping. Open the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month from late afternoon to around 20:00–21:00.

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Scattered around Chiang Dao town
Admission: Free

Location map for Markets

Popular attractions in Chiang Dao

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Chiang Dao.

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A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Chiang Dao.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Chiang Dao.
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