Photo: Shop till you drop.

Shopping in Chiang Mai

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Chiang Mai’s shopping potential covers the full spectrum with wide choices in every department from practical travel purchases and souvenirs through to stuff you never knew you wanted. Hard-core shoppers will be in their element and even blasé browsers will get tempted.

We’ll start with what we’d term shopping of a practical nature. For those essential travel items, telephones, both new and secondhand, the large Central Kad Suan Kaew, shopping mall on Huay Kaew Road is probably the most convenient spot with a wide range of both on offer. Phone shops are wide spread throughout town though and even a 7-eleven store will sell you a SIM card. For computer hardware and software Panthip Plaza, at the corner of Sridonchai and Chang Klan Road is a good bet as are Computer Plaza and a strip of adjacent IT outlets on Manee Nopparat Road, west of Chang Puak Gate.

Just about any of Chiang Mai’s large shopping malls contains at least one specialist camera shop while we also like Denchai Trading on Rattanakosin Road for new equipment plus their efficient repair service.

For books we’d recommend Suriwong Books on Sri Donchai Road, for new copies with probably the widest choice of English language books in town or Asia Books which has outlets in Maya and Central Airport Plaza. For secondhand books offerings, our fave is Backstreet Books just around the corner from Tha Pae Gate. If you can’t find what you’re looking for among their vast choice then they also have a second store—The Lost Bookshop—at the moat end of Ratchamanka Road in the Old Town.

Stores selling camping, hiking, outdoor goods and bags are also liberally scattered across town though there is a useful clutch on the eastern end of the western moat road, Manee Nopparat again, with decent trekking gear and army surplus equipment available. There’s a number of knock-off bag and rucksack shops along Chang Klan though for more kosher gear, and quality hiking equipment etc, try the Supersports chain which has outlets in Kad Suan Kaew, Central Airport Plaza and Central Festival.

Unless you’re after a Beer Chang T-shirt, Thai fisherman’s pants or tie-died dress then again the aforementioned department stores are your best option for clothing and shoes with Kad Suan Kaew probably the most convenient option if you’re staying in the Old Town.

Unless your stay in Chiang Mai is a brief one you should get the chance to take in either the Saturday Wualai, or Sunday Ratchadamneon, walking street markets both of which cover a wide range of handicrafts and hill-tribe chic from cheap and cheerful knickknacks to expensive original artwork. If you can’t catch either or can’t get enough of that browsing, then fall back on the Night Bazaar which, as well as offering a huge range of the aforementioned, also has the more generic Thai market products such as slogan-plastered T-shirts, fake football shirts and pirate DVDs and electronic games.

For classier souvenirs and or “the things you never realised you needed” type shopping then head up to the chic life-style and craft boutiques on Nimmanhemin Road and adjacent sois.

Covering most bases though is the City’s proliferation of shopping malls which have mushroomed in recent years. Closest to the town centre, and longest standing is the old, now slightly down at heel, Central Kad Suan Kaew, a huge brick building located just past the northwest corner of the moat. We’ve mentioned this in our eat and drink section but it is also a good spot for bargain hunters.

Top of the range are the new and state of the art Promenada, just off the Superhighway ring road on the east side of town, and Maya on Huay Kaew Road. Falling somewhere between are Central Festival, also off the Superhighway to the northeast and the huge Airport Plaza, located as the name suggests, in front of Chiang Mai international airport. Any of these, depending of course upon which part of town you’re staying in, should be a 120-150 baht tuk-tuk ride but check with your hotel since some have courtesy transport available too.

Backstreet Books Chang Moi Kao Rd, Sri Phum T: (053) 874 143 Open daily 10:00-20:00
Central Airport Plaza 2 Mahidol Rd, Hai Ya T: (053) 999 199 Open daily 11:00-21:00 and 10:00-21:00 at weekends
Central Festival Superhighway, northeast sector, Faham T: (053) 998 999 Open daily 10:00-22:00
Computer Plaza Manee Nopparot Rd, Sri Phum T: (053) 404 488 Open daily 10:00-20:00
Denchai Trading 11/2 Rattanakosin Rd. Sri Phum T: (053) 234 999 Open daily except Sundays 08:30-18:00
Kad Suan Kaew, (Central Huay Kaew) Huay Kaew Rd, Suthep T: (053) 224 444 Open daily 10:00-21:00
Maya 55 Huay Kaew Rd, Chang Puak T: (053) 081 555 Open daily 10:00-22:00
Night Bazaar Chiang Klan Road, between Thapae and Sridonchai Roads, Chang Klan Open daily c. 17:00-24:00
Nimmanhemin Rd. Nimmanhemin Rd approximately between sois 1 and 17, Suthep Daily but opening times vary
Panthip Plaza 152 Chang Klan Rd, Chang Klan T: (053) 288 383 Open daily 10:00-22:00
Promenada Superhighway, east side, Thasala T: (053) 107 888 Open daily 11:00-21:00, weekends 10:00-21:00
Saturday Walking Street, (Wualai) Wualai Road, Hai Ya Open every Saturday approx. 17:00-22:00
Sunday Walking Street, (Ratchadamneon) On Ratchadamnoen and Phra Singh Rds, between Tha Pae Gate and Wat Phra Singh, Phra Singh Open every Sunday from around 17:00-22:00
Suriwong Books 4/54 Sridonchai Rd, Chang Klan T: (053) 281 052 Open daily 10:00-20:00 and 09:00-20:00 weekends
The Lost Bookshop Ratchamanka Rd, Phra Singh Open daily 10:00-20:00

Popular attractions in Chiang Mai

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

Best places to stay in Chiang Mai

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

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Chiang Mai.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Chiang Mai.
 Check out our listings of other things to do in and around Chiang Mai.
 Read up on how to get to Chiang Mai, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Chiang Mai? Please read this.
 Browse tours in Thailand with Tourradar.


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