Good shopping, snacking and people watching
There isn’t an official permanent Walking Street in Chiang Mai, but every Sunday the length of Ratchadamnoen, the Old City’s main east–west axis, plus several side streets, are closed to traffic and become one long open air street bazaar.
The market stretches from Wat Phra Singh down to Tha Pae Gate—well over a kilometre—and it seems to grow longer by around 25 metres every week. It kicks off late afternoon and goes on until late evening, but come 18:00 or 19:00 it starts to get seriously busy, so it’s worth turning up early.
Some 1.2 kilometres of dawdling browsers, buskers, lost tourists and donation-seeking Thai Girl Guides can be draining. You’ll find for sale predominantly handicrafts (local and otherwise), bric-a-brac and clothes, along with quite an eclectic range of products including some appealing original artwork.
Food-wise, you’ll find the usual range of Thai snacks and drinks, plus a few more strictly local-style specialties while, for sit-down fare, it’s fun to pop into one of the temple courtyards that line the street and morph into al fresco eating areas for the evening.
Think food courts with Buddhist decor: You select dishes from vendors and sit on mats on the ground or low benches to eat. Plenty of regular cafes and bars line the streets around here too if you need sustenance and want to sit more comfortably.
The lack of vehicles and good range of items on sale make this a far more browser-friendly, and indeed picturesque, market than the night bazaar. But if it’s Chang Beer T-shirts or pirated DVDs you’re after, this is not the place to go. A very similar Saturday equivalent market sets up just south of the Old City along Wualai Road.
Address: On Ratchadamnoen and Phra Singh Rds, between Tha Pae Gate and Wat Phra Singh, Old City
Coordinates (for GPS): 98º59'16.89" E, 18º47'16.92" N
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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.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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