A sprawling labyrinth
Published/Last edited or updated: 12th June, 2019
Chiang Rai’s extensive Municipal Market is one of the North’s better and livelier provincial efforts and with a maze of crowded, narrow alleyways packed from floor to ceiling with goods of every description is probably as close as you’ll get to a Moroccan souk in northern Thailand.
The market, with the main entrance on Thanalai Road and stretching off to Uttarakit and beyond to Ruangnakorn Road, goes by several names; Talad Ngam Muang, Talad Tesaban and Talad Luang Chiang Rai. (To be honest, we’re not actually certain where one section ends and another begins so we’ll stick to Municipal Market for the whole ensemble.)
This sprawling labyrinth of covered passages and pavement stalls is the city’s largest wet market and as one section closes another opens so it’s going pretty much 24 hours non-stop. You’ll see local vendors plus hill-tribe buyers from surrounding villages and such a display of unusual and wonderful herbs, spices, fruit and vegetables plus identifiable and unidentifiable assorted foodstuffs that even after 25 years in the country we came across stuff we’d never seen before. Absolutely fascinating and with a fraction of the Walking Street or Night Bazaar visitors, foreigners are still very much a novelty to the friendly vendors.
There are also household goods, hardware and clothes plus of course plenty of nibbling options though we do confess to passing on the raw hornet that a crowd of shopkeepers in hysterics were urging us to try. You could walk through in five minutes or browse for an hour with the better lit outdoor section along hectic Uttarakit being particularly photogenic. The market stretches from Thanalai, (the main south entrance is opposite the mosque soi), through to Uttarakit with a second covered section extending one block further north to Ruangnakorn Road.
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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