As you now know, Derik and I spent a couple days in Chiang Mai over our two month trip. I’m so glad we decided to, because it turns out that Chiang Mai is one of my favorite places in all of Thailand. It’s eccentric, quiet, artsy, and a lot less stressful than the crowded, busy island of Phuket. It was a great rest stop before the end of our journey (yes, if you haven’t noticed I’m actually posting chronologically backwards , so sorry about that). We spent two days lazing around town, visiting temple ruins and eating yummy food. We also happened to be there when the weekend hit.
The Sunday Night Market is the biggest, most famous market in Chiang Mai. Although our hotel was directly on the Night Bazaar street, (a smaller market open seven days a week) we heard that at the Sunday Night Market you could get all the good deals, free entertainment, and amazing food. I was worried at first that we wouldn’t be able to find it, but if you leave your hotel at around 5pm, you’ll see a steady stream of people all heading in one direction, towards the center of town. As creepy and zombie-like as it may sound, just follow them.
The Market itself is made up of a ton of individual craft sellers, street performers, food carts, and more. It basically takes up a whole entire street (Ratchadamnoen Road) and then some, so feel free to start at whichever end you’d like. The market opens at 5pm (although I heard you can actually go earlier and be fine), and closes at 11pm. The busiest hours are from 6:30-8:30, so don’t be surprised if you come to a standstill waiting for the crowds to mosey on further down the street. Also, go hungry! We found so many snacks, meals, drinks, and desserts for ridiculously cheap prices, I thought my stomach was going to explode by the time we were finished!
I’d recommend waiting to go souvenir shopping in Chiang Mai until this Sunday Night Market. You’ll find the best selection, prices, and quality there! Derik and I always buy paintings/artwork wherever we go, and we found a beautiful black and white (the artist is taking it off the frame in a picture below) for $40 dollars!
It’ll only take you a couple hours to get all the way through if the crowd isn’t too bad. Also, be sure to bring bug spray, the mosquitos are rampant. Last random piece of information that maybe you’ll find helpful (or not) is that haggling in Thailand is incredibly harder than any other Asian country I’ve been to. Especially in Northern Thailand. I’ve been known to be pretty brutal and get things at a good price, however in Chiang Mai the vendors weren’t budging and would literally walk away or turn away from me if I asked for anything less than the equivalent of $1-2.00 off their asking price.