Chiang Mai should be known as Thailand’s market capital as there are hundreds scattered throughout the city. You can pick up almost anything from the markets whether it be fresh food, spices, flowers, clothing, fake watches or souvenirs. You will also find some of the best food being served at the market food vendors for the cheapest price.
You have not explored Chiang Mai until you have visited at least two or three markets! So here is a list of the main markets around town and the ones we have visited regularly during our stay.
The Night Bazaar
The Night Bazaar is one of the city’s most popular evening tourist attractions. Running for about 1km long down both sides of Chang Khlan Road, the market is packed full of souvenirs, clothing, sunnies and cheap knock off watches. It tends to get a little repetitive with many stalls selling the same products targeted at tourists, but there are some bargains to be found. If you prefer smaller crowds, Sunday night is the quietest as many of the stall holders and most of the shoppers are at the Sunday Night Market.
Located: Chang Khlan Road, between Tha Phae and Sridornchai Road.
Hours: Open every night from about 6pm to midnight.
Anusarn Night Market
Spanning off the Night Bazaar is the Anusarn Night Market. It’s a good place to have cheap bite to eat as well as shop for craft pieces and souvenirs. There are several restaurant of various cuisines, but we recommend the local thai food hall tucked away on the left hand side of the market place. The Anusarn market is also the place to go and see the popular free Cabaret Show and listen to some live music.
Located: Anusarn Sunthorn Road off Chang Khlan Road.
Hours: Open daily from 5pm to midnight.
Kalare Night Market
Another market off the Night Bazaar is the undercover Kalare Night Market where you will find more handmade crafts and souvenirs. There is also a lot of international food, cultural entertainment and bustling beer garden. A great place to head also if it’s raining and you are caught in the middle of the Night Bazaar!
Located: Cnr Chareonprahet Lane 6 and Chang Khlan Road.
Hours: Open daily from 5pm to midnight.
Sunday Walking Street Market
The Sunday Walking Market runs through the centre of the Old City along Rachadamnoen Road from the Tha Phae Gate to the Police Station. It’s a big market filled with all kinds of crafts, clothing, jewelry, artwork and various knick-knacks. Spanning off the street you will also find food vendors selling inexpensive delicious nibbles to main meals and lots of sweets. Head here early if you want to have a decent look at the stalls otherwise you will be sandwiched in a sea of people.
Located: Ratchadamnoen Road.
Hours: Open Sunday evening from 5pm to 10pm.
Saturday Walking Street Market
Whilst not as big as the Sunday Market, the Saturday Walking Street has a lot of charm. It started at the same time as the Sunday Walking Market, but just didn’t take off as quickly. It sells most of the same products, but there are more young/ newly set up stalls selling only a few items, so you have greater chance of getting something unique here. Don’t head to the market after dinner as there are so many yummy things to nibble on as you make you way down the street.
Located: Cnr Wua Lai and Rat Chiengasen Road.
Hours: Open Saturday evening from 5pm to 10pm.
Chang Puak North Gate Market
Positioned outside the moat near the North gate is the Chang Puak Market where you will find delicious traditional Thai market fare. Various vendors will be lined up selling dishes including soups, noodles, pork, seafood omelets and Thai desserts. You can grab a plastic stool at a table and be served or take away to have it else where. Everything is cheap and it’s all very delicious. Our favorite is the stewed pork shank (Khao ka moo) served up by the local cowgirl. It’s rumored to be the best in Chiang Mai and judging by the queue I would say it probably is!
Located: North Gate Manee Nooparat Road.
Hours: Open every evening from 5pm to late.
Second Hand Market
In Eastern Chiang Mai is the Second Hand Market where locals’ come to buy and sell their bric-a-brac. You will find anything from clothing to books to electronics to motorbike parts. What you won’t find here is the common souvenirs!
Located: Cnr Kaew Nawarat and Bumrung Rat Road
Hours: Saturday and Sunday 7am – 4pm.
Only a short walk from the Night Bazaar is the thriving daytime Warorot Market where you can definitely find a bargain. You can buy almost anything here and you will notice many Thai locals do their own shopping here. You will see a lot of products that won’t be in the main tourist markets and generally things are a little cheaper.
Be prepared to spend a bit of time in this area as it is expansive and there are various markets leading off the main Warorot Market. Also, don’t even think about driving a car there, as the traffic is chaos!
Located: Cnr of Chang Moi and Kaew Nawarat Road.
Hours: Daily early in the morning and closes around 5pm.
Muang Mai Market
Located North of the Warorot Market is the wholesale fresh food Muang Mai Market. If you are a food lover, this is a great market to wander through. There is a huge variety of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as seafood and meat ready to head off to many of Chiang Mai’s restaurants. If you have a weak stomach, perhaps steer clear of the meat section!
Located: Wang Singkham Road.
Hours: Open from early morning to dusk.
Ton Lam Yai Market
Positioned along the edge of the Mae Ping River next to the Warorot Market is the busy Ton Lam Yai Market. In the morning you can find the market packed with flowers, fresh meat and veggies and dried food, but in the evening the streets fill with food stalls. It’s chaotic and a tight squeeze, but a great place to visit to see where many of the locals shop and eat.
Located: Cnr of Chang Moi and Praisani Road.
Hours: Daily early in the morning through to late in the evening.
A great market to wander through is the plant and flower market Kamthieng market located behind the Tesco Supermarket in the North. Your not going to pick up the usual Thai souvenir or fake Rolex, but you will see a whole lot of tropical plant, flowers, outdoor pots and ornaments. There is also a large pet section where you can see some pretty impressive fish.
Located: Superhighway behind Tesco Lotus.
Hours: Open every day.
The little traditional shopping spot of Somphet Market is home to mostly fresh fruit and vegetable stalls, but does have some great food and juice vendors just opposite. Also scattered within the market are a couple of clothing stalls targeting the regular tourist visitors. In the morning you will see groups of tourists holding their woven baskets on a tour as part of their cooking course. You will also find one of our favourite soup vendor right in the heart of the market, where for 30THB you can pick up a tasty filling fresh soup.
Located: Soi 6 off Moon Muang Road.
Hours: Open daily from early morning to dusk.
Chiang Mai South Gate Market
This is one of the best markets to pick up a cheap and tasty feed. It has everything you could ask for from Phad Thai, soups, curries, fried food to dishes in pots where you have no idea what they contain. In the square, everything is cooked to order and you can take a seat at the plastic outdoor tables. The vendors lined up along the market edge serve pre-made goodies and sweet treats. There are also a few vegetarian stalls here – look out for the red and yellow “เจ” sign. You could eat every night at this market and never get bored!
Located: Cnr Bumrung Buri Rd and Phra Pokklao Road.
Hours: Open daily from early morning to late.
As mentioned, these are only a few of the many markets located around the city of Chiang Mai. If you see an open outdoor space around the city, it is almost guaranteed a market will pop up there at same stage during the day. Markets will even pop in up the squares or parking lots of large department stores like the Big C or the Kad Suan Kaew. It’s not only a great place to pick up a bargain, but also a great place to try many of the traditional Thai dishes.
It’s also worth heading out early in the morning and wandering the streets in search of markets. You will also witness the Monks on their way to receive their morning offerings at this time.
So go explore, be brave and eat something that you have no idea what it is!