Before I visited the Chiang Mai Sunday Markets I thought that all night markets draw in a reasonable crowd, have a good assortment of stall with food and goods and maybe take like an hour to explore. Though, this opinion of mine quickly changed after hitting up The Chiang Mai Sunday Markets which in my opinion is the best night markets in Thailand.
Just so you know the Chiang Mai Sunday Markets/ Chiang Mai Night Market/ Chiang Mai Sunday Walking Market has so many different names. Luckily, no matter what you call it by everyone will know which one you are talking about.
The market is held every Sunday from 4pm until about midnight when all the crowds depart. To say it draws in a massive would be an understatement. When I was visiting some of the first questions I was asked if i would be in town for the Sunday market, The answer was “of course, yes!”
Stalls are set up 1km along Ratchadamnoen Road, as well as spreading through the side streets and Tha Phae Gate. You need a decent amount of time set aside for exploring. Trust me, you will want to be tasting all the wonderfully cheap food, buy some souvenirs and watch the street performances from the locals.
I visited the Chiang Mai Sunday Markets with a couple I had meet in Bangkok. We were all on Khao San Road trying to get to the bus terminal without getting ripped off by the tuktuks and ended up getting to know each other in a taxi. We got a long quite well so decided to catch up again in Chiang Mai to explore the markets everyone says is a must see.
To say it is crowded would be an understatement, though we managed not to loose each other among the chaos. There is no real direction that everyone goes, you will just constantly be dodging others, though its totally worth it.
There are so many stalls to look at selling all sorts of goodies and it’s the perfect place to purchase souveniers. Remember to haggle! From flower shaped soaps, jewellery, buddas and butterfly wall pieces, you will find everything here. Some amazing artists line the streets as well, showing off their talents to the crowd. Unfortunately photos are discouraged, but trust me its something you have to see!
To say I love food is an understatement, and I was certainly in heaven at the Chaing Mai Sunday Markets. There are multiple areas dedicated to food stalls, as well as the many which also line the walking street. Here, you can get whatever food you feel like and at amazing prices! Wanting noodles? No problem. Feeling like seafood? Easy done. How about something a little sweet? All sorted. Or even by favourite tourist staple, a fruit smoothie.
Seriously it is an awesome atmosphere, with so many scents in the air and the way they mass cook the food is like some sort of show. I often ended up in a temple complex where many food outlets are situated as well as a decent amount of seating. My favourite was three samosas for $0.75 and coconut ice cream for $1.00.
Of course if you are craving the iconic Thai foods such as pad thai, coconut pancakes and curry, there is an abundance available. With friendly locals serving up decent sized portions you cannot go wrong! If you are feeling like something a little more adventurous give the fried insects a try. Choose from tarantulas, crickets, worms and so many more creepy crawlies if you are brave enough!
If you aren’t in the mood for street food there are plenty of restaurants right off the walking street. Chill out with a good meal and watch the craziness unfold in front of you from the peace and quiet of your private table.
If you are needing to relax with a foot massage after wandering around for hours this is the place to be. There are cheap massages on offer set up on the streets. Trust me you wont miss it with the locals doing their sales pitch to every person who walks past. But when its $6 for an hour you cant really say no.
Seriously if you are in Chiang Mai make sure you check out Chiang Mai Sunday Markets. It is the perfect way to spend an evening with great food, good atmosphere and provides the perfect opportunity to do a little souvenir shopping or pick up a new pair of temple pants.
If you think the Chiang Mai Sunday Markets are going to be a little to crazy for you there are so many other markets in the area you are bound of find one you love.
Other Markets in Chiang Mai:
Chiang Mai Gate Night Food Market
When? Everyday, from 5pm till noon.
Location :Chiang Mai South Gate. Just at the opposite side of the Chiang Mai Gate. Rat Chiang Saen road.
Chang Puak North Gate Food Market
When? Everyday, from 5pm till noon.
Location : Chiang Mai North Gate / Chang Puak Gate.
Saturday night Market
When? Every Saturday, 5pm – 11pm.
Location : Wualai Road.
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