Whether you’re on the watch for souvenirs or not, a stroll through Chiang Mai’s well-known night bazaar is always a useful experience for the active atmosphere, the food, and of course, the possibility to find a deal.
The night bazaar in Chiang Mai is one of the most renowned in Thailand—with superior reason, as well as one of the oldest evening markets in the country. The enormous sprawl of vendors goes on for a number of blocks and makes for an exciting sunset, whether you’re buying or merely browsing the collection of handicrafts, jewelry, clothing, art and much more.
The nearly a mile stretch also includes side streets crowded with stalls as well as the chance to try some of Chiang Mai’s well-known street food.
Layout and Location
First of all; Chiang Mai’s night bazaar isn’t the kind of place you can go off into for a few minutes. This is a extensive night market that consumes a few hours to cover totally. The bazaar can be located on the east side of Chiang Mai’s old walled city, centered along Chiang Klan Road between Thapae and Sridonchai Roads and scattering onto smaller alleys and side streets.
It might shock you, but during the day, Chang Klan Road is a normal street creased with various stores, hotels and restaurants. But by evening, you’ve got a main market that is almost a mile in length. Begin down one side of the street, and once you get to the end of the market, traverse over and make your way back along the other side. But as you wander, make sure to glance down the little side streets to see what’s present because you never know what you might come across.
When to Visit
No matter how much time you spend in Chiang Mai for you should be able to clutch in a visit to the night bazaar since it’s open every day of the year irrespective of the weather, from evening until around midnight. To see the market in fully occupied, go after 6 p.m. If you are in the area around late afternoon, you will probably spot more than a few workers stirring metal stalls and lining them up and down both sides of the main road. By the dusk, the majority of the street vendors will be loading their goods into their stalls.
If you want to have some relaxation as you browse, go early. If you’re comfortable with crowds, go any time.
What to Buy
Your options are apparently endless when it comes to what to buy at the bazaar. This isn’t the place to buy expensive goods, but that’s not to say you will not get any choice in terms of what’s available. And since many of the stalls end up selling related items, don’t feel the need to snap up the first thing you see. You can get that T-shirt or embroidered pillow cover cheaper anywhere in the next block. The many goods on sale include the above mentioned T-shirts, house wares, dresses, elephant pants, jewelry, shoes, bags, muay Thai shorts, toys, antiques, knock-off sunglasses and more.
In terms of where to focus your browsing and bargaining efforts, some of the top things to watch for include Thai silks, wood carvings, bamboo rice boxes, hand carved soaps and candles, traditional Thai clothing like the ultra-comfy fisherman pants, spices and silver jewelry.
Where and What to Eat
You won’t go starving when visiting the bazaar. Options to bite street food stop for a drink, or have a meal at a sit-down restaurant are many, so no matter what you’re in any frame of mind, you’re likely to find it. Keep an eye out for bars and restaurants that are away from the stalls. Do note that these venues tend to get hectic from 7 p.m. onwards due to their main night market location, so if you want a seat, come early to bet on a good spot.
If you plan stay in the market for a long time, there are lots of options for snacks, including mango sticky rice, fruit smoothies, spring rolls, roti (the banana version), ice cream and a diverse range of simple noodle dishes.
Located near the bottom end of the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar on Chang Klan Road, you’ll also find the Anusarn Market, which is abode to a surplus of food stalls to choose from where you can find foods for reasonable prices.
Mistakes to Avoid
There are a little things to keep in mind when visiting Chiang Mai’s night bazaar to your experience memorable. Due to the sheer amount of visitors, depending on when you arrive, you’ll likely be giving out space with huge clusters of slow-moving people—patience is important if you want to avoid frustration. Aim to get there just as things get rolling (around 6 p.m.) before the streets get blocked so you can glance through at a faster pace.
While you look around, remember to bargain if you see something you want to buy. Not only is it probable, but it’s also part of the fun. Prices will seem inexpensive by North American standards, but those prices are often marked up by at least 20 percent. Just remember to be courteous. There is no point in getting disturbed if a vendor won’t meet your preferred price. There are so many stalls to opt from or you can easily just move on.
It’s also much easier to take Thai baht on hand if you plan to make any purchases since the majority of vendors likely won’t be able to give you change in your home currency.
The major venue for shopping in Chiang Mai, indeed all of Thailand, the night bazaar is unavoidable part of the Chiang Mai experience. Located in the the intersection of Chang Khlan Road and Loi Khro Road but the whole thing spreads out for two blocks in either direction.
A best way to check out the whole thing is to begin at Tha Phae Road and work your way south towards Loi Khro. Once you arrive at the end of the market, cross the street and work your way back along the other side.
Don't forget to peek down the little alleyways and arcades along the way. If you see something you like to buy there are hundreds of vendors and an total flood of products for sale.
Bargaining and Prices in The Night Bazaar
Prices in the night bazaar aren't set so make sure to do a bit of haggling to get the best agreement. If you're a sober bargain hunter, you might want to try being the timely bird. It's considered bad luck if the first customer of the day doesn't buy anything and watching sellers whack their goods with the day's initial cash is a grand photo opportunity.
The end of the night is also key time to get some real bargains as many merchants are eager to give a very reasonable price to clutch the one last sale. When bargaining with Thais, remember to smile and be courteous and friendly. A good funny story and some patience will get you a lot further than cunning tactics.
Although bargaining and getting the best price is all part of the enjoyment of the market, don't forget that the majority of these vendors make very small and ten baht means a lot extra to them than it does to you.
Food, Drink and Services in the Night Bazaar
For delicious snacking there are abundance of restaurants and bars in the neighborhood where you can take a load off and evaluate your purchases.
Just off the main street you will find a wonderful selection of Thai seafood and noodle restaurants, while Loi Khro Road just east of Chang Khlan Road (towards the river) has a number of intercontinental restaurants and pubs.
If you need your fix of western comfort you'll find a Subway, a McDonald's and a Starbucks on the major strip. Also in the area there are many other useful services such as travel agents, internet cafés, mobile phone shops and camera shops.
Top Shops in the Night Bazaar
Anusarn is at the peak end of the Night Bazaar and has a extra open-air feel to it than the Kalare, with minor stores as opposed to shops. Here you can find some intricately made goods, jewelry, clothes, counterfeit watches and beautiful wood carvings.
Prices: Ranges from 250 Baht onwards
Opened from: 18:30 – 24:00
Located at: Chang Klan Road
An idiosyncratic little shop that feels as if you’re in somebody’s house, Bunrin is crowded with what seems to be like little bits of everything. A traditional Thai shop offering a wide range of knick knacks, some of it expensive, some of it not.
The market is secluded and has the usual furniture, art, textiles and crafts trading going on; a big attraction to this section of the Bazaar is the food court with a every night cultural performance.
Prices : Ranges from 500 Baht onwards
Opened from: 17:00- 23:00
Location: Chang Klan Road
An entire shop dedicated to beads and silver acquired directly from the Karen Hill tribe and offered in both wholesale and retail portions. If you’re interested in selling, wearing or making jewellery this is definitely a shop that matches with your taste.
Prices: Ranges from 750 Baht
Opened from: 12:00-22:00
Located: 130 Thapae Road
Nature and Life
It offers Simple cotton and hemp clothing in classic styles. The shops interior decoration does little to detract from the clothing on offer, simplicity is at the center of this Chiang Mai clothing brand.
Long clothing rails loaded with hangers holding shirts, dresses and skirts line the store, while baskets are full of crease friendly items. No doubt, this is much to the joy of Chiang Mai’s backpackers.
Prices: Ranges from 400 Baht
Opened from: 11:00-20:30
Address: Chang Klan Road
Night Bazaar Building
The exterior of the Night Bazaar building is evocative of a traditional Thailand teak wood house. Here we have attractive much the same goods as you will find in the Kalare and Anusarn markets.
While these places all deal mainly in Thai handicrafts, wood carvings, silk, paintings, ceramics and Lacquerware, some traders will be more compassionate than others when it comes to bargaining so ask around before you commit to an acquisition.
The aim of the game is to lower the price down by at least a quarter of the original asking price.
Prices: Ranges from 900 Baht
Opening Hours: 17:00-23:00
Address: Chang Klan Road
Trading in both wholesale and retail textile production, Nuntana has made quite a name for itself over the past decade, offering excellent quality textiles that include silk, cotton, linen, chiffon and hemp. They also import Chinese silk before dying it and producing their own designs.
Prices : Ranges from 600 baht
Opening Hours: 10:00-20:30
Address: 114 Thaphae Road
OP Place Chiang Mai
If you are looking for one stop shop for excellent handicrafts and local products in Chiang Mai, then we recommend you to go to this place where you will find various stalls and shops in OP Place just a few steps from the bustling night bazaar.
Prices: Range from 350 Baht onwards
Opening Hours: 11:00 – 22:00 daily
Located at: Thippatana Arcade, 108 Chang Klan Rd