Chiang Mai Shopping
Bargain Hunting in Chiang Mai Night Market
It seems to never stop growing and now includes a long city block on Changklan Road from Thapae Road to Loi Kroh.
Actually, because of the popularity of the bargain hunting public, traffic and sidewalk congestion the market has become a crowded experience, so be prepared to rub elbows. But too many vendors means strong competition and bargains for the shrewd negotiator. The following are examples of the beautiful handicrafts and one of a kind items you can expect to find.
Bor Sang Parasol Village
This is where the popular hand painted umbrellas originated. It is still primarily a cottage industry that has thrived for 200 years.
Saa Paper has become very popular for special packaging, greeting cards and similar presentations. You can see this hand made product being produced in San Kamphang.
San Kamphang Cotton and Silk Weaving Village
Today a major source of Thai silk and cotton fabrics produced in Chiang Mai. Local people weave the fine material on traditional looms. Expect to find beautiful fabrics for the home at a fraction of the price normally seen outside of Thailand.
Out Sankampaeng Road just past the super highway stands a string of stores and factories offering bronzes, jewelry, neiloware, ceramics and silverware.
Antiques and Reproductions
Fine art can be found on Hang Dong road. Reproductions featuring hand carving are popular as are "rain drums" alms bowls and furniture.
Chiang Mai's main market is the one locals go to, Wororot Market down by the river. It is huge and makes for an interesting stroll, although you can get lost. There you will find food, fruit, flowers, everyday household items, clothes, jewelry, tailor shops, some handicraft items, basically everything.
This place used to be, and still is to a certain extent, the commercial heart of Chiang Mai. People here won't hassle you to buy anything.
Chiang Mai also has a night market (read tourist strip) that stays open to about 23:00. Offers a huge selection of products such as ornamental bits and bobs, silk scarves and men's suits etc, brand name luggage, brand name sportswear, cheap CDs/DVDs, even a shop devoted purely to honey for those with a sweet tooth.
You can have you palm read or have your portrait drawn. Has many western food joints: German, Swedish, English, Italian, Japanese, Korean and also the likes of MacDonald's and Starbucks. You can also take in some traditional Thai dancing and even a Thai boxing match.
Do bear in mind that the area around the night market is very touristy and as such the people that work there are rather jaded.
Chiang Mai also has four massive hypermarkets: Makro, Tesco (2 branches) and Big C. All situated out of town on the super highway.
Another market worthy of mention is the Sunday walking street near Thapae gate. It's much less commercial than the night bazaar due to the fact it is open to anyone that wants to come and sell something. In other words there's a bit more diversity; a carnival like atmosphere.
Stacks of authentic Thai food at dirt cheap prices and even some traditional performances like tribal drums, singing, fire eating. It tarts at 11:00 and runs all day until 21:00.
This walking street is quite a new thing. How long it will retain the authentic atmosphere is anyone's guess.