Who’s for shopping and who’s for massage? So goes our host’ usual line after all the activities of the day has been done and dealt with. Those two, however, only leads to a single place. For two consecutive nights, the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar was our go-to place to unwind and relax after busily running around the city.
The night market is a kilometer-long stretch of road along the bustling Chang Khlan Road at the east side of the walled city. The place is already filled with shops during the mornings, but becomes even more alive at night with street vendors setting up makeshift stores along the sidewalk.
Through the years, two shopping arcades have sprouted from the main shopping district, located near both ends of the area; the Kalare Night Bazaar and Asunarm Markets. I noticed that the wares being sold in these areas are much more varied compared to the ones on the sidewalks for almost the same, if not the same, prices.
But before going, be sure to stuff wads of Thai baht in your pockets as that’s the only currency the stores here accept—forget about credit cards. If you however ran out of baht, there are a few money exchange banks and kiosks in the area. Some do close early, although we were able to find one still open after ten in the evening across the street from Starbucks Coffee.
The number of things you can buy at the night bazaar cannot be counted on your fingers and toes. From a quick stroll through the sidewalks, I spotted the usual tourist shirts, cute fridge magnets, colorful key chains, swanky scarves and elephant paintings.
Delve further and you’d see Thai food spices being sold side by side with flowers intricately carved from scented soaps packed in cute little circular containers. Silverwares also abound, and of course, Buddha and elephant carvings, both new and antiques.
Then you get the weird and funny stuff. Can you imagine bringing home a bunch of bottle openers fashioned after a man’s weapon of choice? Lol.
While roaming around the night bazaar, I spotted a few artists sketching and painting the night away. Their artwork looks really impressive, just don’t let them catch you taking a photo of them; you’ll get reprimanded in no time. Master your ninja skills before attempting a shot.
Food stands selling all sorts of Thai street food abound in the market, and they’re pretty affordable too. Restaurants and bars can also be found in the area, I even saw a few with live bands playing. My first thought was that Thom Yorke moved to Chiang Mai and developed a Thai accent.
Even though I wanted a proper Thai massage after finishing up on shopping, my wallet argues the point with me. So what’s the next best thing after walking and shopping for hours? A fish massage. They’re Thai fishes anyways, so technically, I’m still getting my Thai massage at a fourth of the price.
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
Address: Chang Klan Road, Chang Khlan,
Muang Chiang Mai,Changmai, Thailand
Night Bazaar Hours: Starts at 6:00pm onwards
GPS Coordinates Map: 18°47'03.9"N 99°00'01.3"E