The best way to experience the local life

of northern Thai people

Chiang Mai Sunday Market

We highly recommend you should pay a visit to Chiang Mai Sunday Market if you are in Chiang Mai. It is the best way to experience the local life of Northern Thai people in an authentic style. At the market you will find nice food, great atmosphere and a variety of creations of skilled artists and creative minds.

When it comes to night markets, many people may think they are very common in Thailand and some other Southeast Asian countries with almost all looking the same. Some food stalls, local souvenirs, a few live performances and crowds of tourists are usual images. However, you will definitely change your mind after your visit to Chiang Mai Sunday Market because it’s simply the best Thai street market.

There are also other names for Chiang Mai Sunday Market such as Chiang Mai Night Market or Sunday Walking Street Market Chiang Mai. Whatever people call it, the different names exactly refer to the same place.


Chiang Mai Sunday Market


When to visit Chiang Mai Sunday Market

Chiang Mai Sunday Market is opened from 4pm till around midnight every Sunday. It is an underestimation to say that there are many people in the market while it can be described as if people from the whole town show up!

Most of the people tend to swarm in between the period of 7pm-10pm. So, if you feel anxious or a little uncomfortable in facing large crowds, we strongly recommend an earlier visit in the evening for you.

Where to find Chiang Mai Sunday Night Market

The location of the Chiang Mai Sunday Market is not at all difficult to find. Like most Thai street market, it’s just located in the centre of the old walled city area of Chiang Mai. Starting from the Tha Phae Gate at one end the Sunday Market extends for about 1km down the full length of Ratchadamnoen Road. The Market is growing bigger each year and has now started to spread along many of the side streets off the main road, as well as the open area around the Tha Phae Gate itself.

Ratchadamnoen Road is always closed to traffic when the Sunday Market is open. This allows people to browse the goods on display, bargain with vendors for a good price and wander freely all around without watching over for a motor bike passing by. At the Sunday Market you will find lots of tourists and Thai locals all gathered together having a good time.

What to expect at Chiang Mai Sunday Market

It's no exaggeration to say visiting Chiang Mai Sunday Market is one of the best things to do in Chiang Mai. With the famous Sunday Market, the Sundays are super unique here in Chiang Mai, as the city looks more vibrant, lively and packed. Most people agree that the day even gets better when they know Chiang Mai Sunday Market will be happening! It's perfectly reasonable to add the Market to your must-do list in Thailand.

If the large crowds at the Market arouse the anxiety inside you, we recommend you adjust your visiting time to an earlier part, like before 7.00pm. We can hardly describe with words how crowded the venue may become. You will often be stuck at the point when the visitors in front stop to watch something or bargain. In a real sense, there is no fixed direction for everyone. The best suggestion for you is just to follow the stream of crowds.

In particular, the Sunday Market is a showcase of the art and craftsmanship of the local Thai people. A lot of stall vendors make and sell their own products and the quality of craftsmanship is excellent and impressive. The goods available are made from a wide range of materials such as silk, paper, fabric, wood, metal, glass, ceramic etc. For the Shopaholics, there is just more than you can probably handle because you will be spoilt for choices and too many things are really cheap and too many things seem adorable! Even a non-shopaholic would end up buying – maybe sometimes just to show respect for the artists’ talent! Please do remember to bargain and you’ll definitely enjoy the experience.


Tourists at Chiang Mai Sunday Market


How to satisfy your taste buds at Chiang Mai Sunday Market

It's no exaggeration to say that we were in paradise and our taste buds were fully satisfied at Chiang Mai Sunday Market. There are many areas dedicated to food stalls, even temples on either side of the road become food courts. Without doubt, you can get any food you like at really good prices! Have some preference for noodles? All right. Want to try some seafood? No problem. What about some fruits or desserts? Very Easy. Our recommendation is a simple combination with three samosas for about $0.75 and coconut ice cream for about $1.00.

Frankly it is not only a feast for our stomachs but also a feast for our eyes with many scents in the air and the showy way local people cook the food. The kid with you will be excited about a pancake on a stick, complete with a depiction of the favourite cartoon character. Chiang Mai Sunday Market is really a delightful place for people of all ages and both sexes.

Of course, if you are looking for the symbolic street food at Thai market like Thai pad noodles, curry or coconut pancakes, there is just plenty. Considering the hospitality of the locals, there is no need to worry about the food size or portion you will have. The fresh fruit juice stands are a real treat and Thai Pad noodles are a must try. Also sweets and desserts are equally tempting. If you are brave enough, you can challenge something more thrilling such as the fried insects. Deep-fried crickets and other worms will leave you a very deep impression.

Indeed, Chiang Mai Sunday Market is a food lover’s dream. Each time you go, there will be new discoveries, new attempts, and new surprises. You will never feel tired of it, because it is full of life. It's a magic place where you can constantly draw strength.


Street food at Chiang Mai Night Market


What else to do?

If you aren’t in the mood for street food at Thai market, there are a lot of restaurants, coffee shops and bars within the Market area where you can stay away from the crowd and sit and enjoy a meal or a drink and watch the ebb and flow of visitors. But keep in mind that the market takes place only once a week before you make the decision. By the way, on the main Walking Street of Ratchadamnoen Road, there is also maybe the best steak in the world, which we have tried for you.

The Sunday Walking Street actually serves as a venue for different kinds of local events, from dance recitals to beauty contests and the lanes on either side of the main road feature stages and performance spaces. Students from some local schools and colleges give stage performances usually to support a cause. Many street artists with various musicians also light the streets up. So there are simply many things to look at, admire or glance at!

What your visit should also include are two excellent temples. On the main street is Wat Phan Tao and down a side street is the impressive bulk of Wat Chedi Luang. You’d better get there before dark to admire them in good day light.

With so much to see (and buy) at the weekend market your feet are bound to get tired. Fortunately, there are plenty of places where you can sit down and get a relaxing foot massage for next to nothing, to be more specific, around $3.00 for 30 minutes.


Street artists at Chiang Mai Sunday Market


How much to pay?

In the markets around Asian countries, you’ll probably face the same difficulty as to find out how much you should pay. Fortunately, street snacks are almost always priced at Chiang Mai Sunday market. Most of the goods are about 20 baht (appro. $06), but if you want to buy something more delicate, you’ve got to pay more.

It's a especially difficult to figure out how much to pay for decorations, dresses and almost everything except the food, because those things usually don't have a price on them.

It's best to have a rough idea of the item’s price before you buy it, so that you can know if you've got a fair deal, although sometimes it's not easy. In order to avoid this difficult situation, you may try to stroll around and figure out an average price. Otherwise, our best suggestion is that you make a counter offer at least half the price the seller initially offered. However, in most cases, they will refuse and make a lower offer. Then the offers will go back and forth until the deal is done.

With practical experiences, we’ve come to the point that the closer you get to the center of the market, the more expensive offers you will get. The average price seem to be a little cheaper on side streets and at either end of the road. In our opinion, it's because of the traffic in the center.