Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chiang Mai Night Markets

Chiang Mai's night bazaar is pretty good compared with other night markets around Thailand. Sure they sell all the same items from t-shirts to handbags, to pirated DVDs, and a wide range of souvenirs but there are more hill tribe handicrafts here, as well as jewelry.

As with night markets anywhere else in Southeast Asia, bargaining for the best price is a must.
All the seasoned vendors know exactly what the lowest price is that you can possibly get for an item so it's your job to try to get as close to that figure as possible. If you find something you like, decide what it's worth to you and bargain in good faith. If you're allowed to walk away after a bargaining session your price was probably too low.


Just in case you missed the Fish Stomach Soup sign, it's listed twice.
As with any shopping area, there are always places to get something to eat. The night market in
Chiang Mai is no different and the choices are abundant. Yes, you can get Pad Thai and just about any other Thai dish you have in mind, and there's Pizza, Pasta, Hamburgers, Korean, Japanese, and whatever else you may have a craving for.
And of course there are soap carvings perfectly packaged in decorative containers to be transported back home. I've never seen anyone actually purchasing them but since they're being sold just about anywhere tourist converge in Thailand, I'm sure they do sell.

One thing to stay away from are the "knock-off" watches. Sure, you may have always wanted that Rolex around your arm but they're almost guaranteed to stop working by the time you board your plane home.

Chiang Mai also has a very popular Sunday market which takes place from dusk to around midnight every Sunday from the Tapae Gate, down the main street inside the walls of the Old City, to Wat Pra Singh (the most significant temple in the Old City).
You'll find some items here that you wouldn't find at the Night Bazaar since it's geared more towards the locals, and the prices reflect it. It's also a great place to get street food snacks and bargain massages if you get tired of fighting your way through the crowds inching their way down the streets.

Street vendors converge at different spots throughout the city each night of the week during the dry season. Besides the Sunday walking street, there's a Saturday walking street beginning just outside the Chauk Puak gate on the western side of the old city.

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