Not to be confused with the famous Night Bazaar on Changklan Road, the Walking Street Market is always attended by large numbers of Thais and offers a more authentic local shopping experience.
There is a market which sets up in the old silver-making district of Chiang Mai on Wualai Road on Saturdays, but the better known one is the Sunday Walking Street Market in the Old Town. The latter sets up every Sunday on Rachadamnoen Road from late afternoon and continues to around 11pm. The street is closed to traffic and stalls line the pavements (sidewalks). Many of the items on display are unique to Chiang Mai or the surrounding area and are part of the nationwide programme known as OTOP (One Tambon One Product) which encourages each district (tambon) to produce its own local specialities in items such as handicrafts, clothing and furniture.
Even if shopping isn’t your thing, it’s a great place to go and enjoy a cheap meal and drink or just to people-watch. If you’re feeling weary there are numerous places offering foot massages. The combination of big comfortable chairs, warm air and a gentle massage is guaranteed to relax you and is highly recommended. Street theatre can sometimes be seen as can displays of traditional singing or dancing.
Unlike some shopping experiences in Thailand, the prices aren’t deliberately inflated for the foreigner so keep that in mind if you want to haggle. I find the stall owners are friendlier than the Night Bazaar, the prices are cheaper and the quality is invariably better. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t go to the Night Bazaar because it too can be enjoyable, but for me the Walking Street Market is a better option.
Photo credits: Thaizer