The best places to go shopping in Chiang Mai differ greatly from what you’d find in Bangkok. Forget designer labels in luxury malls – Chiang Mai is Thailand’s capital of unique handicrafts. It’s one of the few places in the country where you can visit a factory or artisan’s workshop, watch craftspeople at work and then buy the products you’ve just seen being manufactured. In some cases, you can even try your hand at making them yourself.

    The most popular shopping spots in Chiang Mai can be found in the city’s many open-air markets, with 4 notable night markets to choose from. It’s important to note that not all of them open daily, so be sure to check which day each runs on before heading across town. For those who like a bit of air conditioning on their bargain hunts, check out the city’s excellent boutiques and gallery-style stores.


    Tha Pae Sunday Walking Street

    A shopping destination on Rachadamnoen Road

    Tha Pae Sunday Walking Street, also known as Chiang Mai Walking Street, is easily the most popular shopping experience in Chiang Mai. Street shopping is all about immersing yourself in the local culture, and there’s no better place to experience it than at Chiang Mai's weekend walking streets.

    Enjoy the vibrant spectrum of art, crafts, music and food – with mostly handmade quality instead of mass-produced goods. Stroll down the jam-packed streets and experience a wealth of traditional and modern Chiang Mai culture in a single visit. With so much to see (and buy) at the weekend market on Ratchadamneon Road, your feet are bound to get tired. Fortunately, there are also plenty of places where you can grab refreshments or even sit down and get a relaxing foot massage for next to nothing.

    Location: Rachadamnoen Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

    Open: Sunday from 5 pm to 10.30 pm


    Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

    A festive night market scene in Chiang Mai

    The Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is one of the main shopping venues in northern Thailand and is simply a can't-miss part of the whole Chiang Mai experience. It features street-side stalls selling mostly clothing and handicrafts, together with a host of shopping plazas where you can find more unique crafts and jewelry.

    A good way to check out the whole area is to start at Tha Phae Road and work your way south toward Loi Khro. Once you reach the end of the market, cross the street and work your way back along the other side. Full set up time is around sunset (usually at about 6 pm) and shopping goes on unabated until about 10.30 pm, with a few vendors remaining open even later into the night.

    Location: Chang Moi Sub-district, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 5 pm to midnight


    photo by Christophe95 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Wua Lai Walking Street

    An outdoor bazaar on Wua Lai Road

    Wua Lai Walking Street is a lively and fun night market that takes place in Chiang Mai, just a short walk from the old city walls. Also known as the Wualai Saturday Walking Street, the outdoor bazaar starts late on Saturday afternoon and continues until around 10.30 pm.

    Many regular visitors often prefer the atmosphere here to Chiang Mai's more famous Sunday night walking street on Rachadamnoen Road. Even though it’s smaller, there aren’t the same crowds of people, so it makes for a much more leisurely stroll.

    Location: Wua Lai Rd, Tambon Phra Sing, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand

    Open: Saturday from 5 pm to 11 pm


    photo by chootrong (CC BY 3.0) modified


    Bo Sang Umbrella Village

    A craft village known for its paper umbrellas

    Bo Sang Umbrella Village or Bor Sang is a mid-sized craft village about 9 km east of Chiang Mai Old City that specializes in paper umbrella-making. Well known for outstanding handcraft quality as well as signature floral designs, the craft village has made its name throughout the country and abroad – so much so that the name Bor Sang has become synonymous with the paper-umbrella craft and the umbrella themselves, a cultural symbol of Chiang Mai.

    The village craftspeople produce umbrellas in all shapes and sizes, from normal-sized hand-painted umbrellas to tiny cocktail umbrellas and from large parasols for gardens or patios to other handmade products. All of their items are made from cotton and sa paper, a traditional paper made from the bark of the mulberry tree. The design has also evolved, from the original floral patterns to depictions of Chiang Mai’s rural scenery and even abstract patterns.

    Location: Route 1014, Ton Pao, San Kamphaeng District, Chiang Mai 50130, Thailand


    Chiang Mai riverside boutique shops

    Wooden shophouses along Charoenrat Road

    The Chiang Mai riverside boutique shops that line a short section of Charoenrat Road across the River Ping make for a pleasant stroll. The strip features a collection of renovated wooden shophouses that mostly specialize in Lanna art and crafts, mostly from high-end local brands.

    The shops themselves are architectural treasures, built more than a century ago. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, this area is well worth a visit just for its historical value and scenic riverside panoramas.


    The House by Ginger

    A cool dining and shopping spot on Moonmuang Road

    The House by Ginger is a restaurant and shop that displays a colorful range of kitchenware and Thai-inspired furniture and clothing on Moonmuang Road. Shopping can be lots of fun, but nowhere is it more cheery than at The House. Anyone who loves to shop will have a field day here, with so many eye-catching items on display.

    The House is a beautifully renovated home that makes the perfect backdrop for the bright cushions and funky clothing on display. Original paintings from locale artists hang on the walls, while a selection of colorful dresses, T-shirts, bags and cushions are in a different section. Set up in 2002 in Chiang Mai, it is a daring fusion of Danish and Asian design.

    Location: 199 Mun Mueang Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 11 am to 9 pm, Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)53 287 681


    San Kamphaeng

    From street food to Thai silk

    San Kamphaeng District in Chiang Mai is well-known for its Thai silk. Shops and mini-factories line both sides of the Chiang Mai-San Kamphaeng Road, where local artists practice their craft with a skill born of a centuries-old tradition.

    Rounding out the selection of products are lacquerware, ceramics and brightly colored umbrellas that are a northern specialty. Those looking for a street-shopping and local dining experience can check out the San Kamphaeng Saturday Walking Street along the Chiang Mai-San Kampaeng Highway, also known as Route 1006.


    Maya Lifestyle Shopping Center

    One of the latest malls to hit Chiang Mai is the impressive Maya Lifestyle Shopping Center, located on the trendy Niman Road (thus proving very popular with local yuppies and university students). The ‘lifestyle’ title is quite appropriate for this mall; as well as ample fashion stores, you’ll find a range of restaurants, cafés, an entertainment complex with a movie theater, and an awesome rooftop which boasts plenty of bars with city views. On the shopping front, big names to look out for at this rather futuristic-looking mall include Jaspal, CC-00, Adidas and Oakley.

    Location: 55 Moo 5, Huay Kaew Road, Nimmanhaemin, Mueang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand

    Open: Monday–Friday from 11 am to 9 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)52 081 555


    photo by Zeroranger (CC BY 3.0) modified


    Central Chiangmai Airport

    For your last-minute souvenir shopping

    Central Chiangmai Airport, also known as Airport Plaza Chiang Mai, is the place to go for international brands. It is also a good stop-off point for last-minute souvenirs. Located within walking distance of the airport, there are 5 floors of shops and restaurants as well as an international grocery store and a movie theater.

    The highlight for most visitors to Central Chiangmai Airport is the handicraft and souvenir section. Boutique shops here sell a range of typically Northern Thai souvenirs including silks, clothing, teak trinkets and traditional toys.

    Location: 2 252-252/1 Mahidol Rd, Tambon Pa Daet, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)53 999 199


    Warorot Market

    A lively market on Chang Moi Road

    Warorot Market (or Kad Luang) is a must-visit for food lovers as it offers a wide range of ready-to-eat meals, local snacks and all kinds of fresh produce. Even so, a large section of the market features inexpensive goods, such as clothing, fashion accessories and personal care products. 

    Targeting mostly Thais, Warorot Market is a great place to get a feel for the local way of life. There are 3 floors to explore, with sections solely featuring clothing and household goods. It's a great place to spend a few hours, especially around certain festive vacations like Chinese New Year.

    Location: Wichayanon Rd, Chang Moi, Chiang Mai, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 4 am to 6 pm

    Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveler

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