Almost everyone knows of the Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai along Changklan Road but few visitors ever experience Chiang Mai's unique pedestrian walking markets on the weekends. These markets on Wualai Road on Saturday and Rajdumnern Road on Sunday are much different than the Night Bazaar. While the Night Bazaar has it's flashing neon signs advertising the western food chains and merchandise, crowded narrow walkways crammed with hawkers and tourists, the Weekend Bazaars offer a more relaxing experience. Large wide avenues are blocked off from vehicle traffic at 4 PM until 11 PM. Talented craft persons and northern Thai fresh food vendors politely sell they wares along the sidewalks and on colorful temple grounds.
The three weekend walking markets are excellent however each is different in the types of wares sold, atmosphere and experiences. The Saturday Bazaar on Wualai Road begins at Rajchiangsean road up to Tipanet Road. This is the old city silver-making district and even today you can still hear the tapping of hammers as the silversmiths sculpture beautiful designs on bowls, cups, bracelets, rings and wall murals. You can watch them make their beautiful creations as they sit on the street in front of their shops.
There are several silver shops on Wualai Road so look at all of them before deciding on a purchase. Bargaining is welcomed and half of the funs of shopping so don't settle on a fixed price. There are plenty of food and drink vendors along the street and small restaurants where you can take a rest and take in the surroundings so no need to rush.
Rajdumnern Road seems to have one temple after another. The temple grounds are where almost all the food stalls are set up. Here they have tables and chairs where you can sit and have everything from French Fries to Papaya Salad, soups and grilled Thai dishes. Lots of different foods and deserts you probably have never seen before are available. Soft Thai music is usually played on the temple sound system to add to the eating experience.
Both Bazaars are lots of fun and several hours can be spent here enjoying the culture, food, people and atmosphere. Unlike the Night Bazaar with its copied brand products, fake jewelry and handicrafts made in China or Burma both weekend markets have real handicraft persons selling their goods. Excellent northern Thai food and snacks made fresh by local and country folks, most not found in restaurants, such as "Mieng kaam" and "Kaosoi" have to be tried.
The real fun is not the shopping but the ambience. Every block has traditional Thai Music being played by elders and children. The rich colors of the surrounding temples, the smell of garlic, grilled fish, sausages and chilies being cooked and roasted. People are eating smiling and just having a good time. Oh, one more thing. Get your snack and cold drink and take it to one of the many foot massage operations set up on the sidewalk. Sit back in the comfortable cushioned reclining chair and just watch, listen and take it all in.
The third weekend bazaar is Second hand Bazaar on Bumrungrasd Road adjacent to Prince Royal School at the Kaew Nawarat Road intersection. The Saturday and Sunday event begins about 9 am until 6 pm. Here you will find anything and everything from car tools to second hand clothes, magazines and household items. It is so popular that we recommend parking on the north side parallel with Kaew Nawarat Road.
Wow - what a great experience to be out among the great assets of Chiang Mai that is the charming friendly people.
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