Chiang Mai Series: The Spell of the Sunday Walking Street Market

by - 10:09 PM

Chiang Mai, street market, Thailand

"I've never been to a walking street market this huge before. It was electrifying. Intense. It felt like I was on a trance the whole time I was there." 

It was our first night in Chiang Mai and we weren't really that familiar yet with the ins and outs of the city. Luckily, the hostel we booked was at the south gate of the Old City, a few meters away from the night food stalls that sprout like mushrooms every night and just a short 10-15 minute walk to where the action of the night was - the Sunday Walking Street Market. 

Armed with a few Baht and a camera, we braved our way into the unknown and little did we know that we were in for a pleasant surprise.

Thailand, Chiang Mai, street market
Senses overload. The night market was huge, long, and not to mention, really crowded.
Chiang Mai's Sunday Walking Street Market is a huge market every errr, Sunday, located right at the heart of the old walled city. Spanning roughly about 1 km or so, it covers the entire length of Ratchadamnoen Road and several side streets, including the Pra Singh Roads. It opens as early as 4 pm, with the crowd thickening at around 7 pm or so, and closes right around midnight.

Thailand, Chiang Mai, walking street market

The walking street market was huge. Electrifying. Intense. It was as if we were all under a spell as we explored, from one end to another, rows and rows of stalls selling various products from cute statement shirts, to bags, silk scarf, Lanna style clothing, shoes, jewelry, and so much more. 

We saw quite a number of people, obviously tourists, sporting those "elephant pants" so my friends and I followed suit and bought one for ourselves (you'll see a picture of us wearing those in one of my future posts). For pasalubong, we bought some really good, colorful, and soft scarves for our folks.

Thailand, Chiang Mai, walking street market, Thai food
Who wouldn't love Thai food? Trying out the bugs and insects this country is known for. 
And what's a street market without food? Every few meters or so, there were food stalls selling mostly Thai food and a few other cuisines that were ridiculously cheap. It was here where I tasted my first ever Thai milk tea and I've been in love with it ever since. 

One thing I noticed was that most of the food stalls were grouped together somewhere at the end or intersection of the streets. Near every food corner was a makeshift stage where local kids and adults show off their talents in singing and dancing. We watched a couple of numbers and we didn't pass up the opportunity to meet other travelers, talk with locals, and just enjoy the night away while nursing our sore feet from all the walking.
Thailand, Chiang Mai, walking street market, arts and crafts
Getting a taste of Thailand's arts and crafts scene for the fist time in Chiang Mai.

Of all the places we've been to in Thailand, it is Chiang Mai that I love the most. There are so many reasons why (I'll write about it next time) and one of which is their passion and love for arts and crafts. 

I'm not an artist but I do appreciate beautiful paintings, ingeniously crafted clocks, handmade notebooks and leather wallets (bags and shoes too), and even a croaking frog made of wood. And the best part is it is waaay cheaper to buy this kind of stuff in Chiang Mai compared to the other parts of the country. For example, the wooden croaking frog costs 200 THB in Phuket compared to just a mere 50 THB in Chiang Mai.

The Chiang Mai Sunday Walking Street Market was just the first night of our stay in Thailand and it was the perfect introduction to knowing the country more.  :)

They say: "Travel and let the world change you." For 17 days, four international flights, two overnight trains, and countless hours of bus rides, I let the universe do just that. And it changed me in more ways than one.

This post is part of my Malaysia-Laos-Thailand travel series. 

Now up on the blog: 
 Other Thailand stories are still in the works so stay tuned!

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