Many travellers in Chiang Mai might wonder what there is to a night that does not involve only eating or drinking. The answer is, in a word, plenty! For this posting, let us consider the infamous night market in Chiang Mai. There is literally something for everyone down this one street, and visitors will not be disappointed. You do not need to sign up for a tour or anything of the sort to get there. Any tuk tuk will be able to drive you and your traveling companions there within a matter of minutes from nearly anywhere in Chiang Mai. Simply wear comfortable walking shoes and you will be ready for an evening of shopping, bargaining, eating, drinking, or whatever your heart desires.
The night market itself begins early in the evening, just about every night of the year, rain or shine. Perhaps the only exception would be during the April days of Son Kran, or Thai New Year. It is several blocks long and is ripe with restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, and of course, loads of shopping opportunities. You will even find occasions that there is a Muay Thai fight to watch, or Thai traditional dancing depending on the night and the weather. Like I said, there is a little something for everyone if you look hard enough.
The Chiang Mai night market is really a shopper’s paradise, where prices are not set in stone and those with incredible bartering skills will need a wheelbarrow to haul away their findings from the night. Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but you will probably need to be careful if you are running out of suitcase room because of the handicrafts and other items available for purchase along the path of the night market. As you are going along, you will find quality paintings, hand made souvenirs, watches and other goods of varying qualities and replications (if that is your thing), cheap music and DVDs, and quality Asian silver jewelry. Of course, this is just a sampling of the items that you will find on display. You do not even have to be a shopper to enjoy walking through the various stalls, as it is similar to walking through an art and craft fair anywhere in the world. Simply looking at the quality goods is enough to make for an enjoyable evening for most.
All of that shopping is likely to make you hungry and thirsty, so you will not be disappointed to discover a plethora of dining and drinking options all around the area. If you are tired of Thai food (I cannot imagine you would be, but I suppose everyone has their individuals tastes!), there are plenty of international restaurants that abound throughout the path of the night market. There are places to stop and wet your whistle, and talk with other travelers from around the world, and even a Starbucks if you need a late night caffeine fix. It is truly an enjoyable evening that you will not soon forget.