Chiang Mai’s unique night walking markets: Chiang Mai Thailand’s Weekend Bazaars
Almost everyone knows of the Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai along Chang Klang Road but few visitors ever experience Chiang Mai’s unique 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.
Both 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.
The Sunday Bazaar on Rajdumnern Road begins at Thapae Gate and ends at the city police station about 6 bocks west. About half way up, at Prapokklao Road, the Bazaar continues south past Wat Chedi Luang for another block and north to the 3 kings statue and the old Provincial Hall, which is now the Chiang Mai City Museum.
Dress Code: A stage is set up on the grounds of the museum where northern Thai musicians and dancers in traditional costumes give live performances starting around 7 PM.
Rajdumnern Road seams 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 handcraft persons selling their goods. Excellent northern Thai food and snacks made fresh by local and country folks, most not found in restaurants, such as “Miengkom” and “Caosoi” 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. Wow what a great experience.Related to:
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Chiang Mai Plaza Lounge: Loung lizard
The longe in our hotel, had a live band of this one guy who sings all these great songs. There is a happy hour where drinks are buy one get one free and they bring both of them to you at the same time so we ended up with like 7 of us having 14 drinks at one time, it was funny to see. You could also dance if you wanted to.
Dress Code: Don't think there is one, I wore shorts.
Riverside Bar & Restaurant: Live music and young people by the river
This is simply a great bar by anyone's standards. Located right on the river, next to some other bars, it has nightly live music on two separate stages. The bar as a homely feel, and is filled with young, local Thai's, as well as some backpackers. There is one particular band that plays there regularly that has a dynamite lead singer. She is a short, Thai girl and covered everything from Norah Jones to Michael Jackson with unbelievable accuracy.
Dress Code: Casual.
Simon Chiang Mai Cabaret: Journey to the Simon's Dream
I am not sure why is Simon having dreams about drag queens and transexuals, but "journey to the Simon's dream" is the marketing phrase they are using for the show.
What is certain however, is that the Simon Cabaret in Phuket is widely known as one of the best cabaret show in South East Asia and they have finally landed in Chiang Mai as well.
And what a show it was! Staged in an air-cooled area that can seat an audience of 800, there is one large center stage and 2 smaller side stages. The show was an evening of engaging performances among extravagant sets, opulent costumes, dazzling lighting and familiar show tunes.
There are 2 performances daily, one at 7.30pm and another at 9.30pm. Admission is 400 baht person, but if you had booked from a tour agency which includes hotel transfer, then it will be 500 baht per person.
More photos are available here.
Good View: Chiang Mai Institution
The Good View has been around for a long time and is almost an institution for live music. This is a wonderful restaurant/bar, which has something for everyone. They have a very extensive food menu-quite international. Even sushi. Before the band comes on-there is a dj playing some house and rave like music. Around 10.30 pm a house band comes on, which are quite good. I was impressed. The restaurant is right near the river. This place is mostly popular with Thais, but you do see a bunch of farangs. Highly recommended.
Future Media: Movie night
Looking for a relaxing break from the Night Bazaar? At Future Media, they have a large selection of movies on DVD and laserdisc that you can choose and watch in one of there viewing rooms, complete with large screen tv and kick ass audio system.
Cost is 200 baht for up to four people, and 50 baht per extra person. Couches and pillows are provided although they are not the most comfortable. They have rooms that can hold 10 people (if you don't mind sitting on the floor - my prefered seat) and smaller ones too.
You can call ahead to book a movie and a room.
Dress Code: I think you are supposed to keep you clothes on while watching, but take your shoes off when you enter the rooms. Rooms have A/C.
The Riverside in Chiang Mai
The Riverside in Chiang Mai
When you're tired of local culture and just need a 'western' fix, come to The Riverside for some great food, beer and music. You'll meet many other westerners there.
Dress Code: Casual
Foxy lady, I don’t think I need to explain what you might find there, I assume it is for those of you who can’t manage on your own charm alone, check it out ;-)
waiting to sleep
What to do in the middle of the jungle while waiting to fall asleep?
Tea, a few chats and some smoking lets you pass the time.Related to:
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