Thursday, March 27, 2014

Chiang Mai Sunday Market

Another Spring Break is upon me, and I have yet to finish telling you about last year's Spring Break in Chiang Mai, Thailand... or even Spring Break from 2 years ago in Japan. I'm wondering where next year's Spring Break will find me.

The very first thing we did in Chiang Mai was the Sunday Market to get a feel for the town. We hopped in a songtow and took a ride to the Old City which is surrounded by a fortified wall.  Granted, the busy Starbucks where the driver dropped us off didn't really scream "exotic Southeast Asia," but once we crossed Tha Phae Gate, the feeling of I-could-be-anywhere dropped away, and the ambiance of Chiang Mai wrapped itself around us.

Chiang Mai Old City
Looking out at the New City through Tha Phae Gate



As the name implies the Sunday Market occurs on Sunday. The stalls stretch down Ratchadamnoen Street which is closed to vehicular traffic, making it a great place for me to browse without worrying that my kids would stray in front of a car or scooter. I was tempted to start snapping up souvenir handicrafts but made myself walk all the way down to see all my choices before I pulled out my wallet. 

Chiang Mai, Old City
Handicrafts at the Sunday Market

Haggling is expected at the Sunday Market, as is the case with most places in Thailand. I am a horrible haggler. Hubby says I remind him of Monty Python's Life of Brian. My friends tell me that your first offer should be 60% off the asking price, and then you should finally end up at about 30% off after negotiations. I usually believe the seller's story that his dear wife worked her fingers off embroidering the lovely purse I'm holding in my hand and pay the full amount. 

The Sunday Market is also a great place to find cheap eats, although to be honest, all of Chiang Mai seems to be overflowing with good and inexpensive meals. You can buy something to nosh on from a stall or duck into one of the brick-and-mortar restaurants lining the street.

Chiang Mai, Sunday Market, Old City
Pick out what you want, and she'll grill it right up for you.

Chiang Mai, Sunday Market, Old City
Care for some snacks? 

Performers add more liveliness to the market. There's everything from the traditional...

Chiang Mai, Sunday Market, Old City
Traditional Music at the Sunday Market

to the more modern performances which I'm going to have to admit drew a much larger crowd.

Chiang Mai, Sunday Market, Old City
At least 100 people were watching this lady on stage

Do you like to visit markets to get a feel for a city?





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38 comments:

  1. I would absolutely love to go to the Chiang Mai market, Michele! We don't have anything like that here in Reno except for a Farmer's Market which has turned into just a party hangout. It's horrible. Picking out fresh ingredients and having that lady in the pic above grill it up for me would be just the ticket! :)

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  2. I can smell the food, and feel the night time excitement, as well as being lured to those lovely market buys. Chiang Mai is somewhere still on my list as I keep reading so much about it. Thanks for sharing :)

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  3. Markets are always on my agenda. I have been tossing up whether to visit Chiang Mai or not. So many travel bloggers hang out there I am not sure whether that is a good or bad thing. How much time have you spent in Thailand? So far we have only been to Bangkok. Have any suggestions?

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    1. It's kind of hard for me to compare Bangkok and Chiang Mai. I visited Bangkok 17 years ago coming directly from the USA and found it congested and migraine-inducing, although I enjoyed Ayutthaya. After living in SE Asia for a few years, I didn't have much culture shock when visiting Chiang Mai. The best part of Chiang Mai is Elephant Nature Park. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget. I wish I could have stayed at the park for an entire week instead of only doing a daytrip. Some people who find Chiang Mai too touristy head north to Chiang Rai.

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    2. Thanks Michele, I looked up the Elephant Nature Park and agree that it would be an amazing experience.

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  4. I love a market, Sunday or any day! Great shots!

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  5. Looks like a great market. I'm a big fan of markets and luckily for me we have plenty in France. In fact I'm off to my favourite right now in Valbonne which takes place every Friday morning...look out for a blog post on it soon!!!

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  6. Lovely pictures! Considering that I grew up in SEA, haggling should be in my blood but it's not. And these days, sellers in Malaysia are getting tougher and tougher to haggle with that I rarely even push, but I might eventually get better with more practice. Thanks for dropping by and hope all is well in Penang!

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  7. The markets in Asia always look fantastic, its something i should put on my bucket list. I'm also not a good haggler I guess it comes with experience.

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  8. You can't beat an overseas market for local colour and to see what they're eating. You must have a very busy life with kids, blogging and all the usual things one does part of the reason posts don't happen when you'd like them to. Hope it's a great March break. We're still in snow.

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  9. Oh, I love exploring foreign markets! Most of my favourite memories from my month in India are from exploring the massive market in Mumbai. Cannot wait to see what there is to discover in the markets in Thailand :)

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    1. PS. I've included this post in my monthly round up :)

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  10. I'm reading so much about Chiang Mai lately that it moving up to the top of my travel bucket list. I would also be a terrible haggler and just give up to pay full price too. Also, the food looks so inviting and interesting.

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  11. I have a CM Sunday market post on my to do list. On my last Sunday in CM I always visit, and the homesickness starts before I ever leave CM. Thanks for the walk down memory lane :)

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  12. I just returned from Thailand, and I regret I did not make it to Chiang Mai. But it is a good reason to return!

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  13. Your idea of walking the length of the market before buying is a great one, Michele. I'll have to try it next time.
    I haven't mastered the art of haggling either. I've worked with artists and crafts people and know most of them put their all into their work so I don't even think of bargaining. If I think something is overpriced or if I'm not prepared to spend the money they ask, I just leave.

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  14. I hate haggling too. Just makes me feel mean

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  15. I fondly remember this market. It's a great way to get a little insight into a place.

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  16. there looks really fascinating and enjoying :) great photos

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  17. Visiting markets is one of my favorite things - you get such a great feel for cities at their markets. And it's good that you made yourself look at everything available before purchasing. I often do the opposite and end up regretting my purchase when I find something better later on.

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  18. Hi Michelle,
    Yes, I absolutely love visiting markets. That a good place to get a fill of colors, smells and sounds of the local culture. I like the variety of scenes from the CM market that you have shared with us - that ancient gate, the handicrafts, the food, and the entertainment Looks like there's something to interest everyone.

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  19. I love this night markets. The intensity of taste is just fantastic! Btw just followed you on Twitter as well - looking forward to connect! Torsten MightyTravels

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  20. This looks like a great market. I've heard such wonderful things about Chiang Mai's food scene. We love visiting markets too especially pedestrianized ones. I'm like you, I'm such a bad haggler and I always feel like I'm taking advantage of the vendors.

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  21. Thai night markets are my absolute favorite. I love the cheap meals and the Thai iced coffees are to die for!

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  22. I love to visit a market to get a feel of the city. I actually really believe that no visit to any city is complete without visiting a local market. It's a great place to experience the local life. Your photos are lovely. Would love to try all that delicious and inexpensive food.

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  23. And now I am hungry! I love Chang Mai, it's years since I have been though... If only we had night markets like that round here! :D

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  24. Oh awesome ! We are going in June I can't wait especially after reading your stories I can't wait to try all the food! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  25. Ohhh yesssss!!! We always, always bee line it to the markets on day one where possible. I love seieng what is new and different - even at the supermarket. Annnnnnd if I happen to make a little purchase that's good too. Big thanks for linking up with us to #SundayTraveler again

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  26. They put on quite a show at the Sunday Market! I can't even imagine having Thai food right there and made to order. What a nice experience.

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  27. I love markets! Though, like you, I'm terrible at haggling. I hate asking for lower prices than what is written. Usually I leave it whoever I'm traveling with to handle the transaction, but one of these days I know I'm going to have to do it myself. Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler again!

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  28. I love that market. I went there many years ago and it still remains one of my favourites. I bought so much jewelry and ate so many delicious things!

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  29. What a lively place to visit! I am horrible at negotiations too and usually end up paying full price. I would love to visit here and look through all of the souvenirs and snacks!

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  30. that's one of my favorite night markets, so busy and filled with amazing places to eat and snack - love this market

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  31. Love visiting markets so much! Can't wait to be here in just 7 months!! :) Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler :)

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  32. The market is one of top attraction in Thailand. I would like to go and purchase cloths and products because here you can get many things that you can buy anywhere in the world.

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