The Chiang Mai night market (the “night bazaar”) is the place to go in Chiang Mai for dinner, drinks, people watching and to bag your share of souvenirs, copy watches, fake t-shirts and handbags, pirated videos and computer games, clothing and more. If you want to stay close by there are some nice hotels near the Chiang Mai night market to choose from.
It operates almost every evening, although its scale does vary at times, taking up a couple of blocks along Chang Khlan Road starting as the sun goes down and ending about midnight. As well as the main street market, there are several “souvenir malls” and other market-style malls running off to the sides of Chang Khlan Road which offer a variety of specialised goods at competitive prices.
To get decent prices, you need to be prepared to bargain a bit. Usually the prices initially offered are around double what the vendor will accept if you bargain hard. Even basic bargaining (“Can I have a better price?”) will get you 20-30% off from many vendors. Bargaining is not just acceptable, but expected at these street stalls.
Towards the top end of Chiang Mai night market near Chang Khlan Road on the left side is an enclosed section of the night bazaar known as the Kalare Night Bazaar which, as well as having many more market stalls to explore, offers a great range of casual bars and sit down restaurants where you can get a reasonably priced meal and watch the passing parade go by. On our last visit we noticed that one or two large restaurants seem to have taken over in this area and it’s not as competitive as it used to be, but it’s still a great place to eat.
Do yourself a big favour and look out for the lady making banana roti outside McDonalds! These are the most delicious banana roti we had anywhere in Thailand, smothered liberally in condensed milk and sprinkled with sugar, eaten with a toothpick (kindly provided). Not to be missed! Check it out in the video below:
Places to stay near the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
Because it’s such a big central focus of night life in Chiang Mai, some of the best places to stay are around this area. TripAdvisor has a nice reviewed list of the top hotels close to the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar.