If you’re keen to shop where the real Thai people shop, you should plan to head down to the Wararot day market, on the banks of the Ping River in Chiang Mai (almost next door to the Kalare section of the Chiang Mai night bazaar). This is a wet market, so be prepared to see fresh meat of all kinds on display and some sights that might not be the best for the kids, if you know what I mean.

Wararot Day Markets is a great place to pick up Chinese sauces
Wararot Day Markets is a great place to pick up Chinese sauces

To see Wararot Day Markets in full swing you need to get there early in the morning, soon after sunrise. But it’s open all day and closed down when the night bazaar stall holders start to set up. Here you get get all kinds of fresh foods like meat, vegetables, fruit, bakery goods and spices. If you have a scooter, you can park it on the streets opposite the market, but beware of being trapped in by service vehicles and road closures later in the day.

Most people go to Wararot Day Markets for the fresh food and spices
Most people go to Wararot Day Markets for the fresh food and spices

The Wararot Chiang Mai day market also has a dry goods section selling clothes, shoes, cosmetics, jewellery, watches, sunglasses, souvenirs, etc. The prices are a bit keener than at the night market too! Be prepared to spend quite a few hours wandering through the narrow hallways and incredibly well stocked market stalls.

It’s a fairly huge market and well worth visiting, especially if you are shopping for items like suitcases and bags, which are much cheaper here than at the street markets.

Here’s a sample of what you can expect to see at the Wararot Day Markets in Chiang Mai.