Charming Chiang Mai: A Trip To The Sunday Night Market

With its bustling crowds, eclectic vendors, and lively entertainment, the Sunday Night Market in Chiang Mai offers an exclusive experience that captures the essence of this vibrant city. Whether you’re a visitor or a Thai resident, the Sunday Night Market is a must-see destination that will leave you with lasting memories. But what makes this frolicsome market the place to be?

This market has long been a center of commerce, socializing, and creativity, dating back to the 14th century when the Lanna Kingdom ruled the city. Since then, from handmade coconut bowls, wooden carvings, and necklaces to delicious Thai food, street performances, and more, it has evolved over time into a showcase of local arts and crafts, reflecting the diverse talents of the city’s artisans.

Chiang Mai Sunday Market Walking Street

The market has also been a source of empowerment for many local communities, particularly women and ethnic minorities. And today continues to embody the spirit of Chiang Mai‘s past and present.

Immerse yourself in the local flavors and vibrant atmosphere of the Chiang Mai Gate Market, a must-visit destination for an authentic taste of the city’s rich culinary and cultural heritage.

The Sunday Night Market (Google Map) is nestled in the heart of Chiang Mai’s old city, along Ratchadamnoen Road and its side streets. Starting at Tha Phae Gate, the market stretches for about a kilometer (about half a mile) until Wat Phra Singh, one of the city’s most revered temples, and is open every Sunday from 4 pm until midnight, come rain or shine. Read on as this guide journeys through the market’s best highlights.

Discover The Magic: A Preview Of What Awaits At The Market

As you enter the market from Tha Phae Gate (Google Map), you will be greeted by a festive atmosphere and a vivacious vibe. The market is buzzing with people of all ages and backgrounds, browsing through the stalls, bargaining with the vendors, and enjoying the sights and sounds. You will feel the vigor and excitement of this lively event as you walk along the street.

  • The market offers various stalls and vendors, selling everything from clothing, accessories, souvenirs, home decor, art, antiques, books, and more. You will find unique and handmade items that reflect the culture and creativity of Chiang Mai and its surrounding areas.
  • You will also occasionally discover products from different ethnic groups, such as the Hmong, Karen, Lisu, and Akha, who bring their traditional crafts and textiles to the market.
  • The market is not only a place to shop but also a place to eat, drink, and have fun. You will find a mouthwatering array of food stalls and vendors offering delicious Thai dishes, snacks, desserts, and drinks. The market is also a place to enjoy entertainment and culture.
  • You will occasionally see various street performers and musicians along the way, showcasing their talents and skills. Depending on the time and season, you may find singers, dancers, magicians, puppeteers, acrobats, fire spinners, and live music entertainment.

Ready to dive deeper into the marvels of the market? Let’s explore the treasures waiting for you in more detail.

The Pulse Of Chiang Mai's Sunday Night Market Vibe

One of the fascinating aspects of the market is the vibe that it creates. It is not just a place to shop and eat but also a place to feel and experience the culture and spirit of Chiang Mai.

The Sunday Night Market in Chiang Mai is a melting pot of characters from different backgrounds, ages, and walks of life. You will see locals and tourists (from all over) mingling together, enjoying the market’s offerings and each other’s company. You will even see people from different Thai ethnic groups who bring their colorful costumes and distinctive crafts to the market, including:

  • The Hmong, originally from southern China and northern Vietnam, are known for their vibrant clothing and intricate embroidery.
  • The Karen, who originate from Myanmar and Thailand, are recognized for their necks adorned with brass rings and their weaving skills.
  • The Lisu, from southwestern China and northern Thailand, are famous for their bright costumes and silver ornaments.
  • The Akha from Tibet and Yunnan have their own language, culture, and traditions. They are recognized for their distinctive headdresses and jewelry.

Even though there may be various ethnic groups, you can’t help but appreciate the sense of welcoming community and rich diversity with a touch of Thai culture.

Note: The appearance of each group and stall may be seasonal and may not trade at every market event.

The market is also a showcase of creativity and talent – especially with some having the most fantastic stall theme. You will also see various street performers and musicians along the way, showcasing their skills and entertaining the crowds encouraging an element of fun and excitement to the market’s vibe.

Explore The Market's Vendors

One of the market’s main attractions is the variety and quality of the stalls and vendors. The market offers a wide range of trade, from handicrafts to clothing, accessories, artwork, and souvenirs. Each offers something unique for everyone and for almost every occasion.

The stalls and vendors are run mainly by locals, who make their products by hand or source them from nearby areas. They are friendly and helpful and will gladly tell you more about their products and how they are made and are also open to bargaining if you are respectful and reasonable.

The market is a great place to find unique and authentic items that reflect the culture and creativity of Chiang Mai and its surrounding areas. With that in mind, the following are some of the types of stalls and vendors that you can expect to see at the market.

Crafting The Magic: Exploring Handicrafts At The Market

Some of the most popular types of stalls at the market are handicrafts. You will find a wide range of handcrafted items that showcase the skills and talents of the local artisans.

You will find items such as:

  • Coconut bowls – being carved, polished, and painted with various designs; they are eco-friendly and durable and can be used for food or serving snacks, or as decorative pieces.
  • Wooden carvings – shaped into various forms, such as animals, flowers, Buddha statues, and more- are intricately detailed, finely crafted, and can be used as ornaments or gifts.
  • Soap carvings – made from soap that have been sculpted into various shapes, such as flowers, fruits, animals, and more. They are colorful and fragrant and can be used as soap or decorative pieces.
  • Necklaces and key rings – personalized items made from metal or wood engraved with your name or initials. They are stylish and unique and can be used as accessories or souvenirs.

These are just but a few of the hundreds of unique handcrafts available. Things like musical instruments, animal dolls, and much more await you there.

Clothing And Accessories: Dressing Up Your Look And Style

This is where most of Chiang Mai’s culture is illuminated –  the clothing and accessories stalls. You will find various clothing, fabrics, and accessories that suit different tastes and preferences.

From the many vast, diverse cultural and attractive stalls, you can find things like:

  • Eyecatching T-shirts: Whether you’re looking for a funky souvenir or a stylish addition to your attire, the market offers an array of T-shirts that showcase the charm and spirit of Chiang Mai. They are comfortable and casual tees that are perfect for anybody who wants to take a piece of the city’s vibe with them. They are often printed with various eye-catching designs, such as logos, slogans, images, and cartoons.
  • Trendy scarves: From elegant silk wraps to cozy woolen knits, the market’s selection of scarves will keep you warm and fashionable during your stay in Chiang Mai. Choose from a variety of patterns, colors, fabrics, and styles that reflect the local culture and creativity. Wear them around your neck or as a head wrap to add a touch of charm and personality to your look.
  • Decorated bags:  Whether you need a practical tote for carrying your souvenirs or a trendy backpack for exploring the city, the market has got you covered with its range of bags! They can be made from many materials, such as cotton, leather, hemp, silk, or recycled materials; these bags combine functionality with style. You’ll find a variety of shapes, sizes, designs, and functions to suit your needs and taste.
  • Comfy Hats: Stay cool and fashionable under the Chiang Mai sun with a stylish hat from the market. From classic straw hats to trendy bamboo caps, the market offers a variety of headwear made from different materials and in various shapes, sizes, designs, and styles. Add a touch of flair to your get-up with a hat that matches your personality!

Discover an endless array of treasures at the Sunday Night Market. Don’t miss out on this vibrant marketplace’s exciting and colorful attire offerings! From decorated camera straps to wallets and more fashionable casual wear for all seasons, each finely decorated pop-up store holds something unique and special just waiting to be found.

Take A Piece Of Chiang Mai Home With Art And Souvenirs

Even though most of The Sunday Night Market‘s goods mentioned above embody its culture and expressive art, note that many more pieces would catch an artistic eye. You will find various artwork and souvenirs suitable for different tastes and purposes. Even though there are almost endless amounts to this, some of the most notable artworks created are:
  • Henna tattoos: Get a taste of local art with these temporary tattoos made by professional artists. Henna tattoos are made from the natural henna paste and can last up to two weeks. They come in various designs, including flowers, animals, symbols, and words.
  • Painting stalls: Immerse yourself in the local art scene with stalls selling paintings of all sizes, styles, and subjects. You can even watch the artists create their masterpieces live and be amazed by their swift yet expert skills and techniques. Whether you’re into landscapes, portraits, abstracts, or custom-made art, you’ll indeed find something you love or even develop a passion for something new.
  • Handmade jewelry: Adorn yourself with beautiful and unique jewelry made by local artisans. From beaded necklaces to silver rings, there is an array of styles and designs, plus you’ll be supporting local artists and taking home a one-of-a-kind piece that will always remind you of your travels.
  • Customized jewelry: Beautify yourself even more with unique and personalized jewelry made by local artisans. You’ll find various styles and materials, from delicate silver rings to intricate beaded bracelets. You can even watch the artisans craft your jewelry on-site and witness their impressive craftsmanship.
But wait, there’s more! Insanely talented glass artists can make you almost anything, from roosters to glass bowl pipes, flowers, unicorns, and much more, as often, many artists bring something new with them.

Savor the Flavor: Exploring The Local Street Food Scene

Saving the best for lastthe food scene is among some of the best attractions found at The Sunday Night Market, Chiang Mai. There is truly nothing like it, and with the surprising space the market has for stalls to set up, there is often never a duplicated stall offering the same food, making space for a more diverse selection of tasty and unique treats.

And to top that up, the market has been around for many years, so you can be sure that they have fine-tuned the tastes of their popular dishes. You may even see stall owners often buying from each other to savor the expertise each has to offer. With that in mind, the following is just a taste of the gastronomical adventure your tastebuds could experience.

Thai-riffic Delights: Must-Try Dishes

The market offers many dishes to satisfy your taste buds and stomach. You will find dishes from various regions and cuisines of Thailand and some international options, and find spicy, sweet, sour, salty, or a combination of all dishes.

Many dishes are served on skewers, making them easy to eat while walking around the market. At the same time, many vendors also offer dishes served in bowls, plates, banana leaves, and polystyrene packaging. What’s also great is that different dietary preferences and restrictions, like vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free, are also available.

The following are a few of the many tasty dishes that you must try at the market:

  • Traditional pasta dishes: Fresh noodles, vegetables, meat, seafood, and sauces are used to create delicious pasta dishes such as pad thai, khao soi, or pad see ew.
  • Delicious skewers: Skewers of chicken, pork, beef, lamb, squid, shrimp, fish balls, vegetables, and fruits, served with various sauces and dips such as chili, tamarind, or satay.
  • Full-squid: Whole squid grilled to perfection and served with various types of sauces and dips such as lime, garlic, or soy.
  • Shrimp cakes: Minced shrimp mixed with flour and seasonings shaped like doughnuts, deep-fried until golden and crispy, and served with sweet chili sauce.
  • Freshly skewered potato: Thin-spiraled potatoes skewered on a stick and deep-fried until crispy and golden. Served with a range of mouthwatering sauces such as cheese, barbecue, or ketchup, and pork crackling on the side.
  • Grilled dumplings: They are filled with various ingredients such as pork, chicken, shrimp, or vegetables and grilled until slightly charred and crispy and are served with a soy-vinegar sauce.
  • Meat galore stalls: These stalls sell various types of meat, such as sausage, chicken, pork, beef, and more, cooked on the spot and served with various types of sauces and dips.
  • French-fried chips: Served with traditional spices and sauces such as salt, paprika, or cheese.
  • Crumbed and fried seafood and chicken: Pieces of seafood or chicken coated with breadcrumbs and deep-fried until crunchy and juicy and often served with a selection of sauces.
  • Creative Thai salad dishes: Made from fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, and meat or seafood, dressed with various types of sauces and dressings. Dishes such as Som Tam, Yam Woon Sen, or Larb.
  • Creative Thai-style sushi: You will often find sushi rolls made with sticky rice, seaweed, and various toppings such as salmon, squid, tuna, crab stick, avocado, cream cheese, or mango.
  • Grilled BBQ ribs: You may find yourself drifting towards the aroma of grilled BBQ ribs, where you will find the ribs marinated with a special sauce and grilled until tender and succulent. Served with barbecue sauce and optional large pork steaks (also sold separately).
  • Chicken skewers: Skewers of chicken grilled and finished with a Thai peanut satay sauce.
  • Tasty and generously filled spring rolls: Spring rolls filled with various ingredients such as vegetables, noodles, meat, or banana, deep-fried until crispy and golden, and served with sweet chili sauce.

These are just some of the many dishes you can find at the market, and many more dishes that you can try, such as Khao Kha Moo (braised pork leg with rice), Pad Kra Pao (stir-fried basil with meat), Khao Soi (curry noodles), and more come and go. Keep in mind that some offerings may not always appear at every night market, but be sure that something just as tasty will take its place.

Sweet And Savoury: Desserts And Drinks

For those with a sweet tooth, the Sunday night market in Chiang Mai is a paradise of traditional Thai desserts and drinks. You’ll find an array of flavors that range from sweet to savory, all made from locally sourced ingredients and based on time-tested recipes. Something suits every taste, from the creamy and refreshing to the indulgently rich.

The following is only a teaser of what more awaits:

  • Indulge in homemade cake, cinnamon rolls, Banana tarts, and an array of other homemade desserts that are both delectable and freshly made.
  • Refresh yourself with various freshly derived juices, including orange, passionfruit, and many more. For a healthy yet tasty treat, don’t miss the avocado smoothies blended with variations of coconut milk, yogurt, milk and honey, and passionfruit fruit. Some stores also offer unique drinks blended with homemade syrups that may rival expert mixologists, while slushies are also popular.
  • Try flavored popcorn or pancake skewers filled with your favorite treats, guaranteed to satisfy your taste buds.

With so many options, any sweet-tooth enthusiast will feel right at home in the Sunday night market. So why not indulge in some traditional Thai sweets and drinks while immersing yourself in the market’s vibrant atmosphere? After all, life is uncertain, but dessert is always a good idea!

Sunday Night Market: Tips To Make The Most Of Your Visit

Visiting a bustling night market like Chiang Mai’s Sunday Night Market can be a gratifying experience, but it can also be overwhelming if you’re unsure how to approach it.

With so many vendors, food stalls, and entertainment options to choose from, it’s essential to have a few helpful tips & tricks up your sleeve to make the most of your visit. Here are a few key things to keep in mind when preparing for your trip to the Sunday Night Market:

  • Bring a backpack or a reusable bag to carry your purchases

You will find many tempting items to buy at the market, from coconut bowls and wood-carved elephants to personalized necklaces and soap flowers. A backpack or a bag will make it easier for you to carry them around and avoid using plastic bags.

  • Plan your visit according to your preferences

The market starts at 4 pm and ends around midnight, but the peak hours are between 7 pm and 10 pm. If you want to avoid crowds and have more space to browse, you should go earlier in the evening. If you want to experience the vibrant atmosphere and see more entertainment, you should go later in the night.

  • Try different kinds of food and drinks

The market is a paradise for food lovers, as you can find a variety of dishes and snacks from different regions of Thailand and beyond. You can sample seafood and meat skewers, papaya salad, noodles, dim sum, sticky mango rice, fresh fruit smoothies, and more. You can also buy ice-cold beers from nearby convenience stores if you need to cool down.

  • Bargain politely but firmly

The prices at the market are usually reasonable, but you can still attempt to negotiate a lower price if you buy more than one item or if you think the seller is asking too much. However, it would be best always to be polite and respectful when bargaining and not offer a price that is too low or insulting. A smile and a friendly attitude can go a long way in getting a good deal!

  • Have fun and enjoy the experience

The Sunday Night Market is not just a market vibe but also a place to have fun and immerse yourself in the local culture. You can watch talented musicians, dancers, and artists perform on the streets or join them if you feel like it, and also treat yourself to a relaxing massage or a fish pedicure after a long day of walking. The market is a great way to end your weekend in Chiang Mai with a bang!


If you want an unforgettable experience in Chiang Mai, you should not miss the Sunday Night Market. It is more than just a market; it is a celebration of life and a reflection of the spirit of Chiang Mai. It is a place that will leave you enchanted and inspired and make you want to come back again and again! So if you ever put The Sunday Night Market, Chiang Mai, on your to-do list, you are in for a treat!


The Sunday Night Market in Chiang Mai typically operates from 4 pm to midnight, although some vendors may set up earlier or close later. It is open every Sunday, rain or shine.

The Sunday Night Market is located in the heart of Chiang Mai’s Old City, along Ratchadamnoen Road. To get there using public transportation, you can take a red songthaew (shared taxi) from various parts of the city or a tuk-tuk. Just let the driver know you want to go to the Sunday Night Market, and they will drop you off nearby.

There are no entrance fees or costs to visit the Sunday Night Market. However, you will need to bring money for shopping, eating, and transportation to and from the market.

At the Sunday Night Market, you’ll find a variety of delicious local dishes and snacks, such as Khao Soi (Northern Thai curry noodles), Sai Ua (Chiang Mai sausage), Som Tam Thai (green papaya salad with peanuts), and Mango Sticky Rice. Don’t forget to try Chiang Mai’s famous street food dessert, Roti, which comes in a variety of flavors.

The Sunday Night Market is an excellent place to find unique and locally-made souvenirs, including handmade jewelry, traditional Thai clothing, silk scarves, wood carvings, and hand-painted umbrellas. You can also find unique home décor items, handmade soaps, and locally-grown tea and coffee.

The Sunday Night Market often features cultural performances and live music events, showcasing traditional Thai dance, music, and arts. Keep an eye out for impromptu performances as you wander through the market, and don’t forget to check the schedule for any special events happening during your visit.

The Sunday Night Market can be crowded and somewhat disorienting. To navigate the market, it is best to start at one end of Ratchadamnoen Road and make your way down the street, exploring the various side alleys and stalls as you go. You can use landmarks like the Tha Pae Gate or the Three Kings Monument to help orient yourself if needed.

While some vendors at the Sunday Night Market may accept credit cards, it is generally better to bring cash in Thai baht, as many stalls prefer cash transactions. Additionally, carrying cash will make it easier to negotiate prices with vendors.

Haggling is a common practice at the Sunday Night Market, and many vendors expect it. To haggle effectively, start by offering a price lower than what you’re willing to pay, then work your way up gradually. Remember to remain friendly and polite during the process, as this will often lead to better results.

To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience at the Sunday Night Market, keep these safety tips in mind: be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings, as pickpocketing can occur in crowded areas; stay hydrated, as the heat and humidity can be intense; and be cautious when crossing streets or navigating through the bustling market to avoid accidents with motorbikes or other pedestrians.

There are several attractions and points of interest near the Sunday Night Market that are worth visiting, including the Tha Pae Gate, the Three Kings Monument, Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang, and the Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Center. You might also consider exploring the vibrant Warorot Market, which offers a more local shopping experience, or relaxing at a nearby café or massage parlor after a long day of browsing the market.

Explore our pricing options for renting automatic scooters, maxi-scooters, semi-automatic motorbikes, and manual-gear motorcycles in Chiang Mai by visiting our Bike Rental Rates page.

If you’d rather journey by car, don’t miss our guide on how to save up to 50% on rental car costs in Chiang Mai.

For a comprehensive collection of our travel guides, check out our Northern Thailand Routes and Travel Notes section.

Should you come across any inaccuracies in the text or have valuable information to contribute for our readers, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Cat Motors Team

Was this post useful for you?

You can rate it by clicking on a star

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *