Thailand has several street markets, some during the day and others at night. Many of the markets are super close to each other, and all of them are pretty large. It can get overwhelming trying to figure out which market to attend. If you are looking for one with an all-around shopping, eating, and entertainment experience, Wualai Walking Street is the best option.
The Wualai Walking Street is an exciting and lively night market in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. Locals and tourists enjoy the market, and they have everything you could possibly think of within a 1km walk down the Wualai Road, not far from the old city walls. While you might think all markets are the same, you should add Wualai Walking Street to your must-visit list for several reasons.
The Wualai Walking Street Market is often labeled as the best and most famous night market in Chiang Mai. While locals take full advantage of the market, and it is a low tourist traffic area, you will often find tourists who visit the market describe it with awe and appreciation. It takes place weekly, every Saturday night.
The market is a 1 km walk straight down the Wualai Road, a short walk from the old city walls. It takes 1-2 hours to get through the entire street, depending on how many stops you take to shop, eat, and marvel at the live entertainment. You can find everything you would expect in a street market, from regular tourist tat to high quality, authentic northern silverware and more.
The benefit of the Wualai Walking Street Market is that it takes place at night. It starts in the afternoon at 4:00 pm and continues till around 10:30 pm. The reason this is a significant point is that Thailand is incredibly hot. It can get exhausting and difficult if you have to walk through a street market for 1-2 hours in the heat with high humidity.
The vendors start opening up at 4:00 pm. If you visit around 5:00 pm, you can beat the crowds that form at night and still find it cool enough to walk as the sun sets and the day turns to darkness. Most people start coming around 7:00 pm, and that is when it gets super busy.
Many people favor the Wualai Walking Street Market because of its low prices. The market is created and aimed at locals since it is outside the old city walls. Tourists who visit Chiang Mai stay within the city walls to explore. It is noteworthy that over the last couple of years, the Walking Street Market is becoming more popular among those planning Thailand trips.
The market remains one of the most affordable, and you can bargain for specific items. Not only are the things cheap, but the food is also priced pretty low. That means you can enjoy as much as possible within your budget.
Thailand is well known for its delicious street food and various eating options. The Wualai Walking Street Market has every possible Thai snack food you can think of and more. There are sections where you will find a cluster of food stalls and other stands spread throughout the market. Since the market is long and there is much to do, you never have to worry about going without food or drinks.
Wualai Walking Street is one of the few markets in Chiang Mai that provide food court areas. There are sections with small tables and chairs for people to sit down and eat. This makes it an excellent option when you are tired of walking, need a break, or feel famished from all the shopping. You get to shop and dine all in one place.
The food court also offers alcohol which you can consume only in that section. You are not allowed to go through the market with alcohol. But it is available for those who want to enjoy a drink or two.
The clothing and jewelry options are unmatched at Wualai Walking Street. You can find Thailand-style dresses and tops for low prices and purchase a bunch to take home for family and friends. The vendors sell every clothing item you could think of from head to toe. Their jewelry is beautiful and often handmade with fun designs in various shapes and forms.
Handmade crafts are not a new market item anywhere in the world. But the local vendors selling their artwork work hard on making the items themselves. They do everything perfectly and produce the most beautiful pieces, from paintings to windchimes. It is often their only source of income, so they do something unique to all their products.
Another market staple is souvenirs. Wualai Walking Street has the regular tourist tat and other unique, unusual items. From Thailand t-shirts, magnets, and keyrings to lanterns, crafted ornaments, and children’s toys. There is something for everyone’s taste.
Wualai is known as the silver working district of northern Thailand. The road is also known as Silver Street by some because of the many silver shops along the road. The Walking Street Market has stalls with silversmiths actively working on their projects. From silverware to carved sculptures and frameworks, you can purchase various silver items to keep as memorabilia of your visits to Wualai in Chiang Mai.
One of the Walking Street luxuries is the massage chairs lined up at the back of the stalls for buyers to take a moment to relax and enjoy a Thai massage. If your feet get tired, simply stop at one of the massage stations and enjoy a treatment in the middle of an open market street.
While locals also use this opportunity, it is one of the tourists’ favorite options at the Walking Street market. Not only can you get food, drinks, clothing, shoes, jewelry, crafts, and more, but you can also enjoy a traditional Thai foot massage while listening to live entertainment.
The live music is the highlight of the Wualai Walking Street Market. Musicians are playing the guitar and singing through the market. It is not excessively or disturbingly loud. Instead, it is the perfect mix of fun and soothing. The musicians are highly talented, and some of them are down syndrome. It is a wonderful opportunity for them to portray their beautiful skills.
Something that is highly appreciated by all at the Wualai Walking Street Market is that smoking and alcohol are not allowed. Alcohol is served in the food court sections, but you cannot take it further. There are signs throughout the market forbidding smoking and drinking; if caught going against the rules, you will be fined.
Since no smoking and alcohol are allowed, it is one of the best markets to take kids or choose as a Saturday night-out option in Chiang Mai instead of visiting a bar and partying if that is not your scene.
While visiting a busy, crowded market in Thailand and anywhere can undoubtedly add to the genuine experience, it can get pretty overwhelming. The sensory overload at street markets is a lot to handle. The Wualai Walking Street Market is of the lesser crowded and bustling options.
The Sunday Market, right off the street of Wualai Road, is another fantastic market similar to the Walking Street one. If they happened at the same time, they could be joined. If you want to shop more or try more food if you are still in Chiang Mai, you could attend the Sunday Market. But it is jam-packed, filled with people, and super noisy.
Walking Street is a lovely welcomed change compared to the typical touristy markets, and their range of products is no less impressive than any other market in Chiang Mai.
Since Wualai is the silver working district of Chiang Mai, the area also houses one of the most beautiful and unique Buddha temples, Wat Sri Suphan. It is also called the Silver Temple. It is stunning to see the day or night. The entire temple is covered in silver; some parts are pure silver, and others are painted aluminum.
You can visit the temple complex, which joins at the end of Wualai Walking Street, either before or after the market. The temple also holds a Saturday night ceremony with Thai cultural dancing and LED calling attention to the mesmerizing Silver Wat. It coincides with the Walking Street Market and allows people to marvel at to enjoy the local culture to a deeper extent.
Most tourists hesitate to visit Wualai Walking Street because they feel it is far or out of the city bounds – where most visitors stay and explore. But it is a short walk from the city center and just outside the old city walls. But in fact, it’s only a short walk from Wat Phra Singh and Chedi Luang, which are nestled in the center of the old city.
The route of the market is straight. You don’t get confused or consume excess energy trying to navigate your way.
Wualai Walking Street in Chiang Mai is the perfect market to add to your must-visit list in northern Thailand. Enjoy the street food, fun shopping, live entertainment, relaxing Thai massages, and even marvel at the stunning Silver Temple down the road.
Absolutely! The night market and Wualai walking street are two of the most popular attractions in Chiang Mai. Both locations provide an array of interesting sights, sounds, and experiences that you won’t want to miss out on. During the night market, you’ll find whole streets of vendors selling food and goods, as well as people performing local music and entertainment. It’s a great place to grab a bite to eat and practice your bargaining skills. At the Wualai Walking Street, you can explore small craft shops, art galleries, clothing stores and more. Everything from souvenirs to handmade jewelry is available, with many items unique to Northern Thailand. Additionally, the area provides café seating for those who would prefer to relax with a cup of coffee and watch the evening’s street performance. All in all, visiting the night market and Wualai walking street is an exciting and unforgettable experience. Whether you’re looking for authentic food and bargain shopping or just an opportunity to take in the local culture and atmosphere, you’re sure to enjoy every moment.
The top three attractions at the Wualai Saturday Night Market are:
1) Street Performances: Watch local musicians, dancers, and other talented performers put on incredible shows;
2) Shopping: Explore the small shops and vendors to find unique items such as handmade jewelry and souvenirs;
3) Food: Sample one of the many delicious snacks and meals available – from street food to traditional dishes.
If you are traveling in and around Chiang Mai, you can rent a motorbike up to 300cc from our rental shop for your trip. See you soon!
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