Getting a (Night)life – Chiang Mai, Thailand

Getting a (Night)life – Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar: This maze of vendor stalls along Chang Klan Road is Chiang Mai’s main attraction. Shoppers flock here from 6 p.m.-midnight to browse through six blocks of the best merchandise that Thailand has to offer. Of special interest is Thai silk – made locally in Chiang Mai – that makes for great ties, robes and shirts. This is the best place to work on your bargaining skills because there is such an overabundance of goods. If you hit stalls just before they close, vendors often will lower the price considerably because they want to make one more sale before heading home. Although the selection here is similar to Bangkok markets, don’t expect to find the same thing (or same great quality) in both – take advantage of the bazaar while you’re there!

Would you rather eat (and drink) than shop? Yeah, right. But here are some popular nightspots to check out:

Galare Food Center (89/2 Chang Klan Road): I haven’t tried this spot personally, but from reviews, it certainly sounds like fun. The center boasts two stages, which rotate between traditional dancing, cross-dressing cabaret shows and Thai boxing.

Antique House (71 Charoen Prathet Road): This restaurant throws in a twist – instead of just getting your leftovers to go, you can take away your chair, too. Much of the furniture is for sale, and the food is reasonably priced at 40-150 baht. Open daily 11 a.m.-midnight.

San Pa Khoi Market: This is a popular food market, although it’s farther from the city. (It’s midway between the Ping River and Chiang Mai Railway Station on Charoen Muang Road.) Those willing to walk (or take a tuk-tuk) can enjoy the only curry stand in the city that stays open until 5 a.m. and is extremely popular with the night owls.

Let’s Go: Thailand mentions that although Moon Muang Road in the old city is host to numerous bars that foreigners frequent, a trip to Charoen Rat Road far north of the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is worth the tuk-tuk fare. The bars here stay open later than 1:30 a.m. and offer plenty of karaoke, disco and drinks.