If one is planning to visit Chiang Mai, it is better to include a Sunday in the plan. Because Sunday is the day when in the afternoon, the road leading from Tha Pae Gate to Wat Phra Singh turns into a festival ground. It becomes a walking street because vehicular traffic is stopped on this road. The over a kilometre stretch and many of the Soi’s on the way turn into a colorful street market of souvenirs, food, massage, music and other entertainment. Everything continues well into the night. And because of that it is also called as Sunday Night Market. Though the market starts in the afternoon, it comes to life fully after sundown only. Cheapest foot massage in Thailand, at 150 THB an hour can be enjoyed here out in the open. This place on a Sunday evening attracts almost every tourist in Chiang Mai thus making the regular Night Bazaar of Chiang Mai look deserted.
Where To Begin
Enter from the Tha Pae Gate side. At sundown, the ground outside the gate becomes the venue for the musical performance by an Army band. I guess one can save this place for later to rest for a few minutes after taking a tour of the market inside. As one enters the gate and steps on to Ratchadamnoen Road, the fun begins.
Music On The Street
There are several musical troupes like this performing bang in the middle of the road. Some of them are physically challenged but do succeed in creating a festive atmosphere for the market.
Street Food Everywhere
There is street food everywhere, made to look touristy for the guests. Its mostly meat ‘n’ fish though because I could not find any stall selling vegetarian food in particular.
Shop To Your Heart’s Content
Paintings, books, gifts, small Chinese electronics, toys, garments, shoes, and even gems can be bought here. Its all tempting but it will be wise to bargain a little.
Get A Cheap Foot Massage
Take off your shoes and get a basic foot massage for an hour for just 150 THB. There are massage outlets that give a 30 minute massage for less than a 100 THB here.
To sign off, just a little friendly advice: Buddha statues and other articles related to Lord Buddha should not be bought for decoration. Buddha is not for decoration. Even if you find something in the market with a Buddha image on it, just think if you are buying it for decoration alone? If yes, do not buy it. To make the most of your trip to Chiang Mai, get a hold of Chiang Mai’s Best Tourist Map.