Before I arrived in Thailand, I considered visiting outdoor markets to be one of my favourite travel activities. Forty-nine days into being here and I can safely say that the country has managed to stamp out that love like an old codger stamps out a cigarette butt on the floor. Yes, Thailand has lots of outdoor markets, but they are pretty much all the same. Someone selling papaya salad, somebody selling pad thai, endless grilled meat on a stick – yawn. By the time I made it to Chiang Mai on this journey, I had pretty much had my fill of these identical street markets, but aware that Chiang Mai’s Sunday Walking Street Market is one of its main attractions, I made the effort to take a wander. I’m pleased that I did, because this is definitely the best market that I visited in the country. As a city boy, it’s pretty easy to win me over with scale, and I was impressed by just how big this market is, and how many people show up on a Sunday to visit. As well as the usual food stalls, there are musicians playing in the streets, endless craft products from hill tribe villages, foot massages to be had on every corner, and even artists who will draw a portrait of you in exchange for a few baht. After visiting so many markets in Thailand, the Chiang Mai Walking Street Market was a great reminder of what a market can be at its best. Here are some, mostly shoddy, photos that I took on my visit.
If you’d like to check out the Chiang Mai Walking Street market for yourself, head to Ratchadamnoen Road. The market takes over the whole street.