Chiang Mai is located in the North of Thailand. Known as the Rose of the North, it is famous for its scenic natural attractions - sweeping mountains, green country, refreshing country air and idyllic flowing rivers. Nature lovers are enamored with Chiang Mai. However, Chiang Mai also has a whole other side to it - a more cosmopolitan side that have enticed many shopping fanatics.
There are two major shopping centres in Chiang Mai. These are located at Airport Plaza and Central Kad Suan Keaw. Visitors will probably find many familiar shops and brands as these shops are catering mainly to foreigners. Shops in such shopping centres tend to sell their products are fixed prices. Some of these products may have been imported and thus led to a mark-up in prices. Therefore, do inspect prices carefully before buying. You may be surprised to know that you can get some items in your home country for much cheaper prices.
Chiang Mai's true shopping lure lies in its street markets. These are stretches and stretched of booths or hastily constructed stalls that sell everything you can think of for very low prices. Of course, hawkers tend to state somewhat inflated prices when you first ask. You must bargain until you reach a low enough price. Most of the time you will be able to get your desired item at a substantially lower price than what was first stated.
One main street market is the Night Bazaar, which is located between Si Donchai Road and Tha Phae Road. While this is made up mostly of stalls along the roadside, Chiang Mai Night Bazaar Building is also located in the centre of this strength. This is a three-story building which sells souvenirs and other local wares. The Night Bazaar is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chiang Mai. It is almost always crowded, even when raining. You are advised to keep your belongings close to you and be aware of pickpockets.
For visitors who are keeping an eye out for cloth, apparel, herbs or flowers, you may want to visit Warorot Market which is lcated between Thapae Road and Chiang Moi Road. This is an outdoor market that also provides a one-of-a-kind experience. Other popular street markets include the Sunday Market, which feature many well-made crafts and the Saturday market, which features mainly silver crafts.
At all these night markets, you will be able to also sample local food delights. These are generally okay to eat, although you may want to avoid eating fruits which may not have been handled in a very hygienic manner.
Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Chiang Mai accommodation and World vacation Rentals