Have you recently booked your very first trip to Chiang Mai? Do you fancy yourself as something of a shopper and make it a point to always check out local markets and shops while on vacation? If so then Chiang Mai is sure to put a giant smile on your face, as it is often referred to as a shopper’s paradise. With that said, the shopping experience in Chiang Mai will be much different than what you’re used to at home, and it even differs from the shopping in Bangkok, so there are some tips and advice worth taking note of to ensure you get the best deals possible.
Don’t Expect Designer Labels
The first thing you’ll want to do is set your expectations properly. Chiang Mai isn’t like Bangkok where you can find all the top designers in the various markets. Instead, the focus in Chiang Mai is on unique and handmade crafts. It’s the kind of items you can purchase in Chiang Mai, take home, and never see duplicates of. What’s even more incredible is that often you can watch these local artisans make the craft right before your eyes.
Open Air Markets Are the Norm
As far as what type of shopping facilities you’ll be in for, it is mainly open-air markets. There are also four-night markets that tend to be very popular and busy. Because each market has its own set hours and days of operation, you always want to check ahead before heading out to one.
Some of the more popular markets include Chiang Mai Walking Street, Bor Sang Village, Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, and Warorot Market.
Go Ahead and Bargain
While there are markets where the prices are set and there is no room for bargaining, in general, the markets in Chiang Mai are open to bargaining and haggling. It’s rare that the price you are first given is the set price, so go ahead and try to wiggle with the price a bit.
Be Sure to Explore More than Just the Shopping
As great as the shopping is here in Chiang Mai, travelers would be remiss to not check out the many sights and attractions that also make up the city. Explore such things as Chiang Mai Old City, which is dubbed a “living museum” and filled with historic buildings, temples, walls that are now crumbling, old style shops, and the entire thing is surrounded by a moat.
Then there is Doi Inthanon National Park, which sits 2,565 meters above sea leave and provides an incredible view. It’s also home to more than 362 different species of birds, making for an amazing adventure.
And speaking of animals, for a unique and memorable experience, be sure to visit the Chiang Mai Elephant Conservation Center, which offers a half-day tour with English-speaking guides. You can even help bathe and feed these gentle creatures.
Return Home with Some Spectacular Finds
These tips will help ensure that you return home with some fabulous and unique finds.