Shopping is an inseparable part of any kind of traveling, may it be just a day’s trip to the next city or weekend’s trip to other states within your country. This is the one itinerary which is common with every type of traveler as well. Then how can it be missed when you travel out of your own country?
Chiang Rai is one such place that is definitely worth your money and time. Some even say that Shopping in Chiang Rai is better than in any other city in Thailand, as you get similar goods at a much reasonable price.
Chiang Rai is a beautiful city with a laid back attitude. Its mountainous terrains and tropical weather make it an ideal destination for a relaxing family vacation. The mountain slopes of Chiang Rai still houses some of its indigenous tribes and is also a perfect place for coffee and tea plantations. And hence coffee, tea, traditional handicraft items, spices are few of the must things to buy in Chiang Rai. Also, Chiang Rai’s waterfalls are something worth to watch.
Shopping scene at Chiang Rai is not as flamboyant as Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket or any other big cities for that matter. However, given that tourism is catching up at an exponential rate, night markets, walking streets, shopping complexes, and many other things are also coming up in Chiang Rai real soon.
Below are a few of the most popular places to shop in Chiang Rai.
Grab some extra bags, sunglasses and put on some comfortable shoes and you are all set!
1. Chiang Rai Night Bazaar:
The concepts of Night Bazaars are extremely famous in the whole of Thailand, and Chiang Rai is catching up with all speed. Located close to Chiang Rai Bus Station, Chiang Rai Night Bazaar can be called the cultural ambassador of the Lanna Dynasty. It showcases a variety of crafts and souvenirs of Lanna from Lue, Lowland Thais, and Chiang Rai hill tribes such as carpets, curtains, scarves, silk, bags, jewelry, and many more.
This is the first Chiang Rai Market which everyone will suggest for you to go as you can experience it all in one place. This market is a one-stop-shop for everything under the sun. From wood carving, marble carving to painting, nail painting, and traditional Thai massage, you can experience it all.
It is one of the best Night markets in Chiang Rai where you can relish a variety of Thai delights and also watch the artists perform live in front of you. There are a whole lot of restaurants and pubs as well, serving some great food and booze.
Location: Wiang, Mueang Chiang Rai District
Timings: 6 am to 11 pm on all days.
2. Central Plaza Chiang Rai:
This is one of the first Malls which were opened as part of expanding the Chiang Rai Shopping horizon. One of its kind Eco-Friendly shopping complex in Chiang Rai, this place houses more than 280 shops. Ranging from retail clothing shops to factory outlets and boutiques, this shopping complex has it all.
To make your shopping experience complete, they also have a food court serving all possible cuisines from Thai traditional to Chinese, continental, and even the ever-favorite Mc Donald’s. The layout is extremely well planned and it vows to maintain and preserve the Northern Thai tradition “Lanna” cultural lifestyle.
Location: 13 99/9 Phahonyothin Rd, Mueang Chiang Rai District
Timings: Mon – Fri 11am. – 9pm. and Sat – Sun 10am. – 09pm.
3. Saturday Night Walking Street:
The best market to go to on a weekend!
Saturday Night Walking Street should definitely be on a person’s Chiang Rai’s Shopping areas list. Though not very crowded, this is one place where people go for a leisure shopping experience.
Here you can find handcrafted Thai items that you can buy as a souvenir for your folks back home. You will be able to find some of the most authentic and best artistic works from local Thai Artisans which will be displayed in the stalls. This will also be one of the ways to help and encourage their work.
Needless to add, people also throng this market for its delicious Thai food.
Don’t miss it!
Location: Suk Sathit, Tambon Wiang, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Rai
Timings: 6 pm to 11 pm on Saturdays
4. Kad Luang:
Rightly known as the Big Wet Market, Kad Luang is a happening night bazaar of Chiang Rai. This market has two shades to it. When the market opens it is very similar to any other day-market but once the sun sets, the fun and the entertaining side of the market rises.
This Chiang Rai Shopping area is a heaven for epicures. Most of the crowd is here for its food stalls which serves them some of the most mouth-watering Thai cuisines. This market is also popular for its variety of fresh fruit stalls catering to everybody’s favorites.
In essence, stalls selling the local handmade goods, shops selling fresh produce, and food stalls are the major attractions in this Chiang Rai Shopping Night Market.
Location: Chang Phueak, Mueang Chiang Mai District
Timings: 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm on all days
5. Walking Street Chiang Rai:
1.5 km stretch of Thanalai Road, one of the liveliest streets of Chiang Rai. This street is the Walking Street of Chiang Rai. This is a perfect place to observe and mingle with some Thai people and get to know about their traditions and daily life more.
This place is extremely famous for its shopping scenes. There is a myriad of options of things to buy in Chiang Rai like Thai silk, hand-printed materials, handcrafted goods, and a whole lot more of interesting things that will keep you engaged.
To make this market even more interesting and lively, there is a mini-stage in the center of the walking street where local artists perform live folk musical concerts, Thai dance shows, and other performances.
Another major attraction of this market is its Northern Thai food stalls. The aroma and the taste are to die for. They even house some Thai spa parlors where you can relax.
Location: Thanalai, Tambon Wiang, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Rai, Chang Wat
Timings: 7:00 pm to 12:00 am on Sundays only.
6. Doi Chang Coffee House:
One of the best coffee shops in Chiang Rai, Doi Chang Coffee House is named after a mountain in Chiang Rai which is a producer of top quality of Arabic Coffee beans.
This coffee shop also sells some of the finest coffee beans in the city. And these coffee beans are cultivated at about 1,200 meters above sea level on the Doi Chang Mountain.
The beans are organically grown, hand-harvested, and processed according to the full wet method. You can choose from a range of roasted premium beans to single-origin Peaberry, and many more such supreme quality ones.
Among the best things to buy in Chiang Rai, this would really be a great choice for all the coffee lovers out there!
Location: Banpaprakan Road, immediately west of the Clock Tower
Timings: 7 am to 9 pm
7. Hill-Tribe Museum Souvenir Shop:
Chiang Rai is a beautiful and peaceful hilly region where many hill tribes reside even today. Each of them has its own traditional and cultural values and hence their handicrafts are also extremely unique. These tribes are well known for their embroidery, in particular.
This shop mainly concentrates on publicizing such unique work and gaining some income for these tribes. They sell the goods with a higher price on them because the proceedings which they get from these go directly to support Chiang Rai’s ethnic hill-tribe development activities.
This is one of the best Chiang Rai Shopping places as you will find authentic Yao, Lisu, Mhong and Akha bags, wallets, placemats, bed covers, pillowcases, and even leggings. Besides tribal crafts, the shop also has a range of Lanna crafts, such as Tung decorative flags, northern folk music CDs, and books about these tribes.
Location: Thanalai, Mueang Chiang Rai District
Timings: Weekdays – 8:30am to 6pm ; Weekends – 10am to 6pm
Chiang Rai is the right place to buy some beautiful souvenirs for your family and friends back home. The things you get here are authentic and of high quality. However, one should also be careful of not getting cheated.
Don’t hesitate and shop as much as you like from these shops and markets as they are really worth it!