The Night Market

Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck

We did something unprecedented with the Chiang Mai Saturday night market.

We went back again.

And again.

And again.

Hanging Balls

We like markets, for sure, but typically give them the once-over and then move on our way. We aren’t big souvenir shoppers (with no home to put them in!) and are usually so tired of being harassed to purchase that a prolonged stay just isn’t worth it.

But it was so different there, and every Saturday night, without fail, we made our way across town to stroll the long street. We met friends for food, were wooed into doing a little shopping, and just absolutely loved the vibe, characters, colors, the smells, the ease.

(And with that much dedication to a single event, we were able to take lots of footage to bring you this video snapshot of it.)

If you have problems viewing this video, please click here.

We are stingy travelers with our time, and few places we’ve visited have warranted dedicated returns. But we wore a groove up and down that street, ate more gyoza than is probably recommended, and had to buy an extra bag to pack all the high-quality, low-cost presents we procured.

And that is as good of a testament as we can ever give.

New Scarf Chang Mai Night Market

Night Market Chiang Mai

Violin Man Chiang Mai

37 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • January 16 2014

    Love the night markets – fantastic people watching.

    • January 18 2014

      Yes! And dog watching in Chiang Mai. I wish I had gotten video of some of the dolled up puppies we saw!

  • January 16 2014

    I love markets. Those kimonos in the background are so cute!

  • January 16 2014

    Excellent post. We’ve been considering going to Chiang Mai next winter, so it’s great to hear some of the details about the place.

    • January 18 2014

      It makes for a good winter escape, that’s for sure!

  • January 16 2014

    Beautiful scenes you captured. I, too, love night markets!

  • January 16 2014

    Great shots and cute video!

    You just made things a little harder for me. In March I will be visiting Thailand for the first time and was going to leave Chiang Mai in time to get to Bangkok for their world famous weekend market.

    Thoughts on this? Stick around Chiang Mai instead?

    Shaun Robertson recently posted..How I Booked an Around the World Trip for Under $1,600

    • January 18 2014

      I haven’t been to Bangkok so hard to say – BUT I did really want to go there for their weekend market. You should probably do both. πŸ™‚

  • January 16 2014

    Nothing wrong with going back 8-)) Exotic markets like this take hours to explore and check out. Keep traveling! I enjoy your posts.

  • January 16 2014

    People watching is my favorite at night markets. I loved the video!
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..Budget Breakdown: Goodbye Jungle!

  • I always love your videos and this one in particular made me very hungry. Happy to hear you enjoyed it so much! Thanks for sharing.

    Happy travels πŸ™‚
    Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren recently posted..The Savannah Taste Experience – Eating my way through the Hostess City!

    • January 18 2014

      Thanks Lauren! Sorry about the infliction of hunger. πŸ™‚

  • Jan
    January 17 2014

    Great job capturing the market!

    We especially loved the guys lined up playing drums with upside down buckets.
    Jan recently posted..Photo Friday: Fields of Mustard

    • January 18 2014

      Thanks Jan! I wish we had gotten better footage of those guys too. Hope you guys are well!

  • January 17 2014

    That video ROCKS! You guys are so awesome! πŸ˜‰

  • January 18 2014

    We love the markets there too. So vibrant. We have been to Chiang Mai 3 times and we will go again. The lychee festival is really worth going to also. Have fun and a foot massage under the trees
    Contented Traveller recently posted..An etiquette lesson on using the term β€˜mate’ in Australia

    • January 18 2014

      Ohhh, the foot massages! Miss that. πŸ™‚

  • January 18 2014

    Ahhhh! I am always there at the night market. I go there mainly for the for…but I do really like to “window shop” as well, knowing I don’t have the ability to carry these nifty trinkets with me, but maybe one day.

    • January 21 2014

      Being there just before Christmas, it made shopping for presents much easier for us. πŸ™‚

  • January 19 2014

    Nothing better than visiting the local market! I love it and do it every new place I go to. Fascinating night captures.
    Arti recently posted..My Yatra Diary…’s New Blog Look In 2014!

  • January 20 2014

    Actually, I recommend eating ALL the gyoza, always, so no judgment here πŸ˜‰

  • January 20 2014

    One of the things I liked most about the market are the painters that do unbelievable portraits …are they still there?

    • January 21 2014

      Yes, there was some amazing artwork there!

  • January 20 2014

    This is definitely my favourite video of yours so far.
    Ayngelina recently posted..The Year of Focus

  • January 21 2014

    We have lived in Chiang Mai for almost 2 years and have only perused the wares of the Saturday Walking Street once. We’ve inched our way along through the Sunday market, and generally, crave fresh air within about 10 minutes and escape. Perhaps we need to check out the Saturday market again… after the busy tourist season ends in March, though πŸ™‚
    Mindy & Ligeia recently posted..The 30 Little Things We Love About Traveling

    • January 21 2014

      Try going early! It gets nuts after 6 or so, but if you go around 5, all the stands are set up and it is much emptier. πŸ˜‰

  • Diana Edelman
    January 23 2014

    You are far more tolerant than I am!! I just went last weekend and made everyone go super early to skip the crowds. It is way too crowded for me!

  • January 25 2014

    Spent a month in Thailand, but missed Chang Mai. Now I really regret it and must try to get there. Love your photos.

    Thank You

  • January 28 2014

    Few things can compare to good food and people watching. I love places that are full of life (and food, obviously).

  • January 31 2014

    I think there’s no shame in returning to places you really love!

  • January 31 2014

    Beautiful photos of the market… and whew, I give you props for going back.

    I managed to make it nearly two years without going back before Dustin Main dragged me there on my last week in Chiang Mai. It was just as packed as I remember… though, not quite as much of a madhouse as the Sunday Night Market during Yi Peng. Anyway, I ramble, but the point is… great post πŸ™‚

  • February 1 2014

    Great lighting. LOVE markets.

  • February 2 2014

    It must be an awesome market! πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing.

  • Going back to a place multiple times means a lot to me too. Always great to find those surprises in your travels.

  • February 4 2014

    Your opening photograph is beautiful. It is cool when you find a market to revisit happily. We found that in Luang Prabang. Chiang Mai I am sure would be another. I know we would love Chiang Mai which makes me think maybe we should not go. I would want to stay for sure.

  • I used to live right near that night market! I really do miss that city. Beautiful photos !!

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