Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

Every evening, the centre of Chiang Mai comes alive with a massive Night Bazaar, and few people visit the city without picking up a few bargains here. In fact, the stalls that are squeezed on to the pavement and in the purpose-built arcades are one of Chiang Mai's biggest attractions.

Here you can pick up everything from antiques to fake Rolex watches, choose from an astonishing variety of handicraft souvenirs, sample the smoothness of the colourful silk on sale everywhere, have a suit measured up, ready for your collection the following evening, browse exquisite Asian silver jewellery or stock up on cheap DVDs.

The Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is considered legendary and certainly one the cheapest places for tourists to shop in Thailand, due its close proximity to the source of products and the lower cost of living in Chiang Mai. It is situated along a three block stretch of Chan Klan road in the heart of the city, within walking distance of most hotels. Clustered around it are many restaurants and other useful services, such as camera shops, travel agents, internet cafés and more. One popular activity is to have your portrait done all dressed up in traditional Thai costume.

The actual Vieng Ping Night Bazaar is the main locus of trade and comprises a two-storey mezzanine arcade where quality antiques, clothing and crafts can be found. Across the road is the Kalare Centre where you can settle your appetite after all the bargaining and haggling. There is an international selection of food to be enjoyed in an open-seated area with entertainment provided by traditional Thai dancers and music - an enchanting experience.

Wandering along the crowded pavements, admiring the beautifully-made handicrafts and seeking out bargains on more contemporary consumer goods is the best way to enjoy the market. Take your time and be patient, but most of all, learn how to bargain! Thai market traders expect it and their opening gambit will always be about twice what you ought to pay. The longer you persist with a 'friendly' argument, the better your final price. However, be aware that these goods are already ridiculously cheap and the vendors earn modest incomes.

The many goods on sale include: colourful Thai fabric, silk, clothing, t-shirts (souvenir and fake name brands), copied sunglasses and watches, luggage, music and DVDs, cheap shoes, handicrafts, silverware, interior décor, wood carved products, gems, antiques, toys, accessories and travel convenience goods.

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