A Return to the Chiang Mai Walking Markets

Saturday, 14-02-2014 — Sunday, 15-02-2015.

Days 178 — 179.

A week prior, we took in the Sunday walking market and enjoyed it so much, we decided to visit both the Saturday and  Sunday walking markets this week.

Hitting the Streets

On the way up to the Saturday market, which runs along the southern side of the main town square near the Chiang Mai gate, we walked by Wat That Klang, one of the many small temples peppered throughout Chiang Mai. We don't know anything about it, other than there were a lot of golden Buddha statues placed on its terraced exterior.

Golden Buddhas on Wat That Klang.

Golden Buddhas on Wat That Klang.

The Saturday market had more food stands sprinkled in among the materials vendors than the Sunday market seemed to, so we ate our way down the street as we shopped. These markets sell some fantastic goods, most of it handcrafted.

I did not buy this. I regret it.

I did not buy this. I regret it.

One of the coolest things we saw was a small, hand-held sewing machine for 99 baht. Frankie really wanted one, but it wasn't really something we could see bringing with us from a practicality standpoint.  We also saw some really cool guitars, all made from reclaimed wood that's more than 100 years old, all handmade by one man. These things were stunningly beautiful. If I weren't traveling the world (on a budget) and if I could play the guitar better, I would have bought one of these. By the time we found his stall, it was too dark for good photos, but you can check out his work on the Noi Guitar Facebook Page.

At one of the stalls that sold jewelry, we saw a pair of flying squirrels (or something) frolicking about in a small clay pot. They were some cute little critters.

How many flying squirrels fit in this pot? The answer is two.

How many flying squirrels fit in this pot? The answer is two.

One of the most amazing things about these walking markets is how they the local wats (temples; of which there are many) are integrated right into the experience. Many times, the temples become a food court where you can order from a vendor and then sit right there at Buddha's feet to eat your meal.

A temple turned food court on market day.

A temple turned food court on market day.

On Sunday, we met up with our friend David Bey. Actually he's a friend of a friend, and the mutual friend has never met David in person, so that was kind of funny. But he was a cool dude who's been living the digital nomad lifestyle for some time, most recently in Chiang Mai. He was impressed with all the great, handmade products being sold at walking markets, so, combining that with the act of gifting, he started a little project called Chiang Mai Gift Direct.

For a fee (there are three levels of gifts available—$25, $50, and $100), he will shop the markets of Chiang Mai for you, selecting items that you're interested in and/or fit your personality. As we watched David shop, it was evident he's really thoughtful in selecting items for his gift packages.

The bad news is that he's only going to be in Chiang Mai for two more weeks (he is a digital nomad, after all). So, if you're interested in some really unique items and want a personal, hand-selected gift from the streets of Chiang Mai, bought directly from person who made it, check out Chiang Mai Gift Direct.

Honeycomb on display at the Sunday Walking Market.

Honeycomb on display at the Sunday Walking Market.

At one point, we got talking to David and our friend Victoria (whom we;d met at the Golden Mountain Hostel in Bangkok and just happened to run into here) and the girls were invited to play with some handmade tops that howl when they spin. They could have stayed there all night playing with these neat tops, so we bought two (50 baht each). if you can get them spinning together in sync, they're really loud!

By the time we were done with the Sunday market, the place was closing down. So we said goodbye to David and hailed a tuk tuk back to the apartment (for 100 baht, the cheapest trip back yet).

is a writer of things with a strong adventurous streak. He also drinks coffee.

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A Return to the Chiang Mai Walking Markets
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