Shopping in Chiang Rai
Night Markets in the Mountains
Thailand’s northernmost province of Chiang Rai borders Burma and Laos along the river Kok. The mountainous region is a melting pot of ethnic cultures, some of which have existed in the region since the 7th century. Once a centre of the opium trade in the area, it now trades the vibrant and exotic products of the many native cultures.
After you have visited the hill tribes, immersed yourself in the traditions and daily work of the villages, and enjoyed the beautiful views on offer at the mountain tops, Chiang Rai city is the perfect place to spend the evening shopping. After the sun goes down the streets are congested with people heading out towards the night markets of Chiang Rai. The plethora of cheap goods at bazaars and traditional artisan shops present the ideal one-stop-shop to pick up your souvenirs. Most of the shops open after 7 pm and sell goods that can be bargained for an interesting deal – although several of the local handicraft stores are fixed price stores. With a variety that ranges from watches to brass work of the tribesmen, there are plenty of options for any kind of visitor.
Even if you do not find the ultimate reminder of your time in Thailand, one thing you will not be while walking the night streets is hungry. A buffet fit for any king is spread out by the street food vendors. Go ahead and take a bite of the fried insects, or sit on the chairs placed outside and ‘people – watch’ while enjoying Northern Thai dishes that will not take make much of an effect on your pocket. For those not so adventurous pubs and restaurants serving ‘international’ food are open as well. If it’s a weekend you’re visiting in, then don’t miss the ‘walking street’ – the stretch of shops that pop up after dark along Thanalai Road every Saturday. All things Chiang Rai, from local coffee and fruits to hill tribe handicrafts to watches can be purchased at these night bazaars.
To enjoy the serene beauty of these Thai mountains, leave the crowds behind for a stay at a Hotel Chiang Rai. The Golden Triangle is the point where Thailand, Laos, and Burma meet over the Mekong River, and is only a short trip from Chiang Rai. Hotels in this tropical hillside offer great access to exploring the region. The Anantara Golden Triangle Thailand is one of the Chiang Rai hotels which allows travellers to indulge in the calm surroundings in style and engage in adventurous journeys discovering this rural area of Thailand.
Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.