Bangkok’s Must Visit Markets

Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and is a city bursting with markets, street stalls and night bazaars. There are so many iconic markets in the city and always new ones popping up. You can’t visit Bangkok and not sample at least one or two of its markets. They are lively, colourful and vibrant hubs of activity and culture, you won’t be disappointed.

I would always recommend checking online or asking staff at your accommodation the opening times as some markets are open every day and others only open certain days and they can start at different times, so always check before travelling to one. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Bangkok on many occasions both on holiday and with layovers with work. Every time I’m in the city I try and seek out a new market to shop and explore.

Artbox Night Market

Artbox is one of the trendier markets with lots of stalls set out in shipping containers, neon lights, ball pits, live music and street food. It’s definitely a market to visit for the gram pic, as well as having some amazing stalls selling lots of fashion items, vintage wear and handmade creations. It has a slightly more upmarket feel compared to other markets in the city. There’s plenty of seating so if you wanted to grab some food and drinks and make an evening of it, this market is a great place to do just that!

Artbox Thailand

Chang Chui Plane Market

Chang Chui Plane Market is the place to visit if you love wacky art installations, this quirky market has a plane in the centre which has been made into a restaurant and bar. The rest of the area is made up of buildings that have all been created with recycled materials.

The market has an artistic vibe with stalls and boutiques selling handmade creative items and fashion accessories. There are also several small restaurants and stalls serving up food and craft beers, some nights there is live music too. The market is great for families as there are slides, swings and a lot of crazy street art and statues. The market is situated close to the Khao San Road, so it’s definitely a must visit when near the old town. I would recommend exploring Chang Chui Market and then hitting the Khao San Road afterwards.

Chang Chui Plane MarketChang Chui Plane MarketChang Chui Plane Market

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Damnoen Saduak is Thailand’s most famous and popular floating market. Located about one hour from the bustling capital, it’s the place most tourists want to visit, don’t let that put you off though, as it’s a great place to come and experience history and culture and get an insight into a local life. Aim to get to the market early to fully experience it at its busiest and to see it in all its glory.

Personally I would recommend booking onto a morning tour, there are lots of tours available from Bangkok and all pretty reasonably priced, the guide will make sure you don’t miss anything and also provide you with information and facts about the market. Some of the market can feel quite commercialised like many markets in Thailand, however due to the popularity of this market there are tons to explore and food sellers selling a variety of food and fruit which really makes the market colourful.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Khao San Road

You have most likely heard about the famous Khao San Road, it’s the backpackers hub for South East Asia. Yes it’s tacky, touristy and full of stalls selling creepy crawlies to snack on (I never have) it can sometimes get a bad rep. However if you go with an open mind and anticipate the mass commercialisation and manage your expectations it’s a great place to visit. There’s something about the Khao San that always draws people back, myself included.

I love the fact there are people from all over the world and from all walks of life and there is something for everyone along the Khao San Road. I can honestly say I’ve had some of the best nights on the Khao San.

I normally start the night off by grabbing some cheap street food, then browsing the hundreds of stalls and shops to treat myself to another pair of comfy elephant trousers (don’t judge!). After I’ve normally shopped and bought tons of new clothes, and trinkets, I grab a bucket of booze and sit and have a foot and leg massage, then after a massage I hit a few bars and before I know it I’m dancing in the street making friends with everyone and anyone. I’ve never had a bad night along the Khao San and normally stay until the early hours partying before jumping in a tuk-tuk back to my accommodation.

If you want to start the night off eating at restaurant I would suggest going to one of the side streets next to the Khao San Road such as Rambutri Road and some of the quieter lanes for a much calmer dining experience. If your on a tight budget then stick to the food on the Khao San as it’s the cheapest in the city!

Khao San RoadKhao San RoadKhao San Road

Maeklong Railway Market

Maeklong is a traditional Thai market selling fruit, vegetables and homewares. You probably wouldn’t buy anything there to take home with you, however it’s a great place to visit for the local experience. It’s famous for its market but more famous for its location set on train tracks and a few times a day the train passes straight the market with locals having to pull back their produce and canopies. Some stalls that are low to the floor the train just glides straight over missing the produce by a few inches.

It’s incredible to watch, but make sure to be careful as it can be dangerous. Try and go in the morning and grab some breakfast or lunch at the market and browse the stalls and watch the train.

The market is about a one hour drive from Bangkok and you can either book a tour, taxi or you can even take the train from Bangkok that will take you straight through the market and you can get off a few minutes walk away and wander back to explore the market itself.

Maeklong Railway MarketMaeklong Railway Market

MBK Centre

MBK Centre is a huge indoor mall and is well known in Bangkok, it’s next to the upmarket Siam Discovery. MBK offers a huge choice for shoppers, although it’s not quite a market I thought I would include it in this blog as the ground floor is mostly market styles stalls selling clothing and handbags. There are also plenty of places to eat, and as you go up the floors there is plenty of shops and restaurants. It’s a great place to shop especially if your visiting during rainy season or if you prefer shopping with the comfort of air conditioning – MBK is a good indoor option.

Neon Night Market

Neon Night Market is a lively night bazaar with a large array of stalls selling fashion, quirky homewares and has lots of food and drink stalls. There are neon lights everywhere (hence the name) and this market is probably aimed more at the younger crowd, but don’t let that put you off as there is lots to browse around, and the market is centrally located in Pratunam.

Neon Night MarketNeon Night Market

Patpong Night Market

Patpong is a popular night market amongst tourists and is a vibrant and chaotic market set in the built up area of one of Bangkoks most popular nightlife districts. The market is surrounded by go-go bars and sells everything from fashion items, fake designer goods, souvenirs and much more all for cheap prices, just make sure you bargain with the stall owners and don’t accept the first price offered for a product but also don’t offer to little for an item. If your looking for a lively night or just fancy a few drinks, browse the market before finding a bar for a cocktail or two.

Rod Fai Ratchada Night Market

Rod Fai Night Market is located in Ratchada and is also referred to as the train market as it’s located by a train station. This market is a must, it has everything and something for everyone with an artsy vibe thrown in for good measure. It has lively bars and live music in one corner, and lots of stalls selling street food and snacks, there’s places to pull up a seat and grab food. There are stalls selling literally something for everyone, as this market is popular with Thai people the prices are much cheaper compared to other markets in the city.

This has to be one of my favourite markets in the city I found lots of items I liked and there were plenty of stalls offering customisable fashion items, such as sandals that you could choose how you wanted them customised with pom-poms, tassels and trims etc. Just note that the market isn’t on every night so check opening times prior to going.

Rod Fai Ratchada Night Market

Sukhumvit Street Market

Sukhumvit Street Market isn’t much to write home about, however if your staying in this area especially around the Nana or Asok BTS skytrain stations, then I would suggest having a wander along the stalls in the evening. Stalls lines the whole of this road, it’s a good location as it’s so central. You can pick up souvenirs, and knocks offs every night of the week. However unless your staying local to this area I wouldn’t come out your way for it, as there are much better night markets in the city to venture to.

Victory Monument Night Market

Victory Monument is a great area to explore at night and hunt down some bargains, there’s tons of stalls that spring up in the evening and lots of places to eat and drink. There’s some good outside seating areas with live music too. Have a browse around Victory Point Bazaar which is underneath the Victory Monuments BTS skywalk, where you can see lots of stalls and food vendors and locals going about their evening.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful, if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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What To Do In Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city after the capital Bangkok, although Chiang Mai is often referred to as the capital of the north. Chiang Mai is an ancient city set in Thailand’s mountainous northern region. It was founded back in 1296 when it was capital of the independent Lann Kingdom until 1558. Chiang Mai doesn’t have a typical urban city feel to it, as it is surrounded by misty mountains, rainforests and hill tribes.

Chiang Mai is a cultural hub in Thailand and offers travellers a whole range of things to see and do with ancient temples, cooking classes, yoga retreats, trekking trails as well as having plenty of nightlife and shopping, it really does have something to meet everyone’s tastes. Chiang Mai is a relatively small city and has a very calm and relaxed atmosphere, there is a modern city which has grown around many parts of the ancient city and today both new and old merge seamlessly together.

We took an internal flight from Bangkok up to Chiang Mai and couldn’t believe the difference between the two cities. We absolutely fell in love with Bangkok, but we also loved how peaceful Chiang Mai was, they are a complete contrast from one another. We spent 3 nights in Chiang Mai and had the best time, Chiang Mai is definitely somewhere we would love to go back and visit.

Sights & Activities

Bai Orchard Garden & Butterfly Farm

Bai Orchard Garden and Butterfly Farm are on the outskirts of the city, there are a variety of Thai orchids that are grown there. There is also a butterfly enclosure which you can walk through too, this is a good place to visit if you’re heading out to the mountains or outskirts of Chiang Mai to the Mae Rim district. The garden also has a small restaurant and gift shop so is quite a nice spot to grab a bite to eat.

We really enjoyed stopping here however I wouldn’t come massively out of your way unless you’re a keen orchid enthusiast, I would recommend that if your backpacking south east Asia and Singapore is on your to do list then visit Singapore’s National Orchard Garden which is out of this world and has the best orchids you will ever see!

Bai Orchard Garden & Butterfly Farm Chiang Mai Bai Orchard Garden & Butterfly Farm Chiang Mai

Bamboo Rafting

Entrance Fee: 500 THB

If you fancy being out in nature then what better way than to go Bamboo Rafting?! There are several areas to try bamboo rafting but Mae Wang district is a popular choice as it is just outside of Chiang Mai. The area has mountains and forests you can admire while gliding down the river, and there is a variety of tours and packages available. If you do go rafting make sure to wear light clothing and expect to get wet as the water gets through the gaps in the bamboo raft, also take a waterproof bag and cover for your phone and camera too.

Bamboo Rafting Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Night Markets

Chiang Mai is famous for its night markets and bazaars and there are several large ones all over the city and on weekends even more pop up! The markets are a great and unique shopping experience with a diverse range of handicrafts available to purchase as well as your usual tourist souvenirs, and lots of other items. You can also grab street food and drinks while you shop and sample some northern Thai delicacies. The most popular and well known market in the city is the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar which runs every single night and is huge and a bit like a maze. Other markets to also check out are;

Chiang Mai Temples

Chiang Mai is an ancient city and is steeped in history and culture, it is known as the city of temples and has over 300 Buddhist temples dotted all over the city. The temples are a huge part of Thai life and culture and no trip to Thailand would be complete without a trip to a temple or two. I would recommend pinning some on your map to go in search of, head to Chiang Mais Old Town, or there are plenty of temple and city tours you can book onto if you wanted a guide to explain all the information to you. I love temples in south east Asia and always love just stumbling across them and wandering into them, I love all the decor and the shrines and always find them really calming places to spend some time in.

Chiang Mai TemplesChiang Mai Temples

Doi Pui Tribal Village

Doi Pui is a Hmong tribal village and is situated in the Doi Suthep national park and close by to the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple. The traditional village offers a glimpse into their way of life. In the village, you can view the houses that they live in and witness their simple way of living and learn about their culture. The village is beautiful and has lots of beautiful plants and flowers, and of course fresh mountain air.

The village like most of Thailand’s hill tribes of the north used to cultivate opium poppies for a living until the royal sustainable projects arrived and transformed the entire village to agricultural farms.

The village today makes a living from farming and selling souvenirs to tourists, and there is a small museum in the village too, which showcases their way of life. If you have any questions the locals are friendly and happy to answer best they can. I really would suggest visiting this village after visiting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple as it’s only a few minutes out of the way. We really loved meeting the locals and wandering through their beautiful village and landscape.

Doi Pui Tribal Village Chiang Mai

Muay Thai

Muay Thai also is known as Thai Boxing is a combat sport and is the national sport and cultural martial art of Thailand. Muay Thai has been around for hundreds of years and was developed for close combat. It uses the entire body as a weapon. When visiting Thailand attending a Muay Thai fight is an absolute must, the atmosphere is incredible! We went to a Muay Thai fight in Chiang Mai as Bangkok seemed to have much larger stadiums and tickets were more expensive, and many of the competitors appeared to be from other parts of the world.

We wanted to attend somewhere with a more intimate and traditional feel and Chiang Mai offered that, we asked the hotel for Muay Thai suggestions and they recommended Thaphae Boxing Stadium. We went and tickets were approximately £12 per person however they can vary depending on the day of the week and the match. The stadium is small enough to feel intimate but also big enough with a selection of bars and restaurants and easy enough to get a front row seat. We also had the opportunity to meet with some of the fighters. It’s a great night out and there are plenty like this stadium around Chiang Mai, ask your accommodation where they would suggest, and if you want to have a go yourself then there also plenty of training academies to book into as well.

Three Kings Monument

The Three Kings Monument is an important statue in Chiang Mai and shows the three founders of Chiang Mai – King Mengrai, King Ramkamhaeng and King Ngam Muang. It was created back in 1984 and is situated outside the Chiang Mai Cultural Center and marks the centre point of the old administrative quarter of Chiang Mai in the ancient part of the city.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is one of Thailands most sacred temples and in an incredible location set up in the mountains overlooking Chiang Mai, and is part of the national park there. The temple is absolutely stunning and covered in lots of intricate details and gold. The architecture is typically northern Thai and can be reached by climbing the 306 steps. The temple dates back to the 14th century and is a major landmark in Chiang Mai and is popular with tourists, you can choose to visit the temple or for anyone wanting to learn more about Buddhist practices or meditation you can enrol on one of the meditation and mindfulness programs.

When visiting Chiang Mai this should be top of your agenda of places to visit, try and go as early as you can to avoid the crowds, and take something a little warmer to wear with you as the mountain air means its much cooler up at the temple, make sure to wear temple clothing attire too. There are several places to eat and drink nearby the temple so you can grab breakfast or lunch easy enough. We really loved visiting this temple and always recommend it to anyone I know visiting Chiang Mai.

Make sure to visit Doi Pui tribal village too as it is situated in the Doi Suthep national park and close by to the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang MaiWat Phra That Doi Suthep Chiang Mai

Transport & Getting Around

Chiang Mai is a small city so most places can be reached by foot or bicycle. There isn’t a huge choice of public transport there are a few buses but most people tend to hop in tuk tuks, taxis or shared taxis which are in red trucks called rót daang. I would recommend exploring the city by foot as this is the best way to get around and you stumble across the cities hidden gems.

3 Day Itinerary

  1. Get up early and head to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Doi Suthep–Pui National Park, Doi Pui Tribal Village and bamboo rafting. If you have time when you get back to Chiang Mai wander the old town and explore some of the cities many temples. After a day sightseeing hit the Chiang Mai night market for dinner and shopping.
  2. Head to Chiang Rai for the day, it’s a few hours away and something I really would like to do on my next visit to Chiang Rai. If you don’t fancy it then explore more of Chiang Mais temples and jungles and waterfalls surrounding the city. In the evening check out Muay Thai and have some dinner and drinks.
  3. Research and find a reputable elephant sanctuary for rescued elephants, ensure to not ride on any elephants and check out the website and reviews beforehand to make sure you’re not supporting anywhere that is abusing these animals. I made this mistake in the past and still feel awful about it, and now always research before I visit any so-called animal sanctuaries.

Top Tips

Many of the sights in Chiang Mai are outside and exposed so make sure to wear light and comfortable clothing, but also clothing that covers your shoulders and knees as many of the sights are temples so dress modestly.

There are still elephants available for tourist rides in Chiang Mai, please avoid this at all costs! The elephants have to endure a process called Phajaan also known as the crush, where they take baby elephants and brutally torture them for days and weeks at a time to break the elephant’s spirit so that they can be controlled by humans.

It’s a really traumatic practice and unfortunately until tourists realise what actually happens to make these elephants allow people to ride on them the practice will continue. I personally have ridden on elephants in the past before I knew what they went through, and now personally I would never ride on one again as it’s truly heartbreaking what they must undergo.

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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