Chiang Mai Sunday Market

by David on December 14, 2009

There are three main markets in downtown Chiang Mai: the Morning Market, the Night Bazaar and the Sunday Market. Of these, my favorite is the Sunday market. On Sunday evening Rachadamneon Rd., the main East-West street, as well as the largest street in town, is shut down to vehicular traffic and a market is set up which extends the entire length of the street and branches off into temple grounds and the nearby side streets.

Booths start appearing around 3:30 or 4:00, with things picking up after sunset, which occurs right around 6:00.

Market Crowd

This is a precursor to the real crowds.

Music is everywhere at the market, played on radios at vendors’ stalls and buskers on every street. A large percentage of the musicians are blind, with massage and music being the two main areas of employment for the visually impaired.  These performers usually either wander through the market with a portable karaoke machine worn on a strap like a giant camera, or in bands sitting single-file in the center of the road.

Blind Band

These guys were good!

While the majority of the stalls are selling tourist goods ranging from t-shirts to jewelry to caricature drawings, my favorite sights are the unusual foods and the performers.

Food can be found everywhere and ranges from Pad Thai and noodle soups to the more exotic.


More Exotic


Holy Crap

Much less startling are the girls in hill tribe clothing performing traditional dances.

Dulcimer PlayerShe looks like she knows something that we don’t.

Dulcimer DancerThe partner in crime.

Night Dancer

As well as the regular goods and performances, there are also celebrations and parades.  Early one Sunday, just as the market was being set up, I was surprised by the 5th annual Lanna-Japanese parade (Lanna refers to an ancient kingdom in northern Thailand).

Lanna-Japan 1Drummers led the group.

Lanna-Japan 2

Traditional fashions were worn.

Lanna-Japan BoySome confusion was displayed.

Smiling GirlThai traditions were represented as well.

Girl in ProfileSometimes with a great deal of poise.

Some things seen on the street apparently have no relation to the market.  For instance a small being who is either the third of a group of transformer-human hybrids from beyond our galaxy, or perhaps a small human child who was apparently robbed by whatever judges awarded him only third place in a costume contest.

Transformer Kid

I for one would like to welcome our new cyborg overlords.

Third place?  Seriously?!  I must have spent an hour looking around the market for the first and second place winners, but didn’t spot any other kids in costumes aside from the usual dancers and musicians.  They were either on some distant and critical mission or they were standing right behind me and their cloaking technology is so advanced that we can only pray that his peace sign is given in good faith.


Adriana December 17, 2009 at 23:22

Please tell me you at least tried a little of the exotic foods!!! Your commentary is hilarious…but the pictures are wonderful. I feel as if I right there. Keep it up!!

mOM December 19, 2009 at 15:39


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