Walai Road Saturday market Chiang Mai

  • Walai Road silver shop
  • Walai Road musical stall
  • Walai Road pottery and lackerware stall
  • Walai Road souvenirs
  • Deaf musicians performing in Walai Road
  • Walai Road silver wage for sale
  • Walai Road food stall
  • Walai Road silversmith at work
  • Walai Road banana leaves hut maker
  • Traditional drinks for sale in Walai Road
  • T-shirts for sale in Walai Road
  • Restaurant in Walai Road
  • Walai Road mural
  • Walai Road entertainment
  • Wind chimes for sale in a stall in Walai Road
  • Walai Road items for sale
  • Walai Road silversmith
  • Traditional tribe dresses for sale in Walai Road
  • Art corner in Walai Road
  • A young violin player performing in Walai Road
Walai Road mural

Walai Road mural

The Walai Road market, also known as Saturday Market, or Saturday walking street, is a popular Chiang Mai

shopping street where tons of people, tourists and locals, mingle to enjoy a few hours of shopping, eating and entertainment.

Opening every Saturday at 4pm and buzzing on until midnight, though really coming alive from dusk when all lights turn on, the Walai Road market extends for roughly 1km all the way down the length of Walai Road, closed to all vehicular traffic for the occasion.

Walai Road silversmith

Walai Road silversmith

Historically, the Walai Road area has long been famous in silver handicrafts especially silver accessories and silverware, hence the road is still full of Silversmith shops to visit and there are plenty of silverware and aluminium sculptures on display.

Walai Road market is indeed less tourist than the Sunday Chiang Mai market or the Night Bazaar, though the variety of goods on display easily match that of its counterparts.

Walai Road pottery and lackerware stall

Walai Road pottery and lackerware stall

I have visited Walai Road market a number of times and have always enjoyed wandering around freely and browsing all the array of goods on display by merchants who line both sides of the street. I usually make sure I do not miss any stall, especially the ones on the side alleys: despite finding lots of repeated mass-made items you have surely seen elsewhere in Thailand, you can also get original products and the best deals on hand-crafted items such as silverware, brass jewelry, hill tribe products and beautiful Thai silk scarves.

Walai Road food stall

Walai Road food stall

Besides, there are lots of interesting shopping products to be found: ornaments, candles, housewares, bags, clothing, perfume, shoes, belts, lanterns, wood carvings, lacquer ware, cotton and silk cloths, t-shirts. There are cool crafts, lots of souvenirs and some nice art stalls too, and you can buy just about everything, but don’t be afraid to barter and haggle a bit: Thai people expect you to, and it adds to the whole experience.

All this wandering and shopping will turn you hungry, so do not hesitate to try some of the amazing street food available from the array of stalls with a variety of food and drinks that includes fried goyza, pad thai, pancakes, BBQ chicken and squid, Thai spicy salads, satay, waffles, warm local teas and herbal teas, coffee and fresh fruit shakes and smoothies. If your taste buds allows it, give a try to fried insects!

A young violin player performing in Walai Road

A young violin player performing in Walai Road

Entertainment is available in the form of street artists and performers, blind musicians, puppeteers, sketch artists and more. Lots of performances right in the middle of the street that add to the great atmosphere. There are also a couple of lit up temples on the side streets that are worth visiting, the best of which is Wat Sri Suphan, or the silver temple. And if you are after a treat after so much walking around, try a foot massage at the various roadside stalls, a great way to say thanks to your hard-working feet.

Deaf musicians performing in Walai Road

Deaf musicians performing in Walai Road

Walai Road market gets extremely busy and crowded after 8pm, with visitors plodding like cattle, and it can get pretty packed to the point that it is hard to move. The advise is to get there early in order to avoid the crowd, especially if you have kids, in which case you should hold of their hand all the time. It is also true that the crowd adds to the atmosphere and to the festive nature, and I personally enjoy it more after 8pm.

Traditional tribe dresses for sale in Walai Road

Traditional tribe dresses for sale in Walai Road

Once you have had enough, you can walk back to the top of the street, cross over the moat ring road and get some food or drinks at the extremely good food carts that station there nightly.

If you have an easy-going attitude, come with lots of patience, at least 2 hours time and some cash, Walai Road market is a great way to spend a fun Saturday night in Chiang Mai. I would say an absolute must of a visit to town.

Walai Road market is located to the south-west of the old walled town, opposite the Chiang Mai Gate.

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About the author

Thomas has a university background in the UK and in Latin America, with studies in Languages and Humanities, Culture, Literature and Economics. He started his Asian experience as a publisher in Krabi in 2005. Thomas has been editing local newspapers and magazines in England, Spain and Thailand for more then fifteen years. He is currently working on several projects in Thailand and abroad. Apart from Thailand, Thomas has lived in Italy, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain, Bali and Thailand. He spends most of his time in Asia. During the years Thomas has developed a great understanding of several Asian cultures and people. He is also working freelance, writing short travel stories and articles for travel magazines. Follow Thomas on www.asianitinerary.com

View all articles by Thomas Gennaro