The best shopping in Chiang Mai Riverside includes a mix of markets and unique boutiques. The area is rich with local handicraft stores, where you can pick up one-of-a-kind souvenirs at excellent prices. Thanks to the close proximity of the northern hill tribes, there is a mix of styles here with Burmese, Shan, Thai and Laos influences. Antique stores are common, but there are also several markets where you can shop like a local for everything from freshly baked desserts to flowers picked from the mountains only hours ago.
If you are looking for handmade clothing, traditional textiles, or unique souvenirs then you will not leave empty handed as some of the best shopping in Chiang Mai can be found along the banks of the Mae Ping. This guide to the best places to shop in Chiang Mai Riverside will give you some ideas of great places to start your bargain hunts.
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If you want to shop and support a very worthwhile endeavor at the same time we urge you to seek out the friendly folks at Baan Sanook. Selling funky custom T-shirts, handbags, and other small handicrafts, the staff here are masters at using traditional weaves and create custom designed cloth which is truly handmade and one-of-a-kind. All the staff at Baan Sanook (meaning House of Fun) either have a physical disability or a mental disability such a down syndrome so this business and social enterprise gives the staff a chance to work in fair conditions doing something they love. Actually their range of elephant T-shirts are really cute, with touches of handmade weaves on the front and back. To find it, cross over the River Ping and follow signs for Wat Ket Karam temple. The shop is close by in a compound known as Healing Hands Foundation.
- Opening Hours: 9:30 – 14:30 Monday – Friday
- Location: 2 Na Watket Rd.
- Tel: +66 (0) 5324 4393
Pakeryaw Basket and Textile
Pakeryaw Basket and Textile is located in a traditional Thai wooden house with creaky floorboards and tribal antiques lined up in rows. It’s dusty and fairly haphazard but for anyone with an interest in genuine tribal items, this is a dream come true. At Pakeryaw Basket and Textile it’s possible to find jeweled headgear, embroidered belts, musical instruments and tribal clothing. There is also a small section devoted to local brand Yellow & Blue which makes large canvas shopper bags. The shop is easy to find in between the Night Bazaar area and the Riverside. Head for the Iron Bridge along Loi Kroh Road. Pakeryaw Basket and Textile is a charming little shop and a real step back in time.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 18:00
- Address: Loi Kroh Road (one block away from the Iron Bridge)
Villa Cini is of Chiang Mai’s more affluent brands, specialising in fabrics, antiques, home accessories and antiques in line with brands such as Living Space, Ginger, Nova and Wits collection. If you’re after silk, head down here or to the shop at the Oriental Hotel and you will not be disappointed, but expect to pay more. You can purchase material by the metre or buy ready-made cushions, wall hangings and other accessories. Antiques are also available.
- Opening Hours: 10:00-late
- Address: 30, 32, 34 Charoenrat Road
- Tel: +66 (0) 5324 6246
Amongst the riverside restaurants on the opposite side of the river to the night bazaar is Crafitti, a small white pillared jewellery shop that uses local artists to create their nature-inspired pieces. The touches are subtle: a leaf print on a pendant or small stud earrings that reminded me of dandelion heads. The thought put into the design is impressive, and the craftsmanship is second to none. Crafitti showcase the work of some younger designers who are working in Chiang Mai as well, so it is great shop to pick some innovative jewellery. I couldn’t leave without purchasing a pair of the dandelion earrings, crafted in silver, for only 1,800 baht.
- Address: 173 Chareonrat Road
Carved elephants certainly make great souvenirs but many of the wooden carvings a mass-produced and a little outdated. If you want to get a souvenir that is unique and totally modern then check out the Colour Factory, which is part of Elephant Parade, the largest support organisation for the Asian elephant. At the Colour Factory you can pick up some bright and colourful designs painted on the side of Thailand’s national animal, such as a Spiderman elephant or one painted to look like a bumble bee. Other items for sale include handbags and accessories such as bracelets designed by Miguel La Salle, paintings and silk items. Proceeds go to several elephant camps throughout northern Thailand.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 20:00
- Address: 154-156 Charoenrat Road
- Tel: +66 ( 0) 5324 6448
Tonlamyai Market is a bustling flower market located just next to Worarot Market on Praisanai Road. It is open 24 hours a day, with most deliveries being made in the early hours of the morning. Talat Tonlamyai is the only place to get fresh flowers in central Chiang Mai and for that reason it is a hive of activity. Prices are already cheap but buy in bulk to get outstanding savings. Getting there isn’t too tricky; just ask a songtaew or tuk tuk for ‘Ton Lamyai’. Or if you prefer a longer walk it is only fifteen minutes from the Thae Pae Gate, walking away from the old town and north along the river. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 7 days a week, 24 hours a day
- Location: Thanon Praisani, running alongside the river
Warorot Market (or Kad Luang) is a three-storey building is close to the riverside. Inside this bustling fresh market you will find exotic food, snacks, and a large section focused on inexpensive goods, such as clothing, fashion accessories and personal care products.
Targeting mostly Thais, Warorot Market is a great place to get a feel for the local way of life. It is easy to find, just at the end of Chang Moi Road, east of the moat and north of Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. Popular gifts are in plentiful supply here such as organic tea and coffee, chilli paste, and some traditional but hard to find snacks. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 6:00-19:00
- Location: Chang Moi Road, close to the River Ping, north of Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
The Gallery has a gorgeous collection of high quality handicrafts, homeware, silks and art, and out on the patio there is a highly recommended restaurant. The Gallery is a truly unique place that combines the beauty of art and crafts with the art of cooking. Unmistakable, the neon-lit sign that sits outside immediately draws you in from the street to what appears to be a treasure trove of goods. Housed in one of the oldest wooden structures in Chiang Mai – it is thought to have been built in 1892. After you’ve finished your shopping, head to the restaurant to try one of the curries on the menu, spiced up to your taste, the fish also comes highly recommended too.
- Opening Hours: 12:00-24:00
- Address: 25, 27, 29 Charoenrat
- Tel: +66 (0) 53248602
Beautifully handcrafted arts, ceramics and textiles all designed by Chiang Mai’s local artists. The shop is a renovated Lanna-style Sala – a simple cottage that is believed to be over a century old, packed full of polished treasures.
- Opening Hours: 10:00-21:00
- Address: 152 Charoenrat Road
- Tel: +66 (0) 89 553 4709