Thailand – Cheap Entertainment in Chiang Mai

Although Chiang Mai had a lot of packaged trips, there were still many things that you could do with minimal money. Here are some examples of things that I did:

Night Markets at its best
The best fruit shakes
Adventures on a scooter

Night Markets at its best

One of the really cool things in Chiang Mai is their weekly night market on Sunday. This market is ridiculously large, and by that I mean it took up probably half of old city. I was walking alone for 3hrs just glancing at stuff (and for those who know me, that’s quite a pace) and I’m pretty sure I didn’t see it all. The best thing about this night market vs all the other night markets that I’ve been to is that this one has A LOT more variety. You have your traditional stall food, your traditional drink shop, lots of fresh fruit juice shops and your mini tourist like shops. Then you have a large concert stage with live entertainment, temples that turn into a hawker center, and buskers everywhere. The interesting thing about these buskers was that a lot of them were either blind or really young kids. However, no matter how diverse the night market is, it means nothing if there are no people. This however, was not a problem with this night market as the whole place was crowded with both locals and foreigners. Moreover, there was no one tried to hustle you and to add the cherry on top, everyone was just having a blast. I would highly recommend anyone to go through the night market when you’re in Chiang Mai.

Weekly concerts at the night market. Get yourself some food, snacks, and drinks; take a seat and enjoy the show. Donations are always welcome. This picture here is of a blind person singing.
Chiang Mai night market

With every night market comes with multiple stalls of food. However, with some markets, there are only a handful of selections. This one here was not like that.
Chiang Mai night market

Diverse set of people makes this night market so much more interesting.
Chiang Mai Night Market

Some of the temples were turned into hawker centers.
Chiang Mai night market

Blind buskers are everywhere.
Chiang Mai night market blind buskers

Don’t know if these were on sale, but paintings were not something I expected to see at a night market.
Chiang Mai night market paintings

Of course, being Thailand, no night market would be complete without these.
Chiang Mai night market massage

And of course, nice cheap clothing…
Chiang Mai night market clothes

And random stuff.
Chiang Mai night market random stuff

This is how big the night market in Chiang Mai is.
Chiang Mai night market map

Overall, this night market was probably the best one I’ve been to thus far.
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The best fruit shakes

As crazy as this may seem, the fruit shakes at this particular fruit shake shop was so good, I could actually contemplate going to Chiang Mai just for it if I were in Thailand. Costing 50 baht (a bit more than $1.50 US), you get to choose 3 fruits that are in front of the shop. After choosing the 3 fruits, the owner would then peel them in front of you and put it all in the blender along with ice, some sugar and if you wanted, milk. The owner also did not waste any of the end product; maxing out the 32oz cups and giving the rest of it in either another 16oz cup or in shot glasses, it was all the same price.

Chiang Mai Fruit Shake

Another amazing thing that the fruit shake shop sells is the fruit salad. For 50 baht, it came in a portion that I would argue could be a dinner size meal and not breakfast. With such fresh fruits, this place was visited at least twice a day.
Chiang Mai Fruit Salad

For those who would like to find the shop yourself, it is located in old Chiang Mai (the square inside the moat). Here’s a picture of the small shop.
Chiang Mai best fruit smoothie

And here’s a eyeballed the map of the location.
Chiang Mai map of fruit smoothie
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Adventures on a scooter

One of the things that was suggested for us to do in Chiang Mai was to rent a scooter and go to a temple called Doi Suthep which is on top of a mountain. The trip takes about 30minutes if you were to go straight up but it also goes by three different waterfalls and multiple areas for viewing Chiang Mai from afar. In terms of scooter experience, I had none what-so-ever. However, we rented a scooter anyway and luckily, it was an automatic so all I had to do was have enough confidence to accelerate at the beginning. The drive from the city to the outskirts (about 15minutes) was the drive that got me comfortable with weaving through traffic so by the time we hit the base of the mountain, I was set.

View of Chiang Mai from somewhere along the mountain
Chiang Mai night view

What made this trip pretty cool was the stop at an extremely peaceful waterfall (Huaykeaw Waterfall). The water was also really clean (there was even someone washing himself) and there were many people who were having picnics under the shade. The waterfall itself was small, but it was so relaxing to just watch the water fall and weave through the rocks. Later on, we saw another waterfall; it was much smaller but there were a bunch of people jumping from it into the pond underneath (yes, that means cliff jumping). Also, while taking our time up the mountain, we ran into a lot of pit stops that had a great view of the city. We probably left the base around 7pm so by the time we reached the top, all the shops were closing. However, the temple was still open and so we went on in. One thing to remember when visiting temples is to wear pants that cover past your knees. I wasn’t dressed in that attire but I did see a couple of signs asking people to be. There was nothing particularly special about the layout of the temple(well, all temples in Thailand are gold like), but because we got there late, most people were gone and so the temple was at its normal tranquility. There were people meditating all around the temple, people praying and monks chanting. With the light breeze triggering a constantly soft wind chime, you could feel the peacefulness of the place in the air. After bathing in that feeling for half an hour, we decided to head back down the temple.

The Huaykeaw waterfall; not big at all, but really peaceful.
Chiang Mai Huaykeaw waterfall

Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai Doi Suthep

The ride down was also amazing. I was comfortable enough to let us both go without helmets and it was also pitch black. The pit stops that I mentioned were also eye candies as the whole city underneath was lit up while looking behind us, we can see the stars. Also, while going down, I didn’t have to accelerate at all, I was letting gravity do its job while I just steered and felt the wind just create its own path through my hair. We decided to record a part of this moment and so B was recording a part where we tried to hit 70km/hr (which we did). While putting his camera away, I suddenly heard a large thump sound. It turned out that he somehow dropped the camera while putting it away and so I stopped the bike while he ran back up to pick up the remnants. To make matters worse, I saw a flow of headlights cutting the corner and with no street lights, we weren’t in the most desirable situation. Flickering high beam at B (my friend) and hocking like no tomorrow, the 3 cars and 2 bikes all saw him before something happened and once again, we were safe (I swear, there’s been far more close calls travelling with him than without).

On our way back from that, we saw a bunch of locals gather at this market like thing. Wondering what it was, we found a spot to park and headed in. it turned out that it was a daily night market but from what I noticed, only youths were there (well really, it was mainly uni girls). Within the market, there were many fashion stores, and equally as many food stalls. Besides it being a place full of eye candy, there wasn’t really anything special about the place, but I’m kind of jealous that these guys have a place to just hang around…

Food, clothes, and a lot of girls. From what I was told, this market happens on a daily basis.
Chiang Mai market
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