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Chiang Rai Shopping

What to Buy in Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is home to a handful of natural-born artists and craftsmen, but shopping in Chiang Rai itself feels more like an undercurrent than mainstream activity. The Night Bazaar and Saturday Walking Street are probably your best bet when it comes to enjoying a shopping experience.

Unlike in Chiang Mai, where arts and crafts are often concentrated in one single area, Chiang Rai’s artists prefer to pursue an independent lifestyle, practicing and trading their own crafts. These are successful artists who work from their home studios, tucked away in the mountains, and the only way to acquire their crafts is to go out to them.

On the opposite spectrum, you have various artisanal communities that promote certain crafts, whether spa products, herbal teas, health food, textiles, or tribal crafts. The Doi Tung brand, part of the Mae Fah Luang royal development project, offers some of the finest quality crafts from across Chiang Rai.

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Chiang Rai Herbs Shop

This neon-lit single shop-house has all kinds of herbal products and supplements. The extensive collection includes Oolong tea, slimming tea, herbal capsules, dried Linzhi mushrooms, exfoliation masks, spa products, fruit wines and more. Packaging is basic, just like the interior décor, but this is definitely a one-stop shop for all the herbal products you may need.

  • Opening Hours: 08:00 – 21:00
  • Location: Prasopsuk Road, opposite the bus terminal

Chiang Rai Walking Street

Every Saturday evening, the 1.5-km stretch of Thanalai Road comes to life with shopping stalls, food carts, live folk music and an atmosphere of festivity. Here is the perfect opportunity to mingle among locals, sample northern Thai snacks and bag some souvenirs for friends and family back home. You will find plenty of stalls selling handicrafts, clothing, spa products, tribal crafts and a collection of Doi Tung-branded goods. Another highlight is a string of cultural performances which re-enact scenes from the local way of life and traditions of the ancient Lanna people.

  • Opening Hours: 16:00 – midnight
  • Location: Thanalai Road, from Tung Garden to Chiang Rai Vocational College

Doi Chang

Doi Chang is the name of the mountain where Chiang Rai’s top-quality Arabica coffee beans are grown, and this cosy coffee house is where you can buy them. Cultivated at 1,200 metres above sea level, the organically grown beans are hand-picked and processed according to the full wet method, which helps maintain their quality. Choose from a range of roasted beans, from Doi Chang Premium beans to single-origin Peaberry, Swiss Water Processed Decaf and wild Thai civet beans (Kopi Luwak). Doi Chang coffee is a member of Beyond Fair Trade, which ensures that farmers retain 100% of the proceeds from the sale of their beans.

  • Opening Hours: 07:00 – 21:00
  • Location: Banpaprakan Road, immediately west of the Clock Tower

Doy Din Daeng

Inspired by Chiang Rai’s lush nature and tranquil landscape, Doy Din Daeng pottery studio has been producing wheel-thrown pieces with simplistic, almost zen-like design, since 1991 and was founded by native Chiang Rai potter Somluck Pantiboon. Trained with Japanese masters in Japan, Somluck came back to Chiang Rai and founded the gallery in 1991. Set in a shaded forest, the studio comprises several adobe huts that serve as a workshop, exhibition gallery, shop, café, owner’s residence and trainees’ dorm. You will find both functional and decorative pieces, although the price is not cheap and each piece requires close scrutiny due to inconsistent quality. But, at the end of the day, you are paying for pieces of art.

  • Opening Hours: 08:00 – 17:00 (closed on Sundays)
  • Location: About 15km north of Chiang Rai City
  • Tel: +66 (0)53 705 291
  • How to get there: From Highway 1, go pass Chaing Rai Rajabhat University on your left and at km. 841 prepare to turn right into Soi 3. After making the turn, following the road for about 2km and the studio will be on your left-hand side.

Hill-Tribe Museum Souvenir Shop

The Hill-Tribe Museum offers a diverse collection of embroidered handicrafts from various ethnic hill-tribes. Each tribe has its own unique embroider pattern, and here you will find mostly Yao, Lisu, Mhong and Akha bags, wallets, placemats, bed covers, pillow cases and even leggings. Besides tribal crafts, the shop also has a range of Lanna crafts, such as Tung decorative flags, northern folk music CDs and books on the ethnic hill-tribes as well as cultures in the Mekong region. The price tags here may be a little higher than what you will find at the Night Bazaar or Walking Street, as the museum donates profits to support the PDA Chiang Rai’s ethnic hill-tribe development activities.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00 – 18:00 (Mon – Fri); 10:00 – 18:00 (weekends and public holidays)
  • Location: 3rd floor PDA Building, on Thanalai Road

Kaad Luang

A haven for street food lovers, Kaad Luang (Central Market) has all kinds of munchies and snacks imaginable. Go early in the morning (pre-dawn) and the market activities take place inside the bazaar, where you’ll find not only food but also clothing, toys and a whole range of knick-knacks and kitsch accessories. Kaad Luang undergoes a hiatus during the day, before coming back to life at sunset, when the focus shifts to purely food, whether fresh vegetables, fruits, grilled seafood, northern delicacies, ready-to-eat meals, or desserts. Vendors set up their stalls around the bazaar, which takes up the entire street block.

  • Opening Hours: 04:00 – 07:00 and 17:00 – late
  • Location: Uttarakit Road, about three blocks north of the Clock Tower

Local Products Promotion Centre

Right behind King Mengrai the Great Monument, the centre’s salmon-pink building houses six independently run shops. The collections look rather random, as if just to fill the shelves with something for visitors to look at and maybe buy. You’ll find various odds and ends, from tribal handicrafts, fridge magnets and other accessories to local products, such as tea from Doi Mae Salong, tribal costumes and bags, mulberry paper stationery, paper lanterns, tungs (decorative flags) and fruit wines.

  • Opening Hours: 08:00 – 21:00
  • Location: Uttarakit Road, behind King Mengrai the Great Monument

Mae Fah Luang Art & Craft Centre Souvenir Shop

Housed inside a lovely building, this medium-sized shop features a selection of handmade products from the royal development projects and the Doi Tung brand. Apart from hand-woven textiles, there’s also an eclectic collection of home accessories, ceramic ware, cloth bags, cultural books and notebooks. It is always a good idea to support the products of the royal projects, as the generated revenue is injected back into various development activities that aim to create sustainable livelihoods for local villagers as well as ethnic hill-tribes.

  • Opening Hours: 08:30 – 17:30 (Tues – Sun)
  • Location: Uttarakit Road, behind King Mengrai the Great Monument

MZ Collection

This cute handmade jewellery boutique is the product of its owner’s passion for handmade crafts. It features handmade pieces, such as earrings, bracelets, necklaces and rings, fashioned from imported silver and locally sourced semi-precious stones. The Japanese owner designed and created the pieces herself; so each one is unique.

  • Opening Hours: 18:00 – 23:00
  • Location: Bus Station Road, Night Bazaar area

Nine Shop

The first thing that hits you about this shop is the blue neon light and wire-fence display walls bursting with all spectrums of vivid colours. This funky store specialises in hand-painted fashion accessories, whether canvas sneakers, T-shirts, tank tops, baseball caps, cloth bags, or socks. Imaginative and playful, the design features a family of cartoon characters, all dreamed up by the owner, each representing a real character in his life. Considering that the rest of the shops in the area seem to offer similar kinds of ware, Nine Shop truly adds a much-needed creative twist to Chiang Rai’s shopping scene.

  • Opening Hours: 18:00 – 23:00
  • Location: Night Bazaar, near the Klang Wieng food court

Wannapa

The location of this local snack shop is only fitting, as it is right next to the Clock Tower where you will find all kinds of budget eateries. Its storefront is of no particular interest, but what might make you stop is the grilling station out front which wafts seductive aromas into the streets. Besides grilled northern-style sausages, green chili dips and deep-fried pork skin (kap moo), the shop sells a range of northern-style snacks and tea at affordable prices.

  • Opening Hours: 07:00 – 21:00
  • Location: Banpaprakan Road, immediately west of the Clock Tower
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