Kad Luang is the most popular market in Chiang Mai
Kad Luang or Warorot Market is a well-known landmark in Chiang Mai and marks the centre of the city’s little Chinatown.
Located at the end of Chiang Moi Road near the Ping river, Kad Luang is a must-visit for food lovers as it offers a wide range of ready-to-eat meals, local snacks and all kinds of fresh produce. A large section of the market features inexpensive goods, such as clothing, fashion accessories and personal care products.
Kad Luang is set over 3 levels and is Chiang Mai’s biggest market. The first floor selling food and the massive array of goods on offer at Kad Luang market ranges from dried fruits, nuts, vegetables and herbs to handicrafts, fabric and materials, jewellery and souvenirs as well as clothes, shoes, cosmetics and household appliances.
The second and third floors at Warorot Market are dedicated to clothing and everyday merchandise. Since the market targets mostly locals, you won’t find the kinds of handicrafts and souvenirs that you would normally find at the night bazaar or other crafts markets around town. Fashion is mostly casual wear, such as T-shirts, shorts and simple dresses. The prices here are much cheaper than at other touristy markets so if you need an extra pair of shorts or a T-shirt, Warorot Market is a good place to go. Compared to food and fashion, the merchandise section is not as interesting (unless you want an authentic Thai spatula). A wide range of cheap cosmetics and personal care products are also on sale, although the quality is probably questionable.
All items are really cheap. If you want something, look around, it is probably there somewhere. There are lots of indoor and outdoor shops and stalls over several streets so be prepared to spend a bit of time and have a good look around.
There are stories contained within the folds of a Hmong skirt, delicately painted with wax and lovingly embroidered for a special occasion years ago. Hmong costume is amongst the most vibrant and decadent in all of Southeast Asia, and Chiang Mai’s Warorot Market is the place to go if you want to ferret through truckloads of vintage Hmong fabric remnants, hand-stitched quilts, textiles, garments and baby carriers.
Start exploring at the northeast corner of the market, at the intersection of Chang Moi and Wichayanon Roads, where most songthaews make their passenger drop offs. The perimeter of the Warorot building is surrounded by covered clothing stalls and Chinese gold shops. You can enter the main building via one of the dozen undercover walkways that open up to the street along the eastern wall. Here is a good place to grab a morning snack of dim sum, steamed buns or rotisserie chicken before you enter the market proper. Turning left as you enter, you’ll come across a section labelled Area 4. The stalls in this part of the market mainly stock bamboo kitchen utensils, plastic crockery, and temple offerings.
Check out the big fruit and vegetable shop next to the Flower Market (Ton Lamyai Market). The sizes, shapes, colours and smells of the huge variety of asian fruits on display is amazing. If you are not sure what the fruits are, ask for a little taste test, most are very obliging.
Ton Lamyai’s market floor is comparable to Warorot’s, but with more aromatics on display, including dried shrimp. Here, you can buy hill tribe Arabica coffee and locally grown tea leaves by the bag. Another shop sells fantastic homewares and utensils, including quirky wooden teacups, and another woven rice baskets. The northern end of the floor breaks off into a wet market (which must back right onto the Ping River), and a food court.