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Chiang Mai Shopping

Shopping sometimes seems to be Chiang Mai's reason for being. It is after all the primary night-time activity. You'll find shops selling local handicrafts - silk, cotton, woodcarving, saa paper, silver, etc. - all over town, but the real scene can be found in two areas:

Night Bazaar
The place to browse for local handicrafts, clothes, luggage, silver, spices and much, much more. You can find most anything here, but the "big" products that most stalls offer tend to follow trends. For a while it may be lamps with brightly colored saa paper set in wooden frames that are "in" but in a year or two it may be mango wood boxes.

The epicenter of the night bazaar is a three story open air building next to the D2 Hotel (formerly the Chiang Inn) on Chang Klan Road, but you'll find sidewalk stalls on both sides of Chang Klan road from where it starts at Tapae Road going on to Anusarn night bazaar. Shops open around 7:00 p.m. and stay open until around midnight.
"Factory" Row
Spread along San Kamphaeng Road are a number of large stores selling "traditional" crafts such as silver, bronze and silk. Although some are presented as "factories" few are actually making the products on sale in the premises. The whole setup resembles the American style of outlet malls, but it can still be an interesting and rewarding way to spend an afternoon.

Some places do put up a good pretence at being factories. The silk shops that demonstrate how silk is made, from worm to loom, can be a good place to stop for families with kids, as can the silver and umbrella factories. The selection at all these places is very good, but be warned that prices can be much higher than what you can get for the same item in the night bazaar.

Just about any tuk-tuk or taxi driver will be more than willing to take you out to factory row, and they'll ask a ridiculously low fee, like 50 Baht (