Thrift Hunting

It is a strange dynamic that even though food prices are a fifth of what they would be in America, clothes are still the same price! How’s a girl gonna survive (with a local wage)?! Well, fear not! I’m on the hunt for the best second-hand and thrift shops in Chiang Mai!

Love 70’s

Sri Phum Rd., Old City

Prices: 120THB (dress)

A town favorite, Love 70’s has the best selection of threads in town. My first time there, I found a distressed brown leather accordion purse for less than 400THB! It is beautifully raw. Anything your hipster heart desires can be found here. Looking for plaid shirts? Got ’em. Oxfords? Got’em. Skinny jeans, long skirts, grandpa sweaters, grandma dresses? Done. BOOM.

Atsadathon Rd

Prices: dirt cheap

String of garage-like shops along Atsadathon Rd., the road leading north on the NE corner of the moat. These are the best yet for finding secondhand clothes, shoes, bags, toys, bicycles, costumes, cheap household organizers, etc. It’s about 5 consecutive massive shops filled with almost everything you need, new and used. (Great place to go for your Songkran supplies, fyi.) If you’re driving north, it’ll be on your left-hand side. If you look to your right, there will be plenty of furniture stores, and a bit more north is Tesco Lotus. An all-in-one shopping street!

Ban Khlong Ngae 

The south bend of Wua Lai Rd.

Prices: 80THB

Possibly one of my favorite thrift shops, they always have a huge selection of shorts (pleated, jeans) and casual button-up shirts.  Mostly Levi brand jeans and many pleated slacks. Sounds like a cowgirl shop and it somewhat is! Unique vintage-type dresses and skirts are from Cambodia, I believe. Plenty of belts and straw hats are always in stock too. There’s a men’s shop and a women’s shop right next to each other.

thrift

Ban Klong Ngae Women’s

 Up 2 Hand

Wang Sing Kham (the road along West Ping River)

Prices: unknown

I haven’t been to this small shop yet, but it always catches my eye when I drive past. I’m looking forward to going very soon!

JJ Market

Atsadathon Rd., Chang Phueak (off the eastern moat road)

Prices: How big is your wallet?

A quiet, seemingly abandoned square lined with hallways and patron-less shops, JJ Market will appease your hesitancy when you lay sight on the treasured antiques of yesteryear. I suppose Chiang Mai isn’t as enamored with antique wares as Americans are, but I hope the craze catches on in this historic city. The market mostly carries wooden (teak) furniture beautifully inlaid with gold or intricate carvings, but there is also an abundance of home decor (pots, ceramics, jeweled bowls, trinkets, money etc). Things can be on the pricier side, but if you go to the back end of the square, there will be a small dark shop filled to the brim with olden hill tribe products that are a bit easier on the wallet. I cannot attest to the authenticity of anything, but I did come away with a few beautiful & sturdy carved vases for less than 100THB each. Score!

CMU Night Market (daily)

Huay Kaew Road, West of Canal

Prices: Varies, but cheap and bargainable

A toned down version of Bangkok’s famous Chatuchak Market. Massive selection of inexpensive new and used clothing and accessories. They do Thai, Western, Hipster, Yuppie and Backpacker styles. The clothes tend to be on the trendy side and the surrounding shops are quite artsy in their fashion. I think their Men’s selection is the best in Chiang Mai – classy and put together.

Kad Suan Kaew Weekend Night Market

Huay Kaew Road, KSK Mall

Prices: 100 baht

Small evening market just outside the mall, selling new and used clothes. Perfect if you know what you want and don’t have enough energy to navigate the mazes of the larger markets.

Prince Royal College Weekend Flea Market

Bamrung Rajd Rd. and Rattanakosin

Prices: Bargainable

All secondhand wares from people’s private collections or garages. A lot of cool nifty things: tools, decor, clothes, accessories, car parts, knick-knacks, memorabilia, amulets, furniture…exactly what you would expect from a flea market!

prc flea

Clothes Dumpster

See Ping Muang Soi 4, South of Old City

Prices: 5THB (skirts, pants)

Yeah that’s right FIVE BAHT! It’s my favorite shopping spot in Chiang Mai! I actually have no idea what this place is called, but it looks like a huge outdoor warehouse dumpster of clothes. It’s so dirty, every customer there is wearing a face mask. Hope you have an old pair of jeans and a raggedy t-shirt because you won’t want to wear anything nicer coming to this place.

IMG_3738

I walked through the makeshift door and I could immediately feel the bacteria seeping into every pore of my body. Not a good feeling. My friend tossed me a big basket and told me to fill it with clothes. I followed her to the back where the “best clothes” were, according to her. Then, I watched her jump into a huge pit of multi-colored skirts and trousers. I was reluctant to even touch anything, let alone throw my whole body into a pile of dirty, comes from who-knows-where, smelly clothes, so I spent the first 15min, just tossing a few things around with my fingertips.

But OH! low and behold, undiscovered beauty met my eye in the form of a flowery A-line. Then more and more unique pieces of treasure began appearing in my hands! “Alright, eff it. I’m doin the true dumpster dive.” And there I went, lost in piles of used clothing hipsters would die for.

For other “clothes dumpster”-esque places, drive along Atsadathon Rd., north strip of Super Highway going toward Nimman, Monthon Tahabok Thi 3… for random small second hand shops.

Check out my dumpster digs below:

IMG_3717 IMG_3730IMG_3804 IMG_3799 IMG_3798 IMG_3794 IMG_3739 IMG_3741 IMG_3743 IMG_3740

About redmudstain

An American Expat in Chiang Mai, Thailand ​ Not willing to settle down just yet - I'm only in my mid-twenties after all - I took a leap across the big big pond and fell onto Thai soil. Well, it was a little less spontaneous than that... ​ After a grueling application process, Princeton in Asia bestowed upon me a one-year fellowship with The Life Skills Development Foundation in Chiang Mai. A renowned child rights non-profit foundation in Northern Thailand, TLSDF is giving me the opportunity to research critical social issues, travel across field sites in the nation's upper regions, converse with the international human rights community and of course, learn Thai! ​ This is my life - the beauty, struggle, culture shock and adventure - in the charming city of Chiang Mai. Blog: https://redmudstain.wordpress.com/ UPDATE: Chiang Mai got me for 2 years!

19 comments

  1. Hi! The way you described the clothing dumpster experience was extreme! Would you mind telling me where to go for second hand jewelry in Chiang Mai? Did you see any store that sold them in yellow plastic bags? Cheers!

  2. Pingback: Love’s 70 | swabhava

  3. Eleanor

    Hi there, in your last photo there were rows of shoes, is this a the clothing dumpster too or is it somewhere else? Thanks for your post, its great!

  4. Pingback: Having Fun with Vintage Clothing in Chiang Mai, Thailand – My Wonderful World of Vintage

  5. Stacie

    Hiii everyone!

    I went to the dumpster digs today! I bought 7 really nice tops all for 120 baht, unbelievable!!!.. you have to route through but theres lotsa lovely shirts on hangers which makes life easier and there was plenty of clothes still with tags on! Any girls that love a bargain dont miss out on this place when yr in chiang mai 🙂

  6. Wow! This is a great blog. My only comment is that the word “vintage” is seriously misused. I remember Love 70s when they actually did have original vintage clothes but, like so many other places, they now sell “remake” vintage, albeit of better quality than most places.

    I’m in my 60s and have been thrift shopping since I was a teenager so I remember when “vintage” just meant 2nd hand and you could still stumble upon treasures for a few cents. Anyhow, everything changes and that’s life. Your tips are valuable and next time I’m back in Chiang Mai I’ll certainly take go exploring. I’ve been to the “dumpster” market and should’ve worn a mask. It’s hard work sifting through all those concrete bins and though I found a couple of treasures, it wasn’t worth the time because so many things had serious rips and tears. Then again, if I were in my 20s, I’d have had more patience for it!!

  7. You are an absolute ANGEL! Just moved to Chiang Mai and already dying to feed my thrifting habit. This blog post just became my new Bible 🙂 Thanks!!

  8. Pingback: Vintage Adventure in Thailand | Elbow room

  9. Sarah

    Do you have any info on what the ‘clothing dumpster’ looks like from the outside or is it hard to miss? Many thanks Sarah

  10. Michelle

    Hi love your blog!
    are there any more “clothing dumpster” in chiang mai??
    Do you have address..?
    Thanks,
    Michelle

    • Thanks, Michelle. There are quite a few actually! The largest one I know of is on Hang Dong Road just South of Central Airport Plaza. It is massive!

      If you drive along (north) Super Highway or Atsadathon Rd., you’ll see a few makeshift thrift shops. Most major roads also will have secondhand clothing markets.

      Cheers,
      Jess

      • I went to south of the plaza, couldn’t find the building so my friend asked a clothing store and they said the dumpster was closed long time a go.

        However thais give incorrect directions all the time so would you mind providing map locations or a description of how the building looks like? Thanks.

  11. Kate

    I want to attempt to find the “Clothing Dumpster” this weekend. Any hints about what the building looks like on the outside? Very excited for my adventure!

    • Hi Kate, it’s a bit difficult to describe as it looks like all the other buildings on the street, but if you look carefully, you’ll see a bunch of belts hanging in front of the windows. The open doorway is large and will usually expose jackets hanging from the ceiling. Hope you have fun on your hunt this weekend!

  12. Andy

    Hey I’m staying in Chiang Mai for a bit and I’m so glad to have found this post. Awesome, cohesive list. The clothing dumpster sounds AMAZING and after reading about it I immediately went to Nantaram 5 in an attempt to find it. I walked up and down that road and no luck. Do have any more information about how to find it other than just the street it’s on? Thanks.

  13. Pingback: Shopping | red mud stain

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