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!
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.
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.
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.
Up 2 Hand
Wang Sing Kham (the road along West Ping River)
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!
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
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!
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.
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: