Shopping: Markets, Beer, Books, Clothes, Rx…..


Shopping for clothes is a bummer in Chiang Mai. I adore fisherman pants and tanks, but they are highly inappropriate for the workplace and I need variety! Coming from New York, I love to be surrounded by edgy, innovative fashion and seek out creative (but inexpensive) houses for my own wardrobe. CM fashion is mainly a mixture of t-shirts/long skirts, pastel Barbie doll dresses, high heels and hipster style. Since I have an affinity for fall fashion with all its layers and dark color combos, CM is not my clothing paradise. However, here’s my round-up:

Thrift Stores & Markets (another post)

My go-to for clothing needs.

71 Export

Huay Kaew Road, between Super Highway and Canal

Prices: 280 baht

The tops are ugly, but they have a multitude of jeans and shorts in different colors and styles. They have your standard maxi dresses, as well – if only they looked good on me! The Men’s section is better with a variety of short and long sleeve button ups, T-shirts, slacks, jeans and shorts. All of their clothing is imported from H&M, Forever 21 or Old Navy and it’s mostly the basics stock.

Central Festival Shopping Plaza

Who needs to go to Bangkok anymore with the new Central Festival opening? A mall comparable (and much less crowded) than its BK counterparts, CF offers Chiang Mai residents a taste of big city life by bringing together huge international labels into its 5 floor complex. You can’t find the right sizes at the market? Not to worry, now there’s Zara, Topshop, H&M and Marks & Spencer. Not to mention another Uniqlo (Does CNX really need 3 Uniqlos though?). In need of Victoria’s Secret – esque lingerie? La Senza got you covered. One of my faves, MUJI, the Japanese innovation store, also claimed a space in the mall. As for keeping you refreshed, CF threw in a Ristr8to, Cold Stone Ice Cream and Starbucks, amongst a ton of other hi-so eateries.

Did you all know malls can deliver clothes now? oh whaaat! Yes, if you buy over 500THB (easy) online, they will deliver to you for free.

Another cool thing — CF has an IMAX theatre! Damn, it’s been a while, IMAX 😀

Promenada Resort Mall

Has a lot of potential and already the swankiest mall in town, but is still mostly empty as of yet. On Ring Road, you’ll come across a massive poop brown ugly exterior – why they chose various shades of brown to deck out a resort mall, who knows – with a ton of construction. The mall is definitely not complete yet and is only about 1/3 occupied by stores, so hope it picks up soon.

I’m not a huge fan of malls since they are usually overpriced and the fashion mundane, but this place has great lingerie shops! My long trial and ultimate frustration in trying to find simple underwear in this city has finally come to an end! Do you realize how difficult it is to buy underwear that are not granny panties or stripper thongs?! Impossible, until Wacoal and Sabrina popped in to save the day. These two shops are right next to each other in Building B.

The mall is also host to Uniqlo (yay!) and boutique shop, Riotino, which provides you with stylish shoes (monk strap, oxfords, sandals, casual wedges) and chic bags.

Free Worldwide Shipping! 

Ok, these are online shops, but they are fantastic! Asos is my favorite because they ship for free anywhere in the world – aw, yeah – and have stylish clothing for decent prices. SheInside is a casual trendy site with a super affordable fantastic vintage collection. Shopbop is another site with free worldwide shipping (over $100) and taps into the “designer for cheap” market. Zalora is like an Asian Asos and has a site specifically for Thailand. Others: SurfdomeAhaiRomwe, Modekungen and Oasáp are new to me, but have trendy clothes.

Robinson Department Store

Central Airport Plaza

Prices: Western

Typical department store fashion. I get my running shoes here since they have (real) brand-name products. I love my Mizunos 😀


Nimmanhaemin Soi 5

Prices: 1500 baht

Expensive, but I love their minimalist sandal styles. I’m not into the bows or cutesy shoes most stores carry, so this tiny shop is a welcome relief. Do you know how hard it is to find classic brown sandals in CM?? Very difficult indeed, so I’m willing to shell out 50 bucks for these comfortable kicks.




Kad Suan Kaew and Central Plaza

Prices: 300 baht

The latest designer styles of sandals, pumps, stilettos, flats, sneaks, thongs and booties. With a constantly revolving product line, don’t hesitate to buy a pair you fancy because they might not be there the next time you visit. Obviously the material is not great, but they’re comfy and good for casual browsing about town.


I’ve found the used book scene to be very expensive in CM, likely due to the low competition (no Amazon books market). I considered buying a Kindle, but there’s something about touching and flipping the physical pages of a book that has a certain allure.

Backstreet Books

Chang Moi Kao Road

Prices: 450 baht, slightly negotiable

Quality selection of new and used books in many different languages, mostly English and European. Their stock is updated regularly and they have a buy-back program as well. Standard selection of the classics, many fiction novels, numerous self-help guides and plenty of language learning material. There are some odd used books, records and art hardcovers. Outside, there are a few tables of very worn-in books for 20, 50, 100 baht, but you could find a treasure (like Fan-Tan by Marlon Brando)!

Gecko Books

Chang Moi Kao Road

Prices: 400 baht

The customer service is not very friendly here, but they have a large book collection. Great classics. Slightly cheaper than Backstreet and more focused on the “used” rather than new. Cool postcards, too! They have a few different locations around the city.

Better World Books

Online book site with free international shipping dedicated to funding high-impact literary programs around the world.

Dasa Book Cafe

Location in Bangkok, but you can order online (click above).

Prices: 200 baht

Dasa has wonderful customer service and a great selection of used books. You can go to the website, download their inventory spreadsheet and shoot ’em an email with your book selections. They’ll send you a confirmation email with their bank account and delivery options. You can go to any ATM and deposit the payment into their account, send Dasa a picture of your bank receipt and your books will be at your doorstep within a week. Easy Peasy.


Dasa Book Cafe

The Lost Bookshop

Ratchamanka Road

Interesting, less mainstream books than at Backstreet and Gecko.

Unknown Bookshop

Ratvihti Road

I don’t remember the name, but I remember that I liked this shop a lot. The staff was very helpful.

Asia Books

Central Airport Plaza, 2nd Floor

Prices: High

They have a small selection of U.S. bestsellers, Thailand-centric English-language books, Thai art hardcovers, kids books, magazines, travel guides and test prep guides. All over-priced, in my opinion.

D.K. Book Store

Kotchasan Road (East Moat)

Some English language books, but it’s primarily a Thai book store. I go here to buy standard art supplies.

Suriwong Book Store

Sridonchai Road, Southeast Moat

Again, a primarily Thai book store. They have a small section from Asia Books.

Scribe Books

Thalat Ton Phayom Road

I have yet to check it out!

Book Depository

A UK based online bookstore with free international shipping. Perfect for the globetrotting expat!

Craft Beer

Everyone knows there is a lack of variety and good craft beer in Chiang Mai. You can only have so much Leo and Singha, and Chang is crap. Luckily, there are online sites based in Bangkok which bring craft beers from around the world straight into your hands:

Beer Republic

Nimman Soi 11

It’s pricey, but they have a good selection of imported beers and wines and a chill outside seating area. Actually, if they run out of a certain wine, they go buy it next door at the Spanish restaurant and sell it to you for even more hahah.


Beautiful online site which continues to add new brands to its inventory. American, Belgian, Danish, German, Japanese, Sri Lankan (?), Mead…

Someone needs to bring Fat Tire to Thailand though.


JJ Market – Wooden Furniture and Antiques on Atsadathon Rd.

Baan Tawaii – Beautiful wooden furniture and sculpture market: south on Hang Dong Rd.

Warorot (Kad Luang) – Local supplies, goods, textiles, foods, etc. within Chinatown on Chang Moi Rd.

Hmong Lane – Hmong tribal goods & textiles next to Warorot on the soi just west of Kuang Men Rd.

Walking Streets – Tourist handicrafts: Sunday on Ratchadamnoen Rd. and Saturday on Wualai Rd.

Muang Mai – Behind Big C and Index Living Mall, off the superhighway

Ton Lamyai – Flower market along the west side of Ping River, next to Warorot

Kamthieng – Flower, plants, garden, pet supplies: behind Tesco Lotus and north of JJ Market

Night Bazaar – Tourist handicrafts on Chang Klan Rd.

Holiday Market – Gifts, wrapping paper, cards, etc.: opens a couple months before Christmas on Tunghotel Rd.

Kad Suan Kaew Night Market – Second-hand and some new clothes in front of the KSK mall

CMU Night Market – Local market for the trendy CMU coed on Huay Kaew Rd. in front of CMU

Prince Royal Flea Market Local sellers for vintage, antique, unique finds (radios, decor, clothes, toys, hammocks, tools, etc.) and a massive amulet market: Bamrung Rajd Rd., north of Kaew Nawarat

San Kamphaeng Night Market – Similar to, but smaller than CMU Market: about 10 min. down SK Road from the Super Highway

Borsang – Sa paper, umbrella and lantern market open during the day: San Kamphaeng Rd. at 1014 intersection

Jiwan Building – to be investigated…


Chang Moi Pharmacy

My top choice for pharmacies. Huge inventory of medicines, very friendly and he gives the best prices around. The pharmacist is a humorous old Thai man who speaks English well 😀

His nephew’s shop is around the corner and also has a solid variety of Rx needs; plus, he speaks perfect English and is a great conversationalist!

Dara Pharmacy

Kaeonwarat Road, Across the street from Dara Academy

The pharmacy doctors go to, so you know they have a huge stock of medicine.


Suthep Road, Across from Maharat Nakhon Hospital

Pharmacy and medical supplies. Nice selection of braces for ankle, wrist, knee, etc.

Unknown Pharmacy

Suthep Road, Near Mahachulalongkorn University

Pharmacy and medical supplies. Pleasant shopping experience 🙂


Beauty Supply Store

Thanin Market

Brand Names, both Western and Asian, at discounted prices.

Beauty Bay or Feel Unique or HQ Hair or Strawberry Net

Online stores with Free International Shipping.

My trusted brands from back home available for delivery to Asia! While they don’t have all my faves like Tarte or Mac, they have decent selections. Strawberry Net even has my most desired perfume: YSL Parisienne! wink wink*



Nimmanhaemin Rd.

Small grocery store filled with unique international imports. I found crunchy dill pickles here, enough said.


Multiple Locations

Grocery store for the expat. Plenty of international brands and quality foods, but you’ll pay the price for them.


The House

Moon Muang, between Soi 7 & 8

Prices: High

Also known as Ginger Kafe, The House is a combination of restaurant and trendy shops nestled in a lovely hideaway off Moon Muang. Besides being one of my favorite dinner spots, The House is also residence to Nomad, The House Shop and Ginger stores.

Nomad is more for the wealthy interior decorator: beautiful vintage and faux-vintage furniture, edgy artwork, designer vases, colorful pillows and vibrant decor.

The House Shop sells young, fresh, colorful kitchenware.

Ginger is similar to Urban Outfitters, but more expensive. I love the design of this store and the imaginative display set-ups, maybe even more than the actual products! Has many funky accessories and fabulous gift ideas. I tend to go here for inspiration on color combos and design aesthetic. Also a location on Nimmanhaemin Rd. nearer Huay Kaew.

Nimmanhaemin Soi 1 and Soi 5

Quirky boutiques on the pricier side along peaceful tree-lined sois. High-quality products and materials in unique patterns and knits. There’s a fanciful greenhouse-like shop hidden behind vines and trees on Soi 1, which brings avant-garde Mao and Chinese-themed pieces to Thailand. Across the street is an apparel/fabric shop selling very inexpensive flowy and colorful things.


20 Baht Shops

Two shops located on Chang Phuak Road near Rajabhat University. Dishes, tools, office supplies, kitchen supplies, toys, home organization, bags, small tables, slippers, etc.

Deal Extreme

Great site for electronics and home stuff, including pet toys. Free shipping worldwide!

More to come…

Original Post April 30, 2013


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