11 Weird And Wonderful Souvenirs You Can Buy in Chiang Mai's Street Markets

Chiang Mai night market | © Christian Haugen/Flickr
Chiang Mai night market | © Christian Haugen/Flickr
Photo of Iona Proebst
22 November 2017

Venturing around Chiang Mai’s street markets will take you on a magical journey discovering the weird and wonderful things on offer. We’ve compiled a list of a few of our favourite and more unusual things you can buy in the city’s markets.

Fried insects

If you’re feeling peckish why not sample the local speciality of fried bugs? These crunchy snacks are nutritious and (some would say) delicious.

Fried insects | © Drewes Zuur/Flickr


Thai’s are creative when it comes to recycling waste. A carefully crafted Thai tuk-tuk made out of old soft drink and beer cans is the perfect souvenir to take back home. A great ornament for a kid’s bedroom back home.

Colourful lights

Looking for some cute and quirky things to bring a taste of Thailand into your home decor? Thai street markets are a great place to pick up beautiful lights to illuminate your home. Bubble string lights are very popular as are lights carved from coconut shells.

Colourful bubble lights | © kat nienartowicz/Flickr

Thai silk

Thai silk is world famous and for good reason. This high-quality silk is luxurious and makes for great gifts for loved ones. Thai silk is also very affordable compared to silks you are likely to find in your home country. While you’re buying something for friends and family, why not treat yourself too?

Carved soaps

Stop and watch as a local stall vendor delicately and skillfully transforms humble soap bars into magnificent works of art. The soaps are usually carved into colourful flowers and are sold in painted wooden boxes.

Soap carving | © Connie/Flickr

Lanna baby clothes

Northern Thai inspired baby clothes are simply adorable and make excellent presents. Choose the Lanna style outfit complete with elephant tail at the back or the cute t-shirt with 3D elephant ears, you’ll be in the good books for years to come.


We all know durian is an acquired taste, you either love it or hate it. Durian’s pungent smell wafts across markets and blends with other smells of chilli and incense.

Durian | © Andrij Bulba/Flickr

Elephant pants

Everyone has got to have a pair of the trusty Thai elephant pants. These pants come in an array of styles and prints, however, the elephant ones give them their name. Not only are these cotton plants perfect for hot weather, they are also comfortable and make excellent travel, yoga or pyjama pants.


Take the delicious flavours of Thailand back home with you. In many Thai markets, you can pick up spice packs to make some of your favourite Thai dishes.

Thai spices | © Kent Wang/Flickr

‘Friendship’ bracelets

Friendship bracelets, or so they appear at first sight, are sold at many Chiang Mai street markets. On closer look, these bracelets are not as innocent as first thought as they are embroidered with words and phrases that are too indecent to write here!

Hill tribe bags

If you like the tribal bohemian look, you’ll love the beautiful and colourful bags made by Thailand’s diverse hill tribe communities. Each ethnic group has unique designs and colours which tell the story of their cultures and customs.

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