Covered or mentioned in this post:
Prince Royal Markets, picture framing and Eat on Earth.
I was on the hunt to find something a little different to do today as we spent yesterday house bound. Searching the internet using terms like “hidden Chiang Mai” or “Unusual Chiang Mai” is quite disappointing really because you quite often end up with a list of the same places many of which don’t fall outside the usual tourist Top 20.
Falling into this category are the main markets of Chiang Mai. Everyone, including me, has been to the Sunday walking markets, the night markets on Chang Khlan Road, the Flower markets and of course many of the little local markets that pop up everywhere in and outside the city.
Finding a market that fitted my goal for something different was the challenge. In my searching one of the more useful pages that came up was Citylife’s take on what they call Market Obscura. You can find the link HERE. Included in their list of more out of the way markets was the Prince Royal Market, referred to in another site as Lang Prince Markets. It is described as:
This on-campus market is open to all and runs every Saturday and Sunday from late morning until afternoon, around 3 or 4 p.m. Accessible via Rattanakosin or Kaew Nawarat Road, it is one of the largest second hand, retro-style markets in town, and items are sold directly from passionate collectors. You will find everything here: old TVs, spare car parts, gramophone records, used furniture, books, Buddha images, cameras, clothes, toys, posters and much more. After a day of diddle-daddling and picking up doodads that you thought you didn’t need, be sure to grab an iced coffee from the bright orange VW coffee-mobile at the end of the street.
Now this sounded like something I hadn’t yet seen in Chiang Mai and it was on our side of town so we set off to explore.
The Prince Royal is actually a private Christian school described as “serving the educational needs of over 6,000 students per year” and the name of the markets reflects that they are situated close to the college campus. I found the description of where the markets are located to be a bit obscure. This may make things easier:
The markets are between the Super Highway 11 and the River Ping you can see to the left of the 106. The road leading to them and the Prince Royal College between the 11 and the river is called Route 118, one of the “spiderweb” roads I wrote about HERE. Driving towards the river the second set of traffic lights is the junction to a cross-road called Bamrung Rajd Road, as marked on the Google Earth above, or Bumrungrat Road in reality from the street sign below nicely illustrating why using a GPS in Thailand is often somewhat frustrating.
The final clue to finding the markets, apart from the number of cars parked on the side of the road, is that you will see this landmark on the corner of Bumrungrat Road and the 118:
The markets start directly opposite this junction. I have marked the start and finish on the map but they spread into a couple of the side streets as well.
If you have ever been to a trash and treasure market in Australia or Boot sale elsewhere then this is the Thai version. The market is full of those things that were useful once, and some of the items I doubt ever had a function, mixed up with second hand clothes, Buddhist charms and food of course. Shopping is a hungry business. For the collectors out there there were stalls selling golf gear, old camera gear, specialised toys, records – those large round black things, cassettes and electrical items.
I enjoyed these markets. They were very non-tourist, which I always like, and we only saw a couple of other farang. This is Thias selling to other Thais hoping to move some unwanted gear and make a bit of pocket money on the weekend. I always love that connection with the everyday.
And…..just to prove that there is always something for everyone if you look hard enough I came across this item hidden away in a stall:
I had some friends visit in June and they were after a local number plate for a mate in Australia who collects them from around the world. We did find one when they were here but the guy wanted $80.00 for it. I picked this one up for $4.00 and will post it off where it will become a little part of Thailand on someone’s wall.
We parked the car on Bumrungrat Road and if you are looking for a picture framer this would seem to be a good place to start. There were a selection of shops just as you turned into the street on both sides of the road.
In the readymade selection many of them are of Thai royalty current and ancient. Every home in Thailand will have a picture of some sort hanging on the wall of royalty. Many calendars feature the royals too. I ended up buying a readymade picture, which was obviously designed for people like me, but it will hang in our home in Si Bun Ruang, when we build it, and be a reminder of our happy times in Chiang Mai.
We passed this young girl on the way back to the car. She was on duty handing out leaflets to people for something – it was all in Thai but it may have been a hairdresser. She was also rather shyly slipping leaflets under the door handles of parked cars. For the big four wheel drives placing them under the windscreen wipers was, for obvious reasons, a bridge too far!
Driving home we stopped off at Eat on Earth, a cafe/restaurant I reviewed in its early days HERE. It has become more established since opening in March and the gardens more developed. It is THE place, and in reality probably the ONLY place, to stop for a quiet beer in upmarket surroundings in the San Sai area of Chiang Mai.
The place has inside air conditioned areas as well as undercover tables outside. Each table has its own evaporative air unit, which the staff will turn on for you.
I was unimpressed with the meal I had last time but had another look at the menu while having a beer. It is farang orientated, although most of the customers are well dressed Thais, and the prices reflect the surroundings.
You can get a Wagyu steak for 1,100 THB or A$38.00. A New Zealand steak will cost around $20.00, so normal or cheap by Aussie standards but expensive eating for here. I wasn’t so much put off by the prices but the menu wasn’t that interesting. It is a sort of meat/gravy/mashed potato sort of selection. I am planning to try out a couple more upmarket eating places here and they will be selected on the basis of offering me things that I can’t cook at home. Steak and mashed potatoes just doesn’t do it if I am spending big money like $20.00 🙂
Thanks for reading.