During our day trip to Doi Inthanon we briefly stopped at what our guide called the Monks’ Market, a feast of colors, handicraft and tantalizing fruits, and one of the best things to do in Chiang Mai. As local markets are always a great way to delve into the local culture and also one of my very favourite places to visit in any country I’m traveling to, I found this colorful food market managed by Thai monks a truly pleasant surprise along the way.
Quite active in this part of Thailand, Buddhist monks, alongside their famous “monk chat“, manage also this market, now listed as one of the things to do in Chiang Mai, the revenue of which goes part to their monk life, part to the Karen people who made some of the products, and part to charity.
Truthfully, it did look like a tourist attraction, but like all shopping stops, it did also enshrine some authenticity.
First of all, the products. I bought rice and dried and fresh fruits and everything was nothing less than delicious. I also bought some handmade bags, products from the Karen people’s tradition, and they were finely woven and with good material.
Second observation: the prices. While I’m in no position to say whether they were cheap or expensive compared to normal Thai prices (I tend to opt for the latter), they weren’t excessive, and if tourists can afford to pay a little more than locals, why not. And for the record, I bought quite a lot and I didn’t go bust.
Even though a clear shopping stop, I do think this small open market is to be listed among the things to do in Chiang Mai.