Chiang Mai’s oldest public market, Warorot (also spelt Waroros) is a great place to connect with the city’s Thai soul. Alongside souvenir vendors you’ll find numerous stalls selling items for ordinary Thai households: woks, toys, fishing nets, pickled tea leaves, wigs, sticky-rice steamers, Thai-style sausages, kâab mŏo(pork rinds), live catfish and tiny statues for spirit houses.
It’s easy to spend half a day wandering the covered walkways, watching locals browsing, and haggling for goods that actually have a practical use back home.
You’ll know you’ve arrived at the market when traffic comes to a standstill and carts laden with merchandise weave between the cars. The location by the river is no coincidence; historically, most of the farm produce sold in Chiang Mai was delivered here by boat along Mae Ping.
Immediately adjacent to Talat Warorot is Talat Ton Lam Yai, the city’s main flower market, and to the south are more bazaars, full of ‘wet and dry’ foodstuffs, fabric vendors, Chinese goldsmiths and apparel stalls. The northern end of the bazaar area is thronged by fruit vendors selling bushels of lychees, longans, mangosteens and rambutans. Săhm·lór (three-wheel pedicabs; also spelt Săamláw) – now rarely seen in the city – wait to shuttle shoppers home with their produce.