Chiang Mai: Somphet Market for Travel Photo Thursday

Posted by on Jan 29, 2015 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Travel Photo Thursday | 22 comments

Welcome to week 212 of Travel Photo Thursday. Join me on a photographic journey of one of Chiang Mai’s smallest (but perhaps, liveliest) traditional markets; Somphet Market. Locals come to gossip, purchase local fruit and vegetables, sell their goods, and rub elbows with the tourists dropping by to experience the real Chiang Mai before heading off to cooking class.

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Somphet Market

Located at the start of Thanon Moon Mueng Soi 6, directly opposite the city’s historic moat, the market is a bustling jumble of stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables, traditional Thai food (think curry, pork, and sausage),  fish, meat, and even a few pairs of traditional Thai pants thrown in for good measure.

Popularly known as Somphet Market, as you an see from this sign, it’s “official name is Ming Muang Market. I’m not sure how long the market has been in existence, but if you wander to the back you will find a recent addition, a small museum featuring historic photos of the market and other related paraphernalia. Definitely worth a browse, and you will probably find out how old Somphet actually is!
Somphet Market, Chiang Mai Thailand

Fish on the grill welcomes you…




A cornucopia of delicious local fruit at ridiculously low prices. Here we have avocado (think $1.00 each), a bunch of bananas will set you back about fifty cents, my favorite dragon fruit, and sweet juicy mangoes. Look to the back of the mango photo and you’ll see a bag that looks like it contains doughnuts. Actually, those are fresh tamarinds. You break the skin, and the fruit inside is sweet and sticky (reminds me of dates). Tamarind juice is often used in Thai cooking.


Thai Grown Fruit, Somphet Market, Chiang Mai, Thailand


Almost every Thai dish will have lime as an ingredient, and most Thai food is served with a piece or two of lime on the side. In the second photo you have mangosteen at the front. When you open the fruit you will find a sweet white fruit that grows naturally in sections. I’m not sure what the fruit is that is behind the mangosteens. The mangosteen is probably one of the more expensive Thai fruit. A bag this size is selling for a little over five dollars (U.S.)

If you’d like to take some fruit home for your family and friends to sample, think dried. Dried fruit is a big industry here, and while more expensive than the fresh it’s still affordable and delicious. Sometimes you’ll even find some dried without sugar! (Read the labels carefully.)


Local Thailand Fruit, Somphet Market, Chiang Mai, Thailand


Delicious moo ping… (moo is pork). This is a popular breakfast food. It’s often sold from carts on the street with a small bag of sticky rice. Prices run between 5 and 10 baht per piece. This is one of my favorites! At the back on the right is sour sausage. This is a Northern Thailand delicacy, and I highly recommend that if you have the opportunity give it a try!




Purchasing fruit from friendly vendors. In front of the lady in the blue apron you can see packages of prepared fruit. Prices ranges from 10 to 25 baht and are an easy way to sample what’s on offer.




Fresh herbs and veggies…(I think the one with the yellow flower is morning glory. Delicious fried in oyster sauce!)




Prepared Thai food for lunch or dinner…






Fish on a Stick, Somphet Market, Chiang Mai, Thailand


This fresh meat vendor would be happy to sell you some fresh meat to prepare for lunch or dinner…


Fresh Meat Vendor, Somphet Market, Chiang Mai, Thailand


Of course, we can’t forget dessert. Thai desserts are yummy, but think sweet…VERY SWEET!




Perhaps a pair of traditional Thai pants…loads of colors to choose from…


Traditional Thai Pants, Somphet Market, Chiang Mai, Thailand


Don’t miss Tip’s Smoothies made to order…delicious and cheap!


Tip'sSmoothies, Somphet Market, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Travelers Tip

The market opens early, but the hustle and bustle usually starts after 8am with the first arrival of the cooking class students. Things close up early evening, around 6pm. Somphet Market is open everyday of the year. Don’t forget to check out the small museum at the back, which will give you a great history lesson in photos.

Have you been to Somphet Market, or any other Thai market? Tell us about your experience in the comments.


This is the 212th edition of Travel Photo Thursday. You can browse the archives here.


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  1. Markets are always winners in my mind, I could happily spend hours in this one. All the fruit looks so good, and so different to what’s on offer inFrance at the moment.

    • Hi Phoebe. Fresh, local, and cheap…I will miss all this amazing fruit when I head back to Korea in a few weeks. Until then, I am eating as much as I can!

  2. So many yummy temptations! Nice photos Nancie, thank you.

  3. Hi Lilli…Thank you! The fruit here is so amazing.

  4. Hi Nancie, I love markets! No markets can wrong for me – bad smell, good smell and all. I like how they give travelers good glimpse and vibes of local life. I enjoyed my photo tour of Somphet Market. It may look so traditional but apparently keeps up with modern technology – its sign has a QR code! Tough to see some delicious photos with empty stomach. I’ve been to several Thai markets in Bangkok and its outskirts. Like Somphet, I was fascinated with cornucopia of offerings from food to shoes to nail polish. I love the liveliness and colors and how inexpensive everything was. I also like that despite attracting many tourists the vibes still remained very local. Thanks for sharing more beautiful photos of Chang Mai,

    • Hi Marisol…haha…yes Thailand has definitely entered the digital age!

  5. I love Thai food and all of your wonderful pictures are making me really hungry!

    and thank you for hosting Travel Photo Thursday.


    • Hi Steve! Thank you! and it’s nice to have you here at Travel Photo Thursday.

  6. This looks like a great market and takes me back to the markets we visited in Asia with their ubiquitous little plastic bags and other improvised packaging. And the wonderful exotic fruit.

    • Hi Eileen…Asians love plastic!

  7. I love going to local markets, although sometimes the heat and the smells can be a challenge. I have never gotten used to the fact that meat is just sold off the bench like that and not refrigerated! However I love trying different fruits and I love the sound of Miss Tip’s smoothies. I could have one of those right now.
    Happy Travels!

    • Hi Jill. Agree, the un-refrigerated meat is definitely a challenge. It’s not something that I would ever consider buying. They do the same thing in the Korean market. When I want meat I buy it from the grocery store or a butcher who refrigerates.

  8. Moo ping and sticky rice for breakfast sounds wonderful. I’m not sure if I’ve been to this market in Chiang Mai. The ceiling looks familiar, but there may be many markets with that. I wonder if the fruit behind the mangosteen is passionfruit. Was it hard? I miss the very personal service I would get at wet markets. I’ve been thinking of my wet market practice of throwing all produce into one plastic bag when shopping at the grocery store in America. I’m guessing that the employee at the checkout wouldn’t like it.

    • Hi Michele! Yes, you are right. That is passion fruit. I saw it somewhere else with a sign in English. 🙂

  9. I love markets like these. It reminds me of my childhood in the Philippines. We love visiting markets and it’s such a great way to get a taste of local life. Those fruits and all the food look delicious. I could use one of those smoothies right about now.

    • Hi Mary. I never pass up a good market. I was at the Tip’s Smoothies on Sunday and have an Avocado smoothie…YUM!

  10. What an array of Thai food. I’m not too sure about the unrefrigerated meat though! Nice variety and colours Nancie!

    • Hi Kathy. I know what you mean. I always stay clear of the meat!

  11. Somphet Market looks wonderful, especially the fresh fruit and meat cooking on the grill. I’ve never been to Thailand but love going to local markets wherever I’m visiting.

  12. Visiting a local market in a new country is one of my favorite activities when I travel. I always feel like I am “in the middle of it”. It is such an authentic experience. Loved your photos!

  13. Fruit juices and smoothies are so delicious and cheap in Asia. We drank two a day every day. The markets have everything in them but we find it is so cheap to eat out that we don’t bother cooking. I do buy plenty of mangoes though!

  14. Wow it has everything for everybody, food, clothes, fruits. Amazing


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