As many of you will know I spent several months of 2015 living in Chiang Mai, and of course my number one priority was to check out the local thrifting spots. So, here’s my top tips on where to go for the best deals.
Free Bird Cafe
As far as I know this is the only charity shop in Chiang Mai. They take second hand donations from travellers of things like clothes, books, homeware, and then anything that isn’t suitable to donate to the local community they support (mostly because the clothes are western styles or sizes) are sold in the shop. It’s amazing for clothes if you struggle to fit Thai shapes and sizes. I’m always excited to see brands like Urban Outfitters and River Island that you can’t get locally. The prices are also brilliant – think about £2 for a t-shirt, and plenty of cheap disposable gym wear too. The stock is fully turned over very frequently so there’s always new things to look at, and I’ve had some great finds of little known brands and cute designs. They support Thai Freedom House which is a refugee centre from people fleeing Burma, which of course is a great cause. Finally, the cafe it’s joined with is awesome – loads of delicious healthy options, and lots of vegan/veggie choices too – 100% stay for lunch too.
I have no idea what these places are actually called, but there’s a whole strip of huge warehouses crammed with second hand clothes just outside of the city centre. Fair warning – these places are relatively hardcore – they’re huge and the clothes are crammed. A lot of things are dirty or damaged so keep a very close eye out for staines…. but if you can find great things you’ll be getting an absolute steal! There’s about 5 all next to each other, and whilst some just do clothes others have furniture, bikes, and suitcases etc so would be super handy if you need things like that disposably and cheaply. As you can see in the pictures most of clothes items are 10 Baht – to put that in perspective 50 Baht is £1 – I think you’ll agree that’s worth rummaging for!
Again, this isn’t it’s official name – but there’s a night market every night, opposite the entrance to Chiang Mai University. It’s almost impossible to miss so don’t worry too much about finding it. Most things there are new – makeup, clothes, shoes, etc – and I go there constantly to pick up bits and pieces, but they also have some upcycled clothes targeting the students. For example, cut off denim shorts, cords made into shorts, and mens shirts cut up into cute ladies tie ups. Definitely worth a look.
Kad San Kaew Mall
A couple of evenings a week (it’s tricky to get a handle on which days) there’s a second hand market out the front of Kad San Kaew mall. It’s a bit tricky as the forecourt is almost pitch black, but there are some good things nestled amongst the racks of junk. Worth a look if you’re in the area! I’m pretty sure this is stuff that’s picked from the warehouses so it’s a good entry level into a few of the best picks before you delve fully into the warehouse.
Have you found any?
So, these are all my favourite so far, but I’m sure there’s more yet to be discovered. Lots of people have mentioned the Prince Royal’s flea market, which I definitely need to get along too, and I think there’s some vintage in town (although that’s not so much my scene). But comment below if there’s anywhere else you recommend or want me to go check out!
Happy Thrifting 🙂