The Cost Of Buying Clothes And Shoes In Chiang Mai

The Cost Of Buying Clothes And Shoes In Chiang Mai

Whether or not you are a shopaholic, if you are going to be moving to Chiang Mai, you’ll need some new clothes at some point. Hard as it may be to believe, you might find you have more choice here than in the consumer-centric west!

The good news is, much like eating out and renting a condo, there are options for buying clothes that will satisfy any budget. 

Thailand has long been known as the country that if you wanted to backpack here, you could just turn up with your passport and wallet and buy everything else you’d need for far less than at home – especially clothing.

Local Markets

Most markets – be it the big night markets or in small, local communities – will have stalls selling clothing.

It is no exaggeration to say that you could fit yourself out with a perfectly acceptable outfit for 100 baht. You might be wearing something second-hand – or vintage as it could be marketed as – or made in one of the many clothing Asian factories that export to big brands around the world. You’ll have something more than acceptable to walk around wearing in Thailand, though.

Most markets will have traders who have crafted their own clothing – a lot of the time using traditional methods – and you’ll find perfectly acceptable (and unique!) handmade garments from around 50 baht. At the same time, you can expect to pay more than 500 baht for high quality, handmade dresses and coats.

Simply put, if you are on a tight budget, need a throwaway t-shirt, or just don’t really care what you wear, head to your nearest market.

Vintage/Secondhand Stores

The Cost Of Buying Clothes And Shoes In Chiang Mai
Vintage/Secondhand Stores

Thailand has a huge used/preloved clothing market, and Chiang Mai has amongst the highest number of outlets around.

Every neighborhood will have at least one secondhand clothing store, many with racks and racks of branded and non-branded clothing.

You’ll find good quality, washed t-shirts or shorts for as little as 20 baht in secondhand clothing stores in the predominantly Thai neighborhoods. Genuine branded clothing may cost a few baht more, but there are some real bargains to be had whatever you are looking for.

Shop in the old town, or the more foreigner-driven parts of Chiang Mai, and prices will be a little higher. You are, however, never far away from a 50-baht, preloved t-shirt!

There is also a thriving market for genuine vintage clothing in Chiang Mai. Some of the stores and stalls in markets are owned by people who really know the value of genuine vintage garments, but you will still find the prices to be lower than the equivalent in the west.

Shoes are no different. There are stores in Chiang Mai who only sell used shoes and sneakers. 100-baht budget? No problem.

Several shops specialize in vintage sneakers in fact, where a classic pair of Adidas might only set you back a few hundred baht. If you’re paying more than that make sure you know what you are looking for, however. There are plenty of interesting versions of some big-name brands around!

Shopping Malls

The Cost Of Buying Clothes And Shoes In Chiang Mai
Shopping Malls

The main shopping malls in Chiang Mai offer a little more comfort and westernism in atmosphere and shopping.

If you are a brand-magnet, or just prefer the assured quality of your favorite label, then head to the nearest mall. Most popular brands – and several luxury ones – have stores in the malls or are on sale in fashion stores. Central Festival, out in Fa Ham, has the largest choice for international clothing brands.

Don’t expect to find the savings on branded clothing that you might across many of the other cost of living savings you find in Chiang Mai. The prices of your favorite Nike running shoes, Chanel handbag, or Levi’s jeans are going to be similar to those in most other countries around the world.

With import duty, and the pricing control that worldwide brands have, there are few countries that offer significant price savings on their products, and Thailand is no exception.

What the shopping malls – and the big superstore locations – do offer are discounted clothing stalls and stores, alongside the recognized brand stores. You’ll find stalls selling brand new t-shirts for 100 baht or less, shoes for 20 baht a pair, and shorts for 100 baht dotted around the lower floors of most malls around the city.

Yes, it’ll be marginally cheaper to shop for garments in the markets, but you’ll be doing it in the Chiang Mai heat!

Tailored Clothing

The Cost Of Buying Clothes And Shoes In Chiang Mai
Tailored Clothing

One of the rites of passage when visiting Thailand has long been making a visit to a tailor. If you’ve not been duped into a tuk-tuk tour for 100 baht and had a forced stop-off at a suit-making shop, then you’ve not been doing it right!

Gone are the days of getting a three-piece suit for 2000 baht, but you will still find that having garments made to order can offer excellent value.

Now, we are not advocating for the quality of every tailor in Chiang Mai, but with a little research and word of mouth you will find some excellent value, made-to-measure clothing.

Once you’ve found your tailor of choice, don’t be shy when it comes to negotiating, but even without doing so you will find you can get well made shirts for 500 baht, dresses for 3,000 baht, suits for 5,000 baht, and even handmade leather shoes for 1,500 baht. More established and reputable tailors – and better-quality fabrics – will often mean more than doubling those prices, but you are getting made-to-measure clothing for a fraction of that of many big cities around the world.

Whatever your budget – or need – for a wardrobe upgrade you will find it in Chiang Mai so pack light and embrace the local fashion trends!

To find out more costs of living in Chiang Mai, here are a few articles that will shed some light on the affordability of moving here:

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