Chiang Mai Night Market Tour
We booked our food tour in Chiang Mai with Chiang Mai Food Tours, many because they offered a vegetarian option. In Thailand, it can be tricky to get authentic vegetarian food because they like to add fish sauce to everything but our guide was great in helping us avoid it.
We have started to do a few food tours when we travel as it really helps us to get out and about and sample the local delicacies. It’s also a great way to find out more about the local area from the people who know it best.
Why go on a food tour?
We paid 1100 Thai Bhat each which is approximately £25. Of course, that might seem quite expensive when you consider how cheap street food is in Thailand but don’t think of it in terms of food cost. Really, it’s not about the cost of the food, it’s the value of the tour itself. Although it is a small group tour we were the only couple that evening so we effectively had a private tour for just us. Our guide was very knowledgable and gave us loads of information on life in Chiang Mai and its history as well as the food.
We were collected from our hotel, driven around and dropped back there afterwards. All in all, I think it was pretty good value for money. Also, just to be clear, we paid for our tour ourselves so this is a genuine, paying customer review.
Until we visited India last year, we hadn’t done many food tours but we really wanted to visit the local markets and street food area and weren’t confident doing it on our own. I’m so glad we decided to do that as it was amazing and now I like to add some food tours to all our trips. We’ve tasted a lot of foods that we wouldn’t have otherwise.
For instance, we tasted durian fruit for the first time on this tour. I’ve seen it for sale before and of course, I’ve heard people talking about it. We saw signs in several of our hotels in Thailand saying ‘No Durian’ and apparently that’s because of the pungent smell. So I was a little apprehensive about tasting it but I also wanted to know what all the fuss was about.
So, is it worth all the fuss? I thought it tasted ok, a bit bland really. It smells a bit musty and apparently it is a hard smell to get rid of. To be honest, I preferred the mango which is also a fraction of the price. So I don’t think I’d bother with Durian fruit again but I’m glad I tried it.
Chiang Mai at Night
Actually Chiang Mai feels quite different at night so it’s well worth getting out and about then. We started our tour near the hotel at one of the night markets. But we also went outside the walled city and across the moat to another night market. I don’t think we’d ever have found these places on our own. Certainly, we wouldn’t have known what to order or be confident that it was vegetarian.
The night markets feel quite chaotic and are quite busy but there’s a great atmosphere. We tasted so many great foods. I love sweet-tasting dishes such as mango sticky rice and coconut pudding. In fact, the mango dishes became a firm favourite as we toured Thailand.
We also tasted a lot of savoury dishes and a few local drinks including some Thai beer and a locally brewed spirit which may not be totally legal! In fact, I was so busy tasting and sampling that I forget to take many photos so you’ll just have to take my word for it. Or, of course, try it for yourself!