The Saturday Buffalo Market of San Patong

Two water buffaloes
Picture of Frans Betgem

Frans Betgem

Frans Betgem is a Dutch veteran in the travel industry in South East Asia. He is the founder of Green Trails and Chiang Mai a la Carte, amongst others. He also is the founder and admin of the Facebook group Chiang Mai Memories.

San Patong Buffalo Market

The San Patong Buffalo Market is an open-air market that takes place every Saturday morning just south of San Patong town. San Patong (sometimes spelled San Pa Tong) is about 20km south of Chiang Mai. To reach the large area where this market takes place, you have to drive through the town. You can’t miss the market which is on both sides of road no.108.

People also call this the San Patong Saturday Market as there are more things for sale than only water buffaloes. Most people know this market as the San Patong Buffalo Market though. In Thai, this market is known as Kad Ngua  (กาดงัว) or Talat Nad Thung Fa Bod (ตลาดนัดทุ่งฟ้าบด).

Wooden cow bells
San Patong Market cow bells

Living Heritage

The San Patong Saturday Market is a perfect example of the Living Heritage of Chiang Mai. We have tried to find out more about the history of this market to no avail, but we will keep on trying. We recommend everyone who is in Chiang Mai on Saturday to visit this market. Like many markets in Thailand, this market is well underway before sunrise. We understand that you are on holiday, but we highly recommend an early departure, let’s say 0700. You won’t regret it. It will still be relatively cool when you arrive at the market. Allow at least one to one-and-a-half hours to roam around this huge market.

Woman with different kinds of fruit
San Patong Market Fruit

Why is this Market special?

Why is this market special? First of all, this is the biggest open-air market in North Thailand. Secondly, it is by far the most authentic market you will find in North Thailand. There are things for sale you will not find anywhere else. It is a feast for the eye if you like local markets. Apart from cows, oxen, and buffaloes, you will encounter exotic things like all kinds of insects, traditional medicine, clothes, young fruit trees, agricultural utensils, and so on. It is very much a rural market as opposed to the Kad Luang Market in Chiang Mai.

Woman selling fruit at the market
San Patong Market lychee seller

Combine San Patong with Lamphun

San Patong has more to offer than only the Saturday Market. We highly recommend continuing touring some other very interesting sights in San Patong District such as the Chiang Mai Doll Making Centre and Museum, the ruins of Wiang Tha Kan, and a Sa Paper village. You will be close to Lamphun, a town that predates Chiang Mai and has some wonderful sights such as its handicraft market, Wat Phra That Hariphunchai, and Wat Ku Kut. Combined with the Saturday market, it will be a perfect tour to places where few tourists go to.

If you go on one of our Doi Inthanon tours with departure on Saturday, we will stop briefly at this market.

Two water buffaloes
Buffaloes at the San Patong Market

Some facts about the San Patong Buffalo Market

If you want to visit the San Patong Buffalo Market on your own, you can do so by public transportation. There are yellow public songtaews leaving from the Chiang Mai Gate Market in Chiang Mai. It will cost you 30THB per person one way. Drivers will understand you want to go to the market.

Just make sure you are early. Around 10AM the market will become more quiet. In the hot season it can become unbearably hot. The market starts before sunrise.

The Saturday Buffalo Market of San Patong features in this tour