Royalty Free Sound Effects & Sound Libraries
Welcome to Chiang Mai at night. I arrived at this market around midnight, and as expected, there were no more tourists. Most of the shops on the side streets were closed, but that doesn’t mean nothing was happening. People were constantly working, cleaning up, and preparing for the next day.
I drove down the dark little alleys and parked my motorcycle near several drainages. This was the first sound that I recorded, and while recording, several motorbikes and pickup trucks with products passed by. Behind the old rusty roll gates, people were actually watching TV.
During the recording, I came across several rats, and the whole street with all these noises reminded me of an old film with Kurt Russel, “Big Trouble in Little China.” After these recordings, I plugged the DPA 4060 into the Zoom H6 recorder and walked slowly but steadily to the main market area. You will hear motorcycles passing by several times.
What I suspect is that these drivers are freelancers who drive to the main road to unload the products from the trucks and take them to the stands, and vice versa. If someone buys a lot of food, you hire one of the guys on those motorcycles, load it up, and they bring it to your truck or to your home, restaurant. I guess because I passed a group of guys who were sitting on those motorcycles and waiting.
After leaving the dark alley, I came across a 24-hour shop. A man outside the shop was cleaning the street using a broom, which created a really nice sound effect. In the background, you can hear an old air conditioner running and a tiny cicada sitting somewhere in the corner doing its thing.
I continued on, left the empty market behind me, and entered another alley. This street was pretty busy at that time. I saw a woman watching TV and listening to music. As I passed her, I encountered two men unloading products from the pickup truck.
Moving closer to the main street, which is nearest to the river, I found more vendors, people, and traffic. I saw a woman in the street unwrapping small plastic bags. I stopped next to her and recorded this sound effect. While she was unpacking and moving things, people were chatting in the background.
After I moved on, a pickup truck started its engine, and several motorbikes drove past me. Everything sounded very relaxed and calm, with no stress like during the day. I think that’s what I love about night recordings: everything is just a little more chilled.
I went back down the same alley, passed the woman with the television, and turned left to a butcher’s shop. This part inside the library had the most interesting sounds. I saw that the street was already covered with water. One person was cleaning the floor and the metal plates on which the food was prepared with a low-pressure water hose.
Another guy was playing with a metal bowl, and then there was a scream from a guy who was really fun. Another guy shuffled and crushed the ice in the trunk. Now I’m almost done with the recordings and walking along the market street, passing the guys who are sitting on the motorcycles and waiting. Several cicadas are “singing” in the background.
There are so many great markets in Chiang Mai so don’t forget your gear if you ever come here.
Who would have thought a handy sound recorder in Cambodia would lead us here?
Hi there we’re Marcel and Libby and every sound on this site has been recorded by us. For nearly 7 years, we’ve been traveling around the world recording unique sounds for others to use!
If you’re curious and want to learn more about our journey traveling full-time as sound recordists you can read on here or on CNN Travel.