Chiang Mai is actually a town of artists: no traveler can doubt this after having entered into one of the many handicraft centers located throughout the provinces, in which there are flowing abundances of paintings, exquisite fabrics, umbrellas, furniture and silverware. It is no surprise, therefore, that in January 2011 the governing body of Chiang Mai Homestay initiated an operation to apply for a Creative City Status with UNESCO for the province as a joint effort between the municipal authorities, the communities of Chiang Mai, and also the Chiang Mai University. Toward this, efforts have already been created to coordinate different sectors of the city’s economy, from cottage industrialists to hospitality to independent artists to build up human resources, increase jobs, and encourage the development of the arts.
While many travelers may well be more readily knowledgeable about the Night Market and the Walking Streets, both of which are within the city center and thus more conveniently accessible, you might like to consider going a little from the beaten track and attempting the Baan Tawai, an OTOP (One Tambon One Product, a treatment program to encourage and sponsor Thai artisans) village. Found on Route 108 in Amphur Hang Dong, about fifteen kilometers south from the city center, it offers lately streamlined into convenient “zones” of shops, eateries and cafes as the main street itself is home to furniture shops that sell many of the most creative furniture and home décor items found all over the world: there you can find chairs and couches in flowing abstract wood, delicate forest nymphs, and delightful bamboo lanterns. Costs are also ridiculously cheap for such workmanship, material and artistry; the only possible concern you might have would be shipping logistics, but there is no doubt that in case you’re buying furniture or decorating a whole new house then you can certainly do worse-and do more expensively-than looking at several Baan Tawai shops.
Your upcoming stop ought to be a number of the inner zones. Zones 2 and 4 are particularly popular, flourishing with little art galleries full of oils and acrylics in styles both modernistic and traditional Thai, unique pieces that may be had for as little as $20. Zone 4 also comes with a corner with upscale shops selling fantastic glassware, celadon ceramics, and a little café that offers free WiFi, decent bakery, and killer frappe coffee designed to order in addition to a small menu of traditional Northern Thai fare. The design and style of goods generally are very particular to Chiang Mai, quite distinct from that found in other regions of Thailand (or some other areas of Asia) and also the quality is consistently high: did you know that some ceramics from Whittard of Chelsea are, in fact, produced in Thailand and even directly in Baan Tawai itself?
Whilst the area is almost remote from city conveniences, there is a smattering of eateries through the entire village that can more than serve the need for light lunches and breakfasts. Pharmacies and convenience stores, including 7-11 yet others, will also be scattered regarding the zones in the event you want to get a quick drink or must top up Chiang Mai Homestay. The shopkeepers price their goods fairly, and often the salesperson coriyo the artist (or sculptor, or weaver) are certainly one as well as the same. Incenses, novelty candles, papier-mache dolls, Thai silks and a lot more can likewise be based in the village. It’s an ideal alternative to shopping therapy in air-conditioned malls, and guaranteed to offer everyone something to enjoy.