Chiang Mai: a city filled with creativity, craftsmanship and curry. A visit to Chiang Mai isn’t complete without getting your fill of all three. A hankering for curry is an easy fix; you can easily satiate your hunger for gigantic, fiery bowls at any restaurant a stone’s throw away. Or you can make your own bowl of khao soi or hang ley at one of the many cooking schools in town, such as the Baan Thai Cookery School. While you are going from one curry fix to the next, be sure to appreciate the fine craftsmanship and creativity of the architecture surrounding you. The city is filled with beautiful temples; the Wat Chedi Luang was perhaps one of the most impressive and is particularly stunning at dusk.
To experience creativity and craftsmanship in action, look no further than the Sa Paper and Umbrella Handicraft Market, a short drive outside of Chiang Mai. Touring through the market you can watch all stages of umbrella making, from the forming of the wooden frame to the final stage when the delicate illustrations are painted. Of course the gift shop next to the workshop is filled with beautiful finished products for sale. And let’s be honest, a handmade and custom painted umbrella would be a better souvenir than the ill-fitting “Singha Beer” t-shirt that everyone else bought.
Even if you have no interest in buying an umbrella, or umbrellas in general, be sure to stop by and admire the skill and creativity of the ladies at the Sa Handicraft Market.