Chiang Mai’s cap­ti­vat­ing con­trasts

I am not quite sure how Chiang Mai has man­aged to re­tain its bliss­ful laid-back charm while cater­ing to an ov­er­en­thu­si­as­tic tourist sec­tor, but it seems the Thais have em­braced the pres­ence of for­eign­ers, as­sim­i­lat­ing el­e­ments of for­eign cul­ture into Thai

Escape! Malaysia - - Thailand -

FOR ART-LOVERS

From draw­ing and paint­ing, to en­grav­ing, plas­ter­ing, mould­ing, lac­quer­ing and mod­el­ling, it is no se­cret that art in Thai­land is one of the most in­tri­cate in the world, known for its fine details and deep con­nec­tion to folk­lore.

Keep a look out for the glo­ri­ous or­na­men­tal mould­ings and in­scrip­tions at all their tem­ples. In Chiang Mai, the Wat Sri Suphan is a must-see. Con­ve­niently lo­cated within Wu­lai, Chiang Mai’s tra­di­tional sil­ver-mak­ing dis­trict, the glis­ten­ing sil­ver tem­ple is il­lu­mi­nated from the in­side out with sil­ver, nickel and alu­minum pan­els – a spec­tac­u­lar dis­play of sil­ver craft­work. Heads up, strict cus­toms un­for­tu­nately dic­tate that women are not al­lowed in the main or­di­na­tion hall area.

Sup­port tra­di­tional Thai crafts and take a trip to the Chiang Mai Dolls Mak­ing Mu­seum that started out as a fam­ily tra­di­tion. Per­son­ally wit­ness the process of hand­craft­ing dolls, get creeped out by a huge col­lec­tion of dolls from all around the world and learn more about Thai­land’s doll ghost cus­toms!

Fi­nally, em­brace the evo­lu­tion of the art scene in Thai­land and spend the af­ter­noon at Baan Kang Wat Artists Vil­lage. A com­mune

of shop­houses de­signed to high­light tra­di­tional and modern Thai ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments, the vil­lage was first built as a quaint and rus­tic en­clave for lo­cal cre­ative busi­nesses to show­case their handmade prod­ucts. Hous­ing art gal­leries, stu­dios and cafes, this hip­ster town can­not be missed!

TIME FOR A HIKE!

Put on some sturdy shoes and make your way to Pha Cho Canyon that emerged as a re­sult of a nat­u­ral phe­nom­e­non of eroded soil pil­lars af­ter the Ping River changed its course. Make it to the top to be re­warded with a truly spec­tac­u­lar view.

With a mod­est en­trance fee of 100 Baht (an ad­di­tional 20 Baht for a mo­tor­bike to take you around as the walk­ing dis­tance is re­ally long), the Canyon is lo­cated near Doi In­thanon Na­tional Park, about 2 hours drive from Chiang Mai. Hire a taxi to take you there if you do not al­ready have char­tered trans­port and be sure to bring snacks and lots of wa­ter as there aren’t that many rest spots within the park!

The ad­ven­ture buffs might also like to fork out some money for Zi­pline cour­ses with com­pa­nies like Zi­pline Ad­ven­tures in Chiang Mai.

BE­LOW FROM LEFT A macabre dis­play at the Chiang Mai Dolls Mak­ing Mu­seum Wat Sri Suphan glis­tens un­der the sun

OP­PO­SITE Trekking in Chiang Mai is a breeze thanks to its pleas­ant weather

RIGHT Re­mains of the old city walls

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