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
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