Chiang Mai is Thailand's major centre for quality handicrafts. Hundreds of shops all over Chiang Mai sell hilltribe and Northern Thai handicrafts. Besides, the town is surrounded by small cottage factories and workshops where visitors can watch artisans at work. Made with skilful workmanship, a Chiang Mai handicraft can either serve as a valuable gift or be kept as a beautiful tangible memento of your visit.
What to Buy
Silk & Textiles
Chiang Mai is famous for silk and other hand-woven textiles, especially of the hilltribes. San Kamphaeng Road is one of the best places where you can find a wide selection of silk and fabrics, ready-made and custom-made clothes.
Silk & textiles
Bo Sang umbrellas
At Bo Sang, the umbrella village on San Kamphaeng Road, you'll find plenty of hand-painted umbrellas made of delicate Sa paper (produced from the bark of the mulberry tree). Fans and other handmade products of Sa paper are also available in various designs and at reasonable prices.
Woodcarving / Furniture
Woodcarving is a traditional northern Thai art which can be seen on many temple buildings. In recent years, however, woodcarving has increasingly become an important part of furniture, tableware, decorative items and crafted souvenirs. A very popular item for tourists is carved elephants.
Among the various areas making woodcarving and furniture, the two most notable ones are San Kamphaeng and Thawai villages.
This beautiful art is made by decorating wooden or bamboo items with layers of black lacquer strikingly adorned with golden designs. Factories and shops can be found along San Kamphaeng and Chang Khlan roads.
Celadon, the unique Thai ceramic in soft green and blue tone, is produced abundantly here in many forms, including dinner sets, lamp bases and decorative items. Among several operation areas, Hang Dong county is a major one with a large number of factories.
Chiang Mai is one of the places where the finest Thai silverware is produced. Traditional skills of the silversmiths have been passed along for centuries.Silver shops are concentrated on Wua Lai Road, but some can also be found in San Kamphaeng and elsewhere.
Sa (Mulberry) Paper Products
iChiang Mai is well known for the variety of mulberry (Sa) paper products for example cards, notebooks, stationery, boxes, bags, photo frames, lanterns, etc. There are various colours with different creative designs of mulberry paper sheets. It is handmade natural fiber that sometimes flowers and natural leaves are used for decoration. Sa paper sheets can be used as a gift-wrapping paper and for many decorative purposes.
Hilltribe & Villager Crafts
The hilltribe and local people produce beautiful traditional items such as silver ornaments, colourful embroidery, hand-woven textiles and other handicrafts made of bamboo and other natural materials. These handmade products are not only of high quality but also of unique designs.
Where to Buy
Shops selling handicrafts and gifts are scattered all over the town.There are two main markets which have a wide selection of Northern folk crafts, viz. Warorot Market at the eastern end of Chang Moi Road and the Night Bazaar on and off Chang Khlan Road. The latter has long been a must-visit for all visitors to Chiang Mai.
Warorot market, locally called Kad Luang, is Chiang Mai's first shopping centre in Chinatown and a place to see real Chiang Mai. The most famous souvenir here is northern style food. Kaeb mu (crispy pig skin), mu yo (traditional Thai pork sausage), and nam phrik num (traditional northern style green chilly paste). Beyond the market on Praisani Road are dozens of stalls where hilltribe people sell various kinds of tribal handicrafts and tropical fresh fruits and flowers from the highland farms.
For taxi : ตลาดวโรรส
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar Comprising numerous stalls and shops stretching along a long section of Chang Khlan Road, this big famous night market offers many good buys including hilltribe crafts, hand-woven fabrics, clothes, silver jewellery, antiques, lacquerware, woodcarvings, pottery, basketry, and other local items. Due to the keen competition, buyers can easily make a good bargain here.
For taxi : เชียงใหม่ ไนท์บาซาร์
Wualai Walking Street (Saturday Market)
The Wualai community has been so far known for its fine silver and lacquer wares. On Saturday evenings, the Wualai Street is closed to traffic making it an open-air showcase for the area's famous handicrafts. It is therefore called Saturday Market. Don't miss a chance to shop for authentic northern silver and lacquer wares as well as other unique handicrafts at the venue. You are recommended to go there from around 4 p.m. on, when the weather is cooling down and most vendors have already set up shops. The market runs to 10 p.m.
For taxi : ถนนคนเดิน วัวลาย
Tha Pae Walking Street (Sunday Market)
Tha Pae Walking Street runs on Sundays at Tha Phae Gate and along Ratchadamnoen Road. It hence, in the same way as Wualai Walking Street is called Saturday Market, is known as Sunday Market. The Sunday Market features shopping at reasonable prices for various kinds of goods, ranging from local handicraft products to portrait paintings. Besides, local food and music are also key attractions to both locals and tourists. Expect to find activities of all kinds alongside special theme events for young and old alike. This pedestrian market starts around 4 p.m. and runs to 10 p.m.
For taxi : ถนนคนเดิน ท่าแพ
Y. Development Cooperation (YC)
Located in Soi Mengrairasmi, Sermsuk Road
The YMCA of Chiang Mai established the Y. Development Cooperation in 1986 to market and sell handicrafts and natural products, which are produced by the poor rural people in cottage-industry fashion. The YC offers a wide range of products such as ceramics, Christmas decorations, candle holders, fabrics, lanterns, jewelry, Sa paper products, wooden products, silver plate products and many others.
Neramit Custom Tailoring
Located on Ratchawong Road
Neramit Custom Tailoring, Chiang MaiNeramit Custom Tailoring have provided custom tailoring services to people from all over the world, either when they are visiting Chiang Mai or by mail order to their home. A full range of International styles are available and if you have a particular favourite, and can send us a picture by e-mail, with your measurements, we can make the style for you and forward your selection to you by mail.
Out of Town
Bo Sang & San Kamphaeng
This is the most famous centre of handicrafts in Chiang Mai. On both sides of San Kamphaeng Road, there are showrooms and factories where you can view the production of many traditional crafts, as well as purchase them. They are silk, cotton, lacquerware, ceramics, silverware, leatherware, umbrellas, woodcarvings and antiques.
For taxi : บ่อสร้าง สันกำแพง
Hang Dong - Chom Thong - Hot
The road to Hang Dong - Chom Thong - Hot is filled with many fine places selling intricate handcrafted woodcarvings, wooden furniture, porcelain and other handicrafts. Ban Thawai wood carving village is one of the well-known attractions on this route.
For taxi : หางดง-จอมทอง-ฮอด