Chiang Mai Shopping
Chiang Mai is, quite simply, Thailand's major centre for quality handicrafts. The visitor need merely visit the nearest city emporium or night market to purchase an extraordinary variety of antiques, silver jewellery, hilltribe opium pipes and embroidery, Thai silks and cottons, basketry, celadon, silverware, furniture, lacquerware, woodcarvings and parasols.
A major advantage of shopping in Chiang Mai is that the visitor may watch artisans working within the city and in several outlying villages, particularly along the Bo Sang-San Kamphaeng road where, in genuine cottage industries, parasols, silk and cotton weaving, jewellery, wood-carving, silverware, celadon and lacquerware are manufactured, and number among popular purchases.
Major Chiang Mai products include:
- Cottons & Silks First-class Chiang Mai cottons and silks are of incomparable quality. Cottons and silks have innumerable fashion and furnishing applications. The largest possible selection is available in San Kamphaeng.
- Umbrellas/Parasols These are inextricably associated with Bo Sang where villagers have been engaged in their manufacture for at least 200 years. All materials, silks, cottons, sa paper (manufactured from the bark of the mulberry tree), and bamboo are produced or found locally. Visitors to Bo Sang will see literally hundreds of designs and sizes ranging from the miniature to the gigantic.
Silverware The finest Thai silverware is exquisite, and is made in Chiang Mai, where certain families have practised their art for several generations. Traditional skills and a guaranteed content of at least 92.5% pure silver invest bowls, receptacles and decorative items with authentic value. Silver shops are concentrated on Wua Lai Road, where silverware Iartisans and their families live.
Striking black and gold designs give lacquerware its visual appeal and sheen. This decorative art enhances items made of wood, bamboo, metal, paper and baked clay, in the form of receptacles, ornaments and various souvenirs.
Chiang Mai's Ban Thawai village in Hang Dong district, is a major centre of furniture making. Major woods and materials include teak, rosewood and rattan. Items may be unadorned or, especially with teak and rosewood, artfully carved in traditional or modern designs. Woodcarving is a traditional northern Thai art featured in numerous temples. In recent years, wood carving has increasingly embellished furniture, gracing screens, chairs, tables, beds, indeed anything bearing a wooden surface large enough to be carved. Carved elephants. figurines and tableware number among other popular purchases.
These include silver ornaments, such as bracelets,necklaces, pendants, hairpins and pipes of intricate design, and embroidered items including tunics, jackets, bags, purses, caps and dress lengths.
Gold Plated Orchids & Butterflies
Orchids and butterflies are preserved and plated with 24-carat gold to create unusual gift items such as necklace pendants, hairpins and earrings.
Pottery Chiang Mai is the major centre of Thailand's pottery industry. Prized items include high-fired celadon which is produced in many forms, including dinner sets, lamp bases and decorative items.