In my last post, I wrote about our trip to Chiang Mai. Lots of walking meant seeing lots of things to buy and I have to admit, I was often tempted, as I saw beautiful products that I haven’t seen in Bangkok. Here are a few of my favorite things I picked up in Chiang Mai.
The most precious item I bought in Chiang Mai was a nativity from Mengrai Kilns. I had somehow come across their nativities on Instagram, which I was surprised to see, as you see very little Christian-related anything here. When a friend in Chiang Mai recommended that I visit their shop, I realized it was this shop that made the nativities. Mengrai Kilns has 3 different kinds of nativities — abstract (blank faces), regular and Thai — available in various colors. They have several different barns to choose from to go along with the set, but I bought only what is in the box (1145 baht).
My favorite shop in Chiang Mai is Chiang Mai Cotton, a textile-based store selling clothes, scarves, bags, hand towels, placemats, headbands, etc. etc. etc. The store is owned by two sisters, Goi and Jeed, who opened Chiang Mai Cotton 17 years ago. Their products are made from locally-sourced materials by local people, which is something that’s important to me when I’m shopping. I stopped in here three times and bought adorable skirts for a couple of my students, several hand towels (75-90 baht) and headbands (60 baht) and scrunchies (40 baht) for Worchihan’s mom, sisters and sisters-in-law in the village. Everything in this shop is beautiful and well-made.
I discovered Cotton Farm by chance when I walked past a beautiful old building and had to see what it looked like on the inside. Raming Tea House Siam Celadon is a café/collection of stores; you’ll find Cotton Farm’s products upstairs. Cotton Farm’s line, like that at Chiang Mai Cotton, consists of clothes, scarves, bags, etc. I bought a table runner (290 baht) and a blue and white bag (250 baht) because I am a sucker for blue and white, all day, every day.
When I travel, I always hope to find a beautiful art book to bring home and while I wasn’t expecting to find one in Chiang Mai, I did. Walking past Book Zone, I saw postcards through the door and, what can I say? They drew me in. I found a great selection of books on Thailand and southeast Asia; the best one was Lanna Colonial: A Return to Elegance (850 baht — expensive!). Part of me wants to tear out all the pages and hang them on the wall.
Of course I also bought the beautiful postcards (25 baht) I saw through the door. I’m not sure who drew them, but if I find out, I will update this post.
I’m always looking out for rattan baskets and trays in Bangkok — I found lots in Chiang Mai. I bought 2 trays (big: 120 baht; small: 50 baht) from Wye Numpueng.
I also found 3 little baskets (55 baht each) at JH Kitchenware that I’m planning to hang in a group on the wall.
At the Sunday walking street, which I was generally not impressed with, I found a little shop called Yaaboon with beautiful clay earrings. I definitely wanted to buy more than one pair.
Lastly, I knew I would be visiting Playworks, a Chiang-Mai based art brand and hands-down best store for souvenirs in Thailand, during our trip. The Playworks “shop” in Bangkok is nothing more than a big kiosk at Central World, so I was excited to go to their actual shop in Chiang Mai. I bought a calendar (390 baht), a Chiang Mai map print (90 baht) and lots of postcards (25 baht).
So there you have it. There are a lot of great things to buy in Chiang Mai so you better make a budget!