Well kick off your Chiang Mai shopping tour the most local way we can: by riding on local transport! In Chiang Mai, the public transit system is a collection of red flatbed trucks (calledsongthaews) that ride around town. Well ride one just the locals do to reach Baan Kang Wat, an artisans village thats considered the hidden gem of Chiang Mai!
Youll get to browse for artwork made by local artists youll find handmade projects such as ceramics, quilts, watercolour paintings, woodwork, terrariums and more. Everything has been made by local Thai people, making for far better souvenirs than the mass-produced knock-offs often found in market stalls! Browse the different workshops and feel free to stop and chat with any of the artisans whose work strikes your fancy.
Well then grab a delicious traditional Thai lunch. Youll get to taste delicacies such as chicken satay with peanut dipping sauce and cucumber salad,khanom cheen(orjeen), which is white noodles with curry, andnaam ngiaw, which is a northern-style, spicy pig blood-based curry. There will also be a selection of herbal drinks with flavours such as lemongrass, Asiatic pea, butterfly pea or orange juice.
After lunch, youll have the option to visit the Northern Insight Meditation Centre of Wat Rampoeng, to see Buddhist monks in meditation. Note that anyone who wishes to visit the centre must be dressed conservatively, with your knees and shoulders covered.
Finally, well finish up our tour at a local charity that trains blind masseuses. Relax and unwind with a one-hour body or foot massage while supporting a program thats giving employment opportunities to blind locals. (Oil and herbal massages are also available for an extra cost.)
Shopped out, fed and stretched, well finish our tour up here. A localsongthaewwill take you back to your hotel or the meeting point, but before you go, be sure to ask your local guide for more tips on what to see and do in Chiang Mai.