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.
Silk & Textiles
Chiang Mai is famous for silk and other hand-woven textiles, especially of the hilltribes. Sankamphaeng Road is one of the best places where you can find a wide selection of silk and fabrics, ready-made and custom-made clothes.
At Bo Sang, the umbrella village on Sankamphaeng 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 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 Sankamphaeng 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 Sankamphaeng 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 Sankamphaeng and elsewhere.
Sa (Mulberry) Paper Products
Chiang 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.
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. Wararot 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.
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.
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.
Bo Sang & Sankamphaeng
This is the most famous centre of handicrafts in Chiang Mai. On both sides of Sankamphaeng 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.
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.