Monday, March 3, 2014

Travel Diary: Chiang Mai is Craft Heaven

After a couple of nights in Bangkok, PJ, Mom, Ate Ria, Amelia and I flew to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. I had been hearing all sorts of wonderful things about this place. Some of the things I was actually looking forward to were the cool weather, and having some time to relax. We stayed at the Dhara Dhevi. Nothing prepared me for the beauty of this hotel!
One of the cozy nooks in the lobby
The hotel looks like a palace, with lanna-style villas and colonial mansions (yes, we stayed in a mansion) scattered all over a vast 60 acres of land. 
This pretty thing was sitting right outside our room.
So many seating areas! I guess one could get tired of walking around so much land. :P

This was our part of the mansion: a receiving area which led to the living room, the bedroom, and half of the bathroom. The other half is a dressing room, the same size as the room you see in the third photo.Spaaaaace!!! I love space. Haha :P

Our view.
After unpacking, we headed to the cafe by the shops area in the hotel for some tea and snacks. A place as beautiful as this one obliged me to bring out my sketchpad.
We headed out in the afternoon to check out the local craftmakers in Chiang Mai. I learned a lot about the process of silk weaving, from cultivating the silkworms to making dye from natural materials. You can ask the taxi drivers to take you around to these places.
The next day, we had lunch at Salad Concept. I had a refreshing glass of ginger lemonade, and some soup. We were eating outside, so this was perfect.
Love this resto! And it's so awesome that there are a lot of veggie lovers in Chiang Mai.

After lunch, we wasted no time and went straight to the shops. Walked around Baan Tawai Handicraft Village for a few hours. They sell mostly furniture and home accessories, but there are some stalls that sell really nice bags and shoes, too.Love this eclectic shop called Ginger!

After the village, we walked the stretch of the Saturday Night Market. If you're planning a trip to Chiang Mai, make sure that you're there during a weekend, so that you'll be able to shop at the markets! The cool thing about the markets is that the makers themselves come to the market to sell (and make!) their wares. Each seller offers unique crafts, and everything is so cheap, too!
Mr. Weaver is so. freaking. cool. He weaves bowls and hats when the leaves are still fresh and pliable, then lets his creations dry.
Ms. Pompom Lady was my favourite stall at the Saturday market. I bought so much from her! She told me that she makes everything herself. She's one mean pompom-making machine!

The Sunday Market starts earlier in the afternoon, and if you're early enough, you'll catch many members of the Hmong tribe carrying their loot and setting up their booths.
It's also a great place to try out local food!
Textile from the Hmong tribe. I went crazy over harem pants, shorts, skirts, bags.
Check out these little girls' shoes and knitted plushies!
Aum Restaurant, which serves vegetarian food is walking distance from the market, too.
Okay, so if anyone is going to Chiang Mai anytime soon, please take me with you!!
I want to go back already! :P

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Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai
51/4 Chiang Mai-Sankampaeng Road, Moo 1, T. Tasala, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50000 Thailand

90 Moo 2 Baan-Tawai ,Khun Khong, Hangdong, Chiang Mai 50230 Thailand

Nimmarnhemin Road Soi 13,, Su Thep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Saturday Market (Wua Lai)
Wua Lai Road opposite Chiang Mai Gate, about 1km long, south side of Chiang Mai's Old City section. Open late afternoon till midnight. 

Sunday Market
Located in the centre of Chiang Mai's Old City section from the Tha Phae Gate to all the way down Rachadamnoen Road, about 1klm long, and spreading out down all the side streets. Open early afternoon till midnight.

65 Moonmuang Road / Mun Mueang Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand