We’ll 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 (called songthaews) that ride around town. We’ll ride one just the locals do to reach Baan Kang Wat, an artisans’ village that’s considered the hidden gem of Chiang Mai!
You’ll get to browse for artwork made by local artists — you’ll 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.
We’ll then grab a delicious traditional Thai lunch. You’ll get to taste delicacies such as chicken satay with peanut dipping sauce and cucumber salad, khanom cheen (or jeen), which is white noodles with curry, and naam 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 and fresh orange.
After lunch, you’ll 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, we’ll 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 that’s giving employment opportunities to blind locals. (Oil and herbal massages are also available for an extra cost.)
Shopped out, fed and stretched, we’ll finish our tour up here. A local songthaew will 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.