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Chiang Mai Arts, Coffee, Tea and Cooking Classes

wandering along Nimman Soi 1 for the annual art and design promenade every December

Chiang Mai is a heaven for Arts and Crafts, Textiles, Coffee and Tea shops, and
of course Food which is everywhere!

Night Market:
Most visitors start at the Night Market which is open every evening.  This has become very commercial over the years with stalls extending along Chang Klan Road from the Main White Night Bazaar building.  Down the main road, you also come into the Anusarn Market filled with more crafts stalls, food stalls as well as a Cabaret.
Loi Kroh Road from the Night Bazaar , leads down to the Ping River where you will find some nice upscale craft galleries, and coming into The River Market restaurant which is a relaxing dining venue.

Day Market:  ( known as Talaad Warorot or Kad Luang)
This is where the locals go and where you can get lost in rows and sois of stalls and shops selling everything from fabrics to textiles, ethnic handicraft, household items, food and more food, fruits and the lovely Flower Market which stretches along the Ping River.
The Flower Market is open well into the night when it’s cool.

Nancy Chandler’s MAP will be most helpful to get you oriented.

Cross the river to Wat Gate

From Talaad Warorot and the Flower Market,
there  is a foot bridge crossing the Ping River to the Wat Gate area.
Here you will find old Chinese shop houses converted into galleries and coffee places. And where you can also find the original plantation home of Louis Leonowens, the actual son of Anna and the King of Siam.

Here are some other lovely places to check out:

WOO Cafe and Gallery: very welcoming staff and service, tea, coffee and divine cakes amidst bouquets of gorgeous flowers.

The Gallery Restaurant:   wander through the craft gallery to their lovely space by the river for dinner.

Sop Moei Arts: beautiful handwoven craft by Karen weavers:

Elephant Parade House
where you can hand paint an elephant to help contribute to a brighter future.

Time for tea?
Vieng Joom Om Tea House – over 100 different teas served on the riverfront:

Wat Ket Karam or known as Wat Gate:


Wat Gate is another lovely temple to visit. Coming across the foot bridge, you will see the white gates. Wat Gate is dedicated to those born in the Chinese Zodiac Year of the Dog. Late afternoons, locals come to feed the dogs staying at the temple.  The back side of the viharn is done in beautiful glass mosaics depicting the Tree of Life. Within the grounds is an Old Museum filled with old Chiang Mai artifacts and photographs.

137 Pillars House and the home of Louis, son of Anna.
Tucked down a soi behind Wat Gate is the beautiful 137 Pillars House Hotel, whose owners restored the old plantation home in which Louis Leonowens, the actual son of Anna from Anna and the King, had once lived. This former teakwood home now serves as the lounge and dining room where you can imagine the days when the first foreigners arrived in Siam, not by airplane, but by steamship.  King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), who as Crown Prince, was tutored by Louis’ mother Anna at the royal court, had remained close friends with Louis and in 1881, King Chulalongkorn invited Louis to return to Siam to join the royal cavalry.  This was also the time that westerners were allowed to set up companies. As a result of the Anglo/Siamese Bowring Treaty, the East Borneo Company was established in the 1880s allowing the British to cut and trade Thai teakwood. Louis Leonowens became the managing director of the East Borneo Company for a brief time before setting up his own trading company, Louis T. Leonowens in 1905- a company which still bears his name in Bangkok.
It was said that 600 elephants had once worked for the East Borneo Company dragging the teakwood logs to the river.  Where the foot bridge opposite Wat Gate is today, was formerly the landing called Tha Chang
( Elephant Landing). The logs were shipped down the Ping River which flows into the Chao Phraya River to Bangkok- a journey taking months.
Louis Leonowens returned to England in 1906 where he died in 1913.
During World War II, the Japanese occupied the former East Borneo Co. Home. The eldest daughter of Scotsman, William Bain, who later purchased the house, sold it to the developers of 137 Pillars House.

Hinlay Curry– next to 137 Pillars House, this long-established homey place has yummy food at reasonable prices along with a new bakery.

The Ping River area comes alive at night at the live music and bar clubs such as The Good View and Riverside.

Wawee Coffee has a nice relaxing branch next to The Good View with indeed a lovely view of the Ping.

Chiang Mai’s Coffee and Tea Culture
Chiang Mai is full of coffee shops and one day, I should get around to a dedicated Coffee shop page!

Akha Ama Coffee:
Coffee lovers will appreciate learning about Lee- a young Akha man who has brought the coffee from his village in Chiang Rai to the world.

A convenient branch is on Rachadamnoern Road just down from Wat Phra Singh. The original coffee shop with a cozy feel is located in Santitham on Hussadhisawee Soi 3-  closed on Wednesdays.
You can also join a Coffee Journey back to Lee’s village in Chiang Rai:
More on:

Nimmanhaemin Road  (Nimman Area)

The sois off Nimman are filled with new and trendy shops, galleries and cafes- with new places opening each month!

Free Bird Cafe-  support Shan refugees by enjoying a farm-fresh vegetarian meal, coffee or desserts.
Chiang Mai’s first ZERO Waste Cafe and Shop!
NEW LOCATION on Sirimangkalajan Soi 9.
Also supporting Thai Freedom House Learning Center:

Nimman Soi 1 is the long-established soi for high quality crafts and textiles.
Each early December, Chiang Mai artisans come out to showcase their new creations for the Nimman Art and Design Promenade held here.

The traditional weaving arts is a very important part of local culture.


Patricia Cheesman Naenna Studio:
Beautiful handwoven textiles and clothing produced with natural dyes.

Studio Naenna’s shop called Adorn is on Nimman Road Soi 1.
Patricia Cheesman has lived in Asia most of her life and has conducted research on Lao-Tai textiles for over 30 years. Lecturer at Chiang Mai University Thai Art Department, and advisor to the weaving department of Thammasat University and Crafts Council of Australia, Patricia continues to conduct worshops at her Studio Naenna.
Located in the quiet oasis of Chang Khian off Huay Kaew Road on the way to Chiang Mai University and Soi Suthep.

You’ll need a driver to get out here. Look on Nancy Chandler’s map.
More information on exhibits and workshops and on Patricia’s book on  Lao Tai Textiles:

Cooking Classes:

Thai Farm Cooking School- spend a day out of the city:

Zabb- E- Lee  Thai Cooking School located within the moat.

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