Image courtesy of how2travelsmart.com
Chiangmai is definitely at the top of my list when it comes down to some of my favourite places to visit in Southeast Asia. Just under a three-hour flight from KL, it’s the perfect destination for a quickie getaway and there are plenty of affordable flights that you can book year-round.
I love the fact that it’s incredibly diverse and has something for everyone. There’s plenty of parks and waterfalls for the nature buff; street markets, quirky shops and malls for the shopaholics, mouth-watering street food and unique dining spots for the hardcore foodies; and for the history and culture buff, Chiangmai definitely has no shortage of beautiful temples and heritage sites.
Another reason to put Chiangmai on the map in my book is that it’s also a fantastic destination to visit if you love the arts. Considered by many as the cultural capital of Thailand, Chiangmai is a hub for designers, artists and creators from all walks of life to come together and share their work within a close-knit and welcoming community of creatives.
So the next time you’re in need of a little culture trip, we definitely suggest heading to Chiangmai but not before checking out Saleduck to score some wallet-friendly deals on flights, hotels and more for a budget-friendly trip.
To get you started, here are some of the best places to visit to get up close and personal with Chiangmai’s arts scene.
1# Rachadamnoen Road
Nestled amidst the old city, Rachadamnoen Road is close to the Tha Pae and boasts quaint walking streets and alleys that are wonderful to explore. There are many Wats within walking distance and it is also close by to the Arts and Cultural Centre. A popular spot for travellers and backpackers, you’ll find plenty of cool hostels, bars and streets lined with peddlers selling handicrafts, artisanal organic beauty products and interesting knick knacks. There’s also an underground market that comes alive at night and if you’re lucky, you just might find a little tucked away section that houses several small shops selling beautiful original artwork by local street artists.
Image courtesy of Gallery Seescape
2# Gallery Seescape
Perhaps one of the most recognised galleries within the Nimmanhemin district, Gallery Seescape is a design shop, art gallery, cafe and artists residence all rolled into one. Founded by artist Torlarp Larpjaroensook, this experimental art space occupies a cosy little nook and is fairly unobtrusive with its shady open spaces and sparsely decorated setup. Step inside however and you’ll be immediately charmed by its DIY aesthetic and calming, communal vibe. It feels almost akin to stepping into the home of someone familiar.
Chiangmai’s contemporary arts musuem, MAIIAM inhibits a glistening mirrored building and houses exhibitions from Thailand’s contemporary art masters. Bear witness to sculptures, installations, photographs and paintings from a slew of emerging and seasoned artists from the Kingdom. Exhibitions change every four months and visitors are required to pay an entrance fee but believe us when we say that it’s well worth it. While this museum may not necessarily appeal to the layman, lovers of progressive, contemporary art will find this place ticking all the boxes. There’s also a small gift shop for those of you who want a little keepsake from your visit.
Image courtesy of TripAdvisor
4# The Meeting Room Art Cafe
For something a little bit more laidback, the Meeting Room Art Cafe does double duty as a restaurant and art gallery where it hosts regular exhibitions by solo and group artists, often showcasing work that run the gamut from printmaking, to mixed media to sculptures to photography. Often utilised as an event space for live gigs, talks and screenings, we think that this is the perfect spot to have a light meal while meeting and mingling with Chiangmai’s art set. Another massive selling point here is the massive collection of books that line the walls of The Meeting Room’s interiors.
5# Documentary Arts Asia
Discovered on the basis of serving as a platform to support Asian filmmakers, photographers and other documentary artists from Thailand, Myannmar, Malaysia, and more, this gallery is devoted towards shedding light on and creating exposure for the world of documentaries. From exhibitions to screenings to workshops to festivals, Documentary Arts Asia is a fantastic place to discover and celebrate this growing and yet, still underrated artform.