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jodo Jan 31st, 2007 06:07 AM

things to do at night in Chiang Mai and woodcarving question
We've decided to spend 2 nights in town when we're in the CM area. First night, I know I'm going to the night market....there are these amazing artists who can re-create or create innovatively from a picture. (Got two grandchildren here!) Second night, my husband says he'll shoot me if I return to the night market. Is there something cultural, interesting, or whatever to do? (otherwise we can move up to the FS early.)
Also, I would love to bring home a wood carving (the wall hanging that looks like a relief)....Does anyone know a good craftsman (maybe his own shop or factory rather than the night market)

StanKase Jan 31st, 2007 06:58 AM

As for wall reliefs the town of Hong Dong about 40 minutes out of CM is the furniture and antique (be careful if an antique is 18th century and cost only $300-$400. It likely is a copy) center of Northern Thailand.
The reliefs are mixed in with the furniture. The problem is most are made of teak or soft woods and they tend to crack in cold and/or dry climates even though they say they have a protective coating. Also, shipping is quite costly. A piece we looked at had a shipping cost almost 50% of the cost of the piece and what if it does not arrive or arrives damaged? If you are talking about a small piece for a few hundred dollars that you would take with you it's not a big investment.
I assume you know the FS is 30-40 minutes away from just about anything else, though a beautiful property with good but not gourmet food, in my opinion. The in-town good more local dining would be over 1 hour RT. But it is lovely if you plan to stay there almost all of your time.
I would urge you while in CM to see Doi Suthop Temple (1/2 hr. out-of CM and Lampang Elephant Conservancy (30-40 minutes in the other direction. We found it best to go to Lampang with a driver and leave CM by 8:15-8:30 AM for the first exhibition is at about 9:30, as I remember from last year and the temps are pleasant enough early. A 1 hour elephant trek is fun after the exhibit and you could still be back in CM by 12:30 have lunch, relax and in mid-afternoon go to Doi Suthop.
FS has a few elephants but it is not the "real deal" in our opinion.

rhkkmk Jan 31st, 2007 09:16 AM

tell don to bring his 'widdling knife' and just sit at 4S on your balcony and widdle away and you will end up with a fantastic piece of art...

eurotraveller Jan 31st, 2007 09:20 AM

Why not have a nice dinner at one of the riverside restaurants? Many of them have live music.

Good View
River Ping Palace

jodo Jan 31st, 2007 12:07 PM

I'm passing all this on to Don, Bob. Of course, we can't get the knife on the plane, but I'm sure 4S will accomodate us.
StanKase: We have been to Doi Suthop on a previous trip, but it was 8-9 years ago, and I might want a return. There are no elephants at 4S Chiang Mai, but there is a rescue conservation center nearby. Thanks for the tip on the woodcarving.
Eurotraveler: Those restaurants are highly reccommended by other Fodorites, too. Any cultural shows in the evening worth going to?

sharon1306 Jan 31st, 2007 10:29 PM

Some people here have tried the khantoke dinner at the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center. I haven't actually been to Chiang Mai yet (leaving tomorrow) but that was one of the things on my list of things to do. Maybe you could look into that and see if that appeals to you.

althom1122 Feb 1st, 2007 04:56 PM

I bought a rather small wood wall hanging - closeup of a Buddha face - for less than $20 in the MBK mall in Bangkok. It's 10" x 12" and about an inch thick. Not great art, but I LOVE it. It's one of my favorite souvenirs.

rhkkmk Feb 1st, 2007 07:48 PM

joyce....the elephants near to 4S are really just a show, bathing and a ride if you want one....very commercialized..

landini Feb 4th, 2007 02:16 PM

I took a night time cooking class that included a trip to the market and cooking and eating an enjoyable Thai meal.

CFW Feb 4th, 2007 06:57 PM

I second Hang Dong for wood carvings. We bought a lovely carved teak spirit house there for about $15 over two years ago. We keep it indoors & it still looks beautiful. We also enjoyed the Khantoke dinner & especially the Hill tribe dances at the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center.

jenskar Feb 5th, 2007 06:12 AM

We stayed at the 4S last year and the hotel does run free shuttles into town. It was about 45 minutes and we managed to do enough of the night bazaar using the shuttles -- make sure you get into the main building as there are just streets and streets of tshirts, cheap crafts etc. You might want your night in CM to be a great dinner.

Do arrange your own driver to go to the elephant conservation center everyone recommends here -- rates for drivers at the 4S are ridiculously inflated -- also to go to Hang Dong. And I don't know if you're a spa person but of the spas I've tried in Asia so far, the one at the 4S though really pricey is pretty special, especially if you book a treatment at night. They pick you up in a little cart to take you there and you drive though all the grounds with lanterns in the trees. My husband was never a "spa" person till I booked a treatment for us both in a couples room there. You could have dinner afterwards on your sala in your robes and feel like sultans :)

cynstalker Feb 5th, 2007 01:05 PM

jojo: please email me at
cynstalker11 @ verizon . net so we can plan out gtg. :-)

<font color="green">Cyn</font>

cynstalker Feb 6th, 2007 05:41 AM

sry - meant Jodo!

vegggiegirl Feb 9th, 2007 11:41 AM

I would highly recommend taking a cooking class at night, if it interests you. My boyfriend and I booked a private class at Kao Hom and it was one of the highlights of our trip. Tim (female), the owner, picked us up at our hotel for the class just outside of the city in a beautiful garden setting. She also has group classes during the day, but we thought the private class gave us a great opportunity to learn more from Tim rather than having to compete with others. It was also a very romantic break from the busy night market we visited the night before. You can contact Tim through


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