Your stay is near the end but the ultimate questions pops up – what gifts from Chiang Mai shall you bring home? A simple quest for gifts can quickly turn into an afternoon of headaches. But don’t worry, we handpicked the best gifts for you here – guaranteed easy to find and affordable:
- Handmade purse or notebook from Elephant Poopoopaper Park
How about creating a unique and memorable gift? Elephant Poopoopaper Park offers exactly this! This open air park is a mix of museum and park where visitors learn the process of recycling elephant dung and turning it into paper. At the final of the eight stations you can create your own greeting card, wallet or notebook made from elephant poo. And the best thing is: you can choose any colour and size you want, speaking, you can completely personalize it. What a great gift!
Where to get: Elephant Poopoopaper Park in Mae Rim, 25 min. north of Chiang Mai Website: http://www.poopoopaperpark.com/en/
- Fried insects with cheese or BBQ flavour
If you had to choose only ONE gift that is extraordinary, unique and causes a lot of discussions, then you should opt to buy fried flavoured insects. Not only would you hit the nail on its head with this gift, yet you would be giving something that will be remembered a lifetime. You can get a pack of fried crickets or bamboo worms at most Rimping supermarkets for as low as 25 THB. Your choice of cheese, BBQ, natural or even seaweed.
Where to get: most Rimping supermarkets
Map : http://www.rimping.com/store_locator_maps
- Scented soap
Attention: if you see a table or shelf with mangos or coconuts that almost look to good to be true, it probably is. Scented soap in shape of fruits is the latest trend across the markets here in Chiang Mai. From mangos over strawberries to avocados, these quirky soaps not only look good but also smell great.
Where to get: Saturday –and Sunday Night Market, Night Bazaar.
- Silverware from Wualai Road
Wualai Road, popular for the weekly Saturday Night Market, is the former silversmith quartier of Chiang Mai with the beautiful Wat Sri Suphan or ‘Silver Temple’ as its centrepiece. Because it’s a special but unfortunately fading tradition, gifting silver items made in Chiang Mai is a great way of supporting the existing silversmith community here.
Where to get: several shops among Wualai Road, starting from Chiang Mai Gate.
- Durian coffee
For those of you who never heard of Durian before: it’s an enormous fruit native to Southeast Asia where it’s also nicknamed ‘The King of Fruits’. But its size isn’t the only unique thing – its awful smell (some compare it to gym socks) but mild taste making Durians truly special. Now imagine a coffee paired with this smell and taste…
Where to get: gift shops and shopping malls
- Silk garments like scarves or table runners
Thai silk is among the finest in the world. Most of the silk in Thailand is produced in Chiang Mai, speaking you not only have a great selection here, but you get it at really low prices. The quality is superb while the items like scarves, table runners or ties come along in great colour combinations.
Where to get: Saturday –and Sunday Night Markets, Night Bazaar & Northern Village in Central Airport Plaza.
- Spa products
Thailand is one of the world’s foremost countries when it comes to spa and wellness. We’re not only talking about the legendary Thai massage but also everything that supplements a great spa treatment: natural and herbal products like oils (which you can also use as air purifier), incense sticks, aromatic candles and lotions.
Where to get: many superior hotels with spas, standalone beauty salons/spas like Oasis Spa or Kiyora Spa (among many others), shopping malls.
- Saa-paper umbrellas
Have you ever seen these beautiful coloured umbrellas shown on travel ads, posters, in travel magazines, etc.? Chances are high that these were produced in Chiang Mai, or more specific, in Bo Sang, a small town just outside of Chiang Mai. If you have time, plan to visit Bo Sang as it is considered the home of the Saa-umbrellas plus you can even see how these umbrellas are produced here. In addition, you have the best choice and price guarantee here.
Where to get: Saturday –and Sunday Night Market, Warorot (Chinatown) and Bo Sang (San Kamphaeng Road, about 8 km eastwards out of town).
- Tribal craft work
The various tribes in Thailand are often neglected, speaking it’s hard for the people to find any meaningful, non-labour jobs to supplement their lives. Several organizations sell handmade products from tribal people, aiming to improve the livelihoods of these communities and to offer perspectives.
Where to get: Thai Tribal Crafts, 208 Bamrungrat Road (main branch)
- Elephant pants
Okay, that’s admittedly a strange gift but for some reason, these pants are absolutely popular among many young travellers. Definitely cool and comfortable in Thailand, maybe not be worn back home except in the own four walls. Anyway, elephant pants are unique in its own way and worth to mention on this list.
Where to get: all markets, especially at the Saturday –and Sunday Night Market.