Discover Chiang Mai’s December delights
Chiang Mai, Thailand’s “Rose of the North”, has long been celebrated for its impressive arts and crafts. Quaint textiles, silver, and ceramic studios dot the walled city’s picturesque and temple-lined lanes, and the creative energy even extends to Chiang Mai’s neighboring Lamphun and Lampang Provinces. The opening of the MAIIM Museum of Modern Art further enhanced Chiang Mai’s reputation as the country’s contemporary art and design hub.
At once laid back and adventurous, Chiang Mai creatives are known for their willingness to experiment and innovate. The best time to tap into the city’s creative milieu is December, when Chiang Mai shows off its creative energy with three crafty, design-centric events.
Chiang Mai Design Week
2-10 December 2023
Slated for 2-10 December 2023, the ninth edition of Chiang Mai Design Week is a dizzying line-up of workshops, talks, installations, crafts and food markets, and live music. This year’s theme — “Transforming Local” — encourages exhibitors and attendees to mull over ideas related to adapting, growing, and innovating within and beyond local boundaries. Over 150 creatives are expected to take part, and exhibitions, pop-up crafts, food markets, and music shows will be held across key ‘creative districts’ or neighborhoods, including the Three Kings Monument in the old city, Chang Moi (near Thapae Gate), San Khampheng, and Nimmanhaemin.
Nimman Arts & Design Promenade (NAP)
5-11 December 2023
Nimman, a hip neighborhood with charming boutiques, restaurants, cafés, and bars, is home to NAP, one of Chiang Mai’s best-loved crafts fairs. During the fair, decorative lights, street food trucks, and stalls teeming with locally-designed handicrafts, clothing, jewelry, ceramics, and hill tribe textiles line the length of Nimman Soi 1 and spill into One Nimman open-air mall. The family-friendly event includes plenty of food, music, and hands-on craft workshops. This year, the annual festival is scheduled from 5-11 December and promises to be as exciting as years past.
Muan Muan Market @ Jing Jai Central Market
14-17 December 2023
Nearly two years ago, Thai retail powerhouse Central Group took over the homegrown, bohemian Jing Jai Market and transformed it into a thriving creative district. The 28-acre market boasts over 500 Thai and international boutiques and restaurants, galleries, an expansive food hall, and a sea of pop-up stalls selling contemporary and traditional handicrafts, textiles, apparel, lifestyle, and home goods. The best time to visit the market is on the weekends and during the annual Jing Jai Muan Muan Market, scheduled this year from 14-17 December 2023. During the MuanMuan amps up the market’s standard offerings with even more craft vendors, along with a smorgasbord of local food hawkers and music venues.
The Mango Art Festival at De Siam Antiques is part of the diverse art, craft, food, music events held during Chiang Mai Design Week from December 2-10, 2023
Text BY Champa Meuanglao
PHOTOGRAPHS BY Chiang Mai Design Week, Nimman Arts & Design Promenade, and Jing Jai Central Market