A Day as an Artisan

Let us take you to another side of the Chiang Mai, the city of temples, where artisans dominate the scene. We will visit Wua Lai Road temples to join a Lanna handicraft workshop and then learn traditional lacquerware and silverware crafts from the last disciples of the traditional arts.

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  • Details
  • Itinerary
  • Photos
  • Temples, arts, crafts, and stories. Get ready for a local insight into the artisan communities of Chiang Mai!

    This trip takes you into the lives of local artisans in Chiang Mai. The city of temples is also a town filled with hidden lost arts waiting to be explored and revived. Be part of the journey that supports and promotes these local artisans through community-based tourism!

    We will start by exploring the ancient neighborhood of Three Kings Monument on Chiang Mai's signature "rot daeng" or red taxi-truck. We then visit the unique Wat Muen Sarn temple that is covered in ornate silver artwork depicting the lives of the Buddha where we drop by the must-see local arts gallery where silversmiths combine their technical prowess and creativity into art.

    A short Lanna cultural workshop is up next which we'll make some Lanna souvenirs to take away with us. And just down the Wualai Road we're on is another temple decorated in stunning silver artworks. Wat Sri Suphan, appropriately named the Silver Temple, will host us for a tour of their ten unique schools of Thai crafts. This temple is completely adorned with delicate handcrafted silver works and it's definitely worthy of an Instagram snapshot. 

    After lunch made by our local friends, we take a short walk to Wat Nantharam temple. Wat Nantaram is constructed in typical Burmese style with gables, woodwork and lovely glass painted windows, this temple hosts another one of our favorite local artisans. The Wat Nantharam Lacquerware Group is situated in this decorative. This group will be telling us stories while teaching us how to make simpe lacquerware products. This trip is designed to help spread the traditional Thai crafts to fellow travelers like you to share around the world.

    Don't forget to use hashtag #LocalAlike this trip!

    Trip at a glance

    • Tour ancient Chiang Mai neighborhood by taxi truck
    • Visit temples enamored in ornamental silver works
    • Make your own Lanna style souvenir
    • Learn how to make simple Thai lacquer products you can bring home
    • Enjoy local Northern Thai style lunch made by our community friends
    • See lost arts and be part of the community trying to revive them

    Useful facts

    • Lunch cooked by community friends
    • Workshop costs and souvenirs for yourself
    • Refreshing drinks and snacks
    • Activities as listed in itinerary
    • Local Chiang Mai residents as your guide
    • Transfer from listed pick up and drop off point
    • Local transportation “rot daeng” truck-taxi
    • Translation staff from Local Alike
    • Local Alike Chiang Mai Guidebook
    • Travel insurance by Bangkok Insurance with coverage up to 500,000 THB
    • Personal shopping stipend
    • Repeat of any activities
    • Additional meals
    • Please arrive at the meeting point slightly earlier than 8:45 am
    • Travelers are also free to leave after 4:00 pm at their convenience with their own transportation
    • The guideline itinerary can be subject to change due to weather, accessibility, local happenings, traveler fitness and/or other unpredictable events
    • Local Alike will try our best with the locals to plan suitable replacements if itinerary is changed
    • Come with an open heart, Chiang Mai folks are very welcoming and warm people
    Meet Arnon, our field expert.
    You can also call him Pai, Arnon is our project manager and trip explorer based in Chiang Mai. He's a graduate of tourism studies from Germany and speaks fluent English and Deutsch. Talk to him just about anything, he is supremely friendly and humorous!

    Pick-up and drop-off point

    Three Kings Monument Square

    Three Kings Monument, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Guideline Itinerary

    Day 1

    8:45 AM

    Meeting Point

    Our trip explorers in Chiang Mai will be awaiting you at the Three Kings Monument Square in front of the Thai Art and Culture Hall. Look out for our signature salmon colored tees! We speak English (albeit with some funny accent) so just greet us!
    9:00 AM

    Taking the Local Taxi Truck

    We kick off the day by hopping on the signature Chiang Mai "rot daeng" or red taxi truck and take a cruise around the ancient neighborhood to learn some of the untold stories of the area.
    9:15 AM

    Arriving Wua Lai Village: Wat Muen Sarn Temple

    We arrive at Wua Lai Village, a village that hosts a cluster of unique temples. People living here are all part of the effor to conserve and restore this two hundred year old village and its artistic heritage. This will be a guided walking tour led by our friend in Wua Lai Village.
    9:45 AM

    Lanna Cultural Workshop

    The Kingdom of Lanna (Kingdom of Million Rice Fields) used to have their capital centered in modern-day Chiang Mai. The Lanna culture has a strong imprint on the daily lives and surroundings of Chiang Mai today. This tour will introduce us to the traditional Buddhist offering styles. We'll also be making some of our own Lanna styled souvenirs such as traditional Lanna flags.
    11:30 AM

    Wat Sri Suphan Temple

    A few steps down the Wua Lai Road is an amazingly elaborate piece of artwork. Wat Sri Suphan, also known as the Silver Temple, is entirely covered in handmade silver panels. Each carefully decorated and forged to illustrate beautiful Thai patterns and stories of the Buddha. We will be here to visit their ten schools of Thai crafts and also make a stop in the stunning Silver Ordination Hall.
    12:00 PM

    Lunch Under the Sala

    Lunch is served and cooked by our local friends in the area. Expect traditional Northern style Thai homemade food that is both simple and mouthwatering. Always let us know beforehand if you have special dietary requests!
    1:00 PM

    The Infamous Lacquerware Group at Wat Nantharam Temple

    Just within close proximity is an entirely different temple architecture, this one built out of beautiful gables, glass, and woodwork that resemble traditional Burmese mansions. This is where we will meet a dedicated group of artisans who make these durable yet charming lacquerwares. Hear their stories of reviving traditional art in Chiang Mai and be part of the advocates for keeping ancient craftsmanship alive.
    1:45 PM

    Make Art and Take it Home!

    Part of this tour is to get your hands-on and get to experience the actual process of making Thai crafts. Our friends at Wat Nantharam will be passing down some know-hows so we can make our own lacquerware goods to bring home!
    3:30 PM

    Feedback, Conversations, and Farewell

    We wrap up the trip with a Lanna style artwork we made and also a proudly made lacquerware product in our backpack. Local Alike's trip explorers will facilitate a final feedback session where we share our experience and stories of the day.

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