It doesn't take long to see that Chiang Mai is booming. Trendy lifestyle shops and great coffee is popping up everywhere. We got surprised by how many young hipsters brought 'handcrafts' to the next level. Traditional art combined with new techniques, made this city super interesting. We're fully inspired to design a brand new collection.
When visiting Chiang Mai, for sure plan a visit at the Nimman Area. This new trendy part of Chiang Mai, is located north/west of the old city centre. Nimman is where the cool kids hang out. Designer clothes, good quality restaurants, the best nightlife in Chiang Mai and awesome coffee shops are just some of the qualities that makes Nimman a very attractive place to live. In this area you'll find many new build apartments and 'long stay' rental opportunities.
Think Park is one of those cool places full of new designer clothes and trendy handcrafts. Fashion designers and artists created there own little lifestyle shops, fully packed with the coolest stuff. Macrame jewelry, handmade soaps, pop art, wooden home decor, ukeleles (mini guitars), frida kahlo paintings & tie dyed clothing. They made some great graffiti art on the walls which makes the whole environment super creative.
When visiting Think Park, for sure also a walk a bit around the many soi's (small side streets of the main road). You'll find more lifestyle shops and coffee spots. We bumped into this group of friends, who named themselves 'the gentleman club'. These Dapper Styled man, riding on a Vespa scooter and were making pics of themselfs with vintage camera's.
Our favorite coffee and food hotspot was 'Local Cafe'. This cafe is hard to miss, because when walking around you will bump into a huge cat, wearing a Chanel bag, which is in front of this place. Specially Chinese girls seem to like this cat a lot, as we saw at least 50 of them posing with it while copying the pose of this cat. Quite entertaining to us!
We were amazed by the creativity of this cafe. They have some huge portret photo's, a wall full of fashion illustrations and many more other artistic details. The young hipster staff that's working there speaks english quite well. We specially enjoyed the nineties R&B and HipHop that was coming through the speakers.
They have a fusion of Thai, American, Japanese and English cuisine. Which makes this place a perfect hang out. Our favorite was the Iced Latte, the Apple Iced Cubes drink and the Berry Cheesecake. And how nice to know that everybody including animals are welcome in this place!
Night Out Market
Every friday night, in front of the Maya Hall, you'll find the 'Night Out Market'. At this market you'll see a nice mix of tourist souvenirs, trendy young designers brands and fresh baked food. We specially liked it a lot, that some artists bring their work gear with them, and create on the spot. We saw a guy making leather goods, 2 girls making the cutest notebooks and a couple that was creating jewelry with the macrame technique.
The goods were clearly made with a lot of effort and eye for detail. We loved the fact that they use a lot of natural fabrics and materials as cotton, linnen and wood.
Maya Lifestyle Shopping Centre
This luxury warehouse is for sure the most exclusive one you'll find in Chiang Mai. The building has a geometric facade which is covered in led lights which are changing in color. Specially at night, this looks super nice. It contains over 220 Thai and international shops presenting unique high-end labels and upcoming designer brands. On the third floor there was a special booth for upcoming and innovative artists which we like the most. Handmade natural skin care, exclusive illustrated postcards, super cute kids clothing & beautiful handmade pottery. When starting to get hungry while shopping, just eat your own pancake face.
Again we were so amazed by all the effort and eye for details. We loved the t-shirts with hand made embroidery. We even saw clothing which was natural colored by leafs and treated with Essential Oils! The smell of these garments was super nice. The designer told us, the smell would last for at least 25 washes.
So when we thought it couldn't get better, the last week of our stay Maya Mall opened a 'Makers Lab'! A lab full of 3-printers, lasercutters, digital embroidery machines, textile printers and lock machines. This is designer paradise! For super reasonable prices you can create your unique designs.
We stayed in this super creative and inspiring neighborhood for a total of 6 weeks. We talked with many designers, artists and shared ideas. New designs popped up in our heads and we are ready to design a brand new collection ourselves! We're heading up to Pai now, a small hippie village up in the North of Chiang Mai. Surrounded by beautiful nature, we can relax and start sketching. To Be Continued!