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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Umbrella workshop in Chiang Mai

During our recent trip to Chiang Mai over last weekend, with the obligatory visit to Doi Suthep, also included a visit to an umbrella workshop, not to be confused with a factory!
Although they can be referred to as 'factories', the hand made manufacture of the umbrellas does not really resemble a classic factory line of production. Hence workshop is a much better description.

Chiang Mai umbrella factory

Finished umbrella's on display, a colorful scene

With our taxi driver from the airport, we arranged a trip to Doi Suthep and for good measure (and his commission) he threw in a visit to various factories/workshops, ranging from umbrellas to silver, silk and wooden handicrafts.
Luckily for me (in contrast to my wife's opinion) we visited the only one I was interested in, the umbrella workshop. It was nice to see the lay out of the place and how the umbrellas go through stages of manufacturing.

Chiang Mai umbrella factory

Umbrella's in various development stages drying in the sun

There's a small restaurant/coffee shop and a handicraft/umbrella shop, with hundreds of different sized and colored/themed umbrellas for sale, at really good prices! We got two traditional umbrellas in a classic design, fairly big ones each only being 350.-THB. A good deal in my opinion.

Chiang Mai umbrella factory

An intriguing motive

One of the more remarkable designs is pictured above, it looked like it was not a finished product but unexpected and intrigiung nonetheless.
All the umbrellas are made out of bamboo and are available in various sizes and designs and bamboo hand fans and other items are for sale as well.

Chiang Mai umbrella factory

The shop

There are plenty of similar umbrella workshops in Chaing Mai and this one was conveniently located at a road with a couple of dozen other workshops. Instead of going to a restaurant, which I requested, our next stop proofed to be at a silk factory/workshop with a very distinguished Chiang Mai family name, well known for being a big political player during the last decade in Thailand and currently in exile. Upon seeing the name I politely told the driver that we had no interest in visiting this place and if he could please bring us to the restaurant.
Amazingly the restaurant was just another couple of 100 meters down the road and the food was excellent.

If in Chiang Mai, the visits to all the various workshops can be a great way to kill a day or afternoon, including a visit to Doi Suthep, Highly recommended!

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