Chiang Mai has positioned itself as Thailand’s art capital, with many designers, artists & tech start-ups forming a creative hub in the city. So even though we effectively had only 24 hours in the bustling capital city of Northern Thailand, the organiser made sure we stop at a quaint arts village – Baan Kang Wat, which is located nearby Chiang Mai University.
Centred around an outdoor communal space cum amphitheatre, the 10 unique houses in Baan Kang Wat makes up a small art village with indie shops & businesses. As we visited the village on a Sunday evening, there was a yard sale, something like an arts market happening at the central communal space from 4 to 8 pm. Because of its proximity to the Chiang Mai University (13 min drive), Baan Kang Wat has already hosted several events with collaboration from the arts students at the university, such as arts & sculpture show, film festival & photography exhibition.
Despite its small size, the village wasn’t too crowded, & everyone from stall/ shop owner to visitor looked relaxed in the arty-crafty laid-back atmosphere. There was also no pressure to make any purchase as we browsed the stalls selling all kinds of eclectic crafts & clothing. In fact, if we were given more time in the village, I would want to sit back & relax at the terraced amphitheatre just like the locals! ;Simply love the charming ambience here, with plenty of trees & greenery to “stare” into. Good for the eyes right? 🤣
Of course, how could a quaint art village like Baan Kang Wat not have anything to eat or drink for visitors? Right at the entrance of the village, there are a handful of stalls selling interesting & yummy Thai (or maybe Northern Thai, can’t differentiate haha) cuisine & snacks. Move further in beyond the centre outdoor space & one will see unique shophouses where arts & crafts shops, cafes & restaurant call home. I remember there’s a cafe selling frozen egg ice cream! Some of us tried the interesting dessert while I was busy exploring the quaint village hehe. Even if you don’t feel like munching or slurping on any food or drink, this place is great for taking lovely photos or your best Instagram-worthy shots. We had a fun time selfie-ing around too. 😛
There was a very popular food stall that visitors surely wouldn’t miss upon entering the village, selling some Thai noodle soup that looked like a cross between Japanese ramen & our wanton mee. Some of my tour mates joined the queue for a taste of the noodles, prepared by the friendly trio (featured in the photo above) who agreed to pose for the photo (before they got busy) for us. The general comment was the noodles were quite delicious.
I didn’t buy any food in Baan Kang Wat because it was very difficult to have a hungry moment during the tour (we were too well fed!) haha. But thanks to my tour mates & guide, I got to try bites of some of the food they bought, & the one dish that left a deep impression on my mind had to be the above satay with toast! While I couldn’t remember what meat the satay was, it was tender & juicy, & combined with the rich satay sauce, the taste was divine. What was interesting about this dish was instead of eating satay with ketupat like in Singapore, the Northern Thai folks had it with toast. The toast was really crispy, 👍！
Overall, I enjoyed the short time we spent in Baan Kang Wat, which is a beautifully decorated space for budding entrepreneurs to try their hands at creative business. Add the charming art village located in Wat Umong area to your tour in Chiang Mai for an interesting experience off the usual tourist attractions. I’m sure you will enjoy the relaxing time here too, especially on weekends when you can also shop for unique gifts at the Yard Sale! 🙂