Celadon Shopping in Chiang Mai, Thailand

August 1, 2016 at 11:14 pm

] Celadon Shopping in Chiang Mai, Thailand

One of the highlights of our trip to Chiang Mai was a visit to Baan Celadon. I knew very little about this unique pottery, but another woman in our group praised the beauty of Celadon so highly we knew we had to hit it up. Celadon is a form of pottery that originated in China. It was favored by royals long before the traditional blue and white work we associate with Chinese vases today. Celadon refers to both the pale jade color and type of glaze used on both earthenware and ceramics. The first known works of Celadon in Thailand date from the 13th century and were created by the Lanna people of northern Thailand, hence it’s popularity in Chiang Mai. There are several Celadon factories in Chiang Mai and all have excellent reputations. We toured Baan Celadon and were in for a treat!

Celadon Vase Painting

Celadon Vase Painting

The minute we walked through the door we were graciously greeted by English speaking women in traditional Thai dress. We happily agreed to take the tour. We learned that the clay used today is still sourced from local quarries and is fired in kilns created at the beginning of the 20th century. Some of the work is cast in molds, but many pieces are hand-thrown on a potter’s wheel. After the pieces have sufficiently dried, some are hand painted using very colorful natural dyes. It was fascinating to watch these huge pieces being intricately painted by local craftsmen and women. Some of the larger, more detailed work took up to 45 days to create.

Intricate Celadon Painting

Intricate Celadon Painting

After our tour, we were offered tea in Celadon cups while we browsed the store. There was a tremendous variety of tea sets, tableware, vases, lamps and statues on offer. They ranged in price from a few dollars to thousands, with the hand painted items at the upper end. I ended up selecting a small, solid green, elephant lamp which was shipped by sea. It was like Christmas when two months later my Thai Celadon lamp arrived. My total purchase, including shipping ran $125 which I consider a great bargain.

Elephant Lamp

The night markets and bargain shopping can be really fun in Chiang Mai, but don’t miss the opportunity to visit some of the truly fabulous custom shops like Baan Celadon.

 

Bua Tong, Chiang Mai Thailand’s “Sticky” Waterfall.

July 10, 2016 at 8:07 pm

[Bua Tong, Chiang Mai Thailand's Sticky Waterfall

In October, 2015 I visited Chiang Mai, Thailand with small group of friends. Our itinerary included some intriguing day trips to the countryside. From the beginning, I was very excited to see that we were headed to the Bua Tong waterfall, also known as the “Sticky Waterfalls.” The trip makes a wonderful day, or even just half day, excursion outside of the city. These very unique falls are a “must see” stop that I definitely recommend visiting.

Sticky Falls 10-22-15 2

 

 

We were picked up in the morning by our Thai hosts and made a quick stop at the Rimping supermarket to load up on snacks for our picnic lunch. We hit the road in a 10 passenger van for what was a pretty 90 minute highway drive up to the falls. We parked, walked a few hundred yards and set up our picnic at the top of the falls. My first impression was that these were definitely not your average rocks under the water.

 

Bua Tong Chiang Mai Sticky Waterfall

Warm Water, Firm Footing and a Beautiful View

 

 

The limestone rocks are covered in mineral deposits which look slippery or even muddy, but are rough to the touch making them perfect for climbing. They are sort of a putty color with crystal clear, warm water flowing over them. We visited at the tail end of the rainy season, so the water gushed quickly, but climbing the rocks was remarkably easy. We hiked down the uneven steps to the bottom of the first, top fall and started the climb back up the actual falls. I was tentative at first, being 56 and not much of an athlete. I didn’t want to get stuck halfway up, so I took it slow. Whenever I needed a rest or wasn’t sure of the best route up I took a break and just relaxed, enjoying the experience. The falls are steep but truly “sticky” with rough, porous hand and foot holds. By avoiding any green, mossy patches and going slowing I got a feel for it. In some of the steepest areas there are guide ropes but I was careful to plan the best route from the bottom up first.

Bua Tong Sticky Waterfall Chiang Mai Thailand

It Looks Slippery, But It’s Great For Climbing!

 

 

Eventually, I gained enough confidence to walk all the way to the bottom of the five waterfalls and slowly make my way climbing through them back to the top. It was a workout and so much fun! The green forest, clear warm water and strange, sticky rocks make amazing scenery.

We enjoyed our picnic at the top of the falls where there were just a dozen or so other visitors. We relaxed, changed into dry clothes and then headed back to town for a stop at Love at First Bite Bakery to share stories of our adventure.

Tips:

Songthaew drivers can be hired for the half day to drive you to the falls and wait for you for a very reasonable fee. Your hotel or hostel can be helpful setting this up for you.

Bring a change of clothes, snacks and a Zip lock bag for your phone to take pictures.

This is a much loved place for Thai people to relax and picnic. It is prudent to dress modestly. Shorts and t-shirts are more appropriate than bikinis.

We saw a tiny water snake in the falls. It was probably harmless, but like anywhere in nature, it is wise  to be aware of your surroundings!

I would wear flip flops or water shoes for the steps to the bottom and then remove them for the actual climb through the waterfall. You will want to feel the rocks beneath your feet.

 

I hope you have a chance to visit this special and unique spot.