Ban Tawai Woodcarving Village
If you love wood then Ban Tawai is a must-visit in Chiang Mai. Located abot 12kms to the east of the city, off the Hang Dong Road, Ban Tawai is home to dozens of wood working shops and factories. At the rear of many shops it is possible to watch the craftsmen at work. This fascinating and patient art has been practised by generations and it is no exaggeration to state that some of the carvers at Ban Tawai are among the best in the world.
Furniture manufacturing is one of the mainstays of Ban Tawai. There is wooden furniture to suit all tastes and styles from the rustic to the very latest styles. Furniture of all types is available at Ban Tawai from beds to cabinets and from luxury dining tables to outside benches. Much of the furniture is made from farmed or reclaimed teak and is for sale at a fraction of the price in the west. If you see a piece you like, it is worth looking at having it shipped home as even with haulage costs the savings are considerable. There are many shipping agents around Ban Tawai that can make arrangements for you but please be careful to check import regulations.
Ban Tawai also has some wonderful woodcarvings from the small and intricate to impressive life sized statues of elephants! Many of the carvings, while still being made by hand, are mass produced but there are equally some great examples of unique and individual artworks on which hundreds of hours have been lavished.
There are a few genuine antique retailers in Ban Tawai with very sophisticated showrooms and high value objects on show. However, if your budget won’t stretch to the real thing don’t worry because the reproductions are equally stunning.
Ban Tawai has grown rapidly over the past few years and attracts many tourists as well as importers from around the world. This high volume of traffic has resulted in other manufacturers locating here and now there are a wider range of other handicraft factories and showrooms which make it the premier place to look for handicrafts of all types in Chiang Mai.