Every year, shortly before Christmas, a small street off Nimmanhaeman Road in Northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai becomes a festival of food, craft and music for a week.
The Nimmanhaemin Art and Design Promenade (NAP) promotes locally made goods of all sorts and is something of a winter fair as all the stall holders and visitors to the NAP are rugged up against the cold that makes December in Chiang Mai such a delight.
When I visited the fair, the main stage featured a small ensemble presenting traditional Lanna music (See featured image, LEFT). The ancient Lanna Kingdom included the cities of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, as well as the older (but now smaller) cities of Lampang and Lamphun. Chiang Mai – or “New City” – was established in 1296 by King Mengrai but I doubt that the rather wonderful music being played last night would have been recognised by Thirteenth Century courtiers.
On other evenings, the audience was treated to blues and reggae, modern jazz, popular Indie music and “funky” music by the Funktar group.
Something for every purse
Against the background of music, there were plenty of places to find something tasty to eat, and stall offering coffee, clothing, and ceramics,flower pots, candles, jewellery, dried flowers, hats and handbags, light boxes, paintings from the Olarn Studio and Kasploy Shop, and for those with special diets there was the option of buying Fu-rei-Ko vegan ice cream so Chiang Mai’s cows are safe for another day.
Chiang Mai Secret
Next to NAP is the newest public square in Chiang Mai formed by the One Nimman shopping complex. Here Christmas crafts were on sale along with more food and at the delightfully named Heart of Darkness bar, you could buy craft beers including Moral Shock New England Pilsner and Bright Earth Irish Red Ale.
The Christmas lights in both areas and along the street outside made superb backgrounds for selfies and for photos of kids being kids … and of adults who had had one too many Moral Shock pilsners being like kids themselves.
Text and photographs © Christopher Hall December 2019
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If a man ascended into heaven and gazed upon the whole workings of the universe and the beauty of the stars, the marvellous sight would give him no joy if he had to keep it to himself. And yet, if only there had been someone to describe the spectacle to, it would have filled him with delight
- Attributed to Marcus Tullius Cicero – On Friendship