The light shines through like the prisms of a stained glass window – illuminated red, green, blue, purple, yellow. But this is no glass, these colours are the effect of sunlight passing through paper. Traditional Thai handmade mulberry paper, to be specific. Saa paper.
A short 9 km drive from Chiang Mai, Bo Sang Village – also called the Umbrella Village – welcomes families to watch their arts in action. See the entire process from constructing the saa paper umbrellas by hand to painting them in intricate designs.
Children love arts and crafts, and Bo Sang Village makes a fun and eye-opening educational excursion during any Chiang Mai family holiday. You will find a rainbow of handicrafts on display – of course the famous umbrellas, but also gorgeous paper lanterns, fans, wood carvings, silverwork, and more. Your kids will have fun picking out a few souvenirs of their visit, and you can even commission the artists to paint specially selected designs.
In addition, the saa paper boxes and large sheets of saapaper make fantastic wrapping material for any presents you buy in Thailand for friends and family back home. You will find a huge variety of colours and patterns to choose from, including paper embedded with dried flowers for an extra special touch.
If you happen to be in Chiang Mai during the third week of January, you can even catch the Umbrella Festival with its parade, beauty pageant, music, dance and showcase of hundreds of exquisite umbrella made by the proud Bo Sang artisans.
Visiting Bo Sang Umbrella Village
Bo Sang Umbrella Village is located 9 km outside Chiang Mai on Route 1006 (San Kamphaeng Road). It’s very well known locally and reached in about 20 minutes by songthaew (the covered pick-up trucks that act as taxis in Chiang Ma) or by tuk-tuk (Thailand’s famous open-air “taxis”).
You can also pair your Bo Sang trip with a visit to the San Kamphaeng Village, a cotton and silk weaving village just 4 km further down the road.