The Bo Sang Handicraft Village was once part of the ancient Lan Na Kingdom. With a unique charm and character of its own, the Bo Sang Village continues to be noticed for its treasured collection of beautiful temples, fertile rice fields and exceptional umbrellas.
Bo Sang is directly translated to umbrella in Thai, which only makes sense when one learns that the Bo Sang village is famous for its traditional Thai umbrellas and other handicrafts. The handicraft village was originally a small village where generations of families were engaged in umbrella making. Today, tourists from all over the world stop by Bo Sang to admire the beauty of the village and to buy its famous handmade umbrellas in their dazzling colors and unique floral motifs.
For more than two centuries, all residents of the Bo Sang Umbrella Village were involved in the trade of making Thai umbrellas and parasols made up of silk, cotton and mulberry paper. The village exports all kinds of umbrellas in different sizes and is often seen featuring its products in trade shows all around the world. From giant parasols that offer a shady canopy to miniature Thai umbrella variants that garnish popular cocktail drinks, every umbrella variation you can think of can be made possible by the people of the Bo Sang Village.
It continues to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in Chiang Mai for those wanting a first-hand look at how the umbrellas are made. The best time to visit the village is during the third week of January during the time of the Bo Sang Umbrella Festival. The entire village is brightly decorated with lanterns and umbrellas then, while all the stores and crafts shops display their finest items of colorful umbrellas and traditional lanterns as they compete for the most attractive umbrella during the three-day festival. This is also a great time to try to bargain for the lowest deal possible with shop owners.
A handful of contests such as umbrella making and painting, exhibitions, cultural performances, great local entertainment, and a variety of shows are held both day and night. The much awaited Miss Bo Sang beauty contest is also a highlighted activity of the event. Pretty local girls hold umbrellas in a multitude of colors as they parade down the streets of the village. Nothing quite compares to the buzz that the village creates during the festival where the entire community just comes to life. It is undoubtedly a scene that represents the village’s hospitality and charm at its best.
The Bo Sang Village is about 6 kilometers away from Chiang Mai. Some visitors not only go to the village to buy umbrellas but to study the tedious process that goes into umbrella making. Visitors will truly be amazed by the exceptional skills that the townspeople of Bo Sang must have for them to be able to make handicrafts entirely out of natural products.
Over the years, the tiny village has continued to be synonymous to umbrella making and continues to lure in both local and foreign tourists. Make sure not to miss out on a visit to the Bo Sang Handicraft Village and get your share of their famous and colorful Thai umbrellas.