Walk out the front door of our newest home and it is easy to find new places to explore. We are located in a great area of the city. Although we are only a ten-minute drive to the centre of the old town, moat, and tourist havens, a walk in the other direction leads us to the outskirts of the city. Nestled in this area close to our neighbourhood is the famous Nimmahaemin Road, which stretches for about one kilometer between Huaykaew Road and Suthep Road. Yesterday, we headed out to give this stretch of the city our full attention.
Nimmanhaemin Road is considered the chic, upscale place to watch others and be watched. It is a great blend of high-end boutiques, international restaurants, coffee shops and classy condominiums. Many think it is THE place to live and to shop! The shops specialize in a lot of handmade items from shoes to clothing to jewelry. It is funky, colourful, “yuppyish” and a bit of a throwback to the sixties when hanging beads were in, hemp clothing was the fashion and hand-painted furniture adorned many homes. It is easy to find eco friendly items for sale, wholesome food, and good coffee.
We spent the afternoon dodging the rainshowers by ducking into one small shop after another. It is the rainy season here and some days are definitely rainier than others! Luckily, there were enough breaks to walk between showers and get back home pretty much dry. Restaurant and business names like The Salad Concept and Ecoism say it all! It is a wonderful street to roam but getting back and forth across the road is a dangerous adventure, as it is in any Asian city! It’s probably better to cruise one side and then return on the other.
The shops reach a crescendo as you approach the half-way point of Nimmanhaemin but then dwindle away as you close in on Suthep. The “Cropping Centre” (experimental gardens?) and Art Centre of Chiang Mai University hug the sides of the road during this last part of the one kilometre stretch. From here, you have a great view of the nearby mountains and the open fields that border this end of the city.
For anyone that manages to make it to Chiang Mai, this area is well worth a visit. Plan on spending at least a couple of hours looking around and be sure to be prepared to carry back a few bags! It is only a 20 or 30 Baht ride in a Songthaew (red truck taxi) from the old part of town.