Typically, photos are my only traveling souvenir, but there was one thing in Thailand that I was not going home without. A smiling ceramic garden sculpture. Not a gnome. But, similar. There were two hanging from a tree at my Chiang Mai hotel, The 3 Sis. I was immediately obsessed.
It turned out these little buggers weren’t easy to find.
They were not at the Saturday night market, nor the famous Sunday one. The Night Bazaar didn’t even have one, either did the flower market. I was about to give up when the hotel reception shed a little light on the mystery. My coveted souvenir could be found at Khamthiang Market in Northwest Chiang Mai.
Khamthiang is the colorful garden market that caters to the locals. It was like a dozen Home Depot garden departments. Only better.
Dreams of these cuties in my garden woke me up early for the hunt. It was still early enough not to be blazing hot, so I decided to forego the Tuk Tuk, my feet were the mode of transport today. But, I should have looked at that little scale on the map. You know, the one that actually tells you the distance. And I should have taken a Tuk Tuk.
Luckily, foot massages are only $4 in Chiang Mai.
The few streets in this section were lined with impressive landscape architecture storefronts, colorful plant shops and a handful of places selling ceramic figurines.
After the very long walk, the garden beverage shop was a savior with its foliage filled patio, set with several cozy seating areas.
I stopped in for a refreshing Thai iced tea, resting my tootsies, before continuing on the hunt.
The figurine stores were separate shops from the plant stores and I poked into every one of the them.
Though they had every other type of ceramic statue, I couldn’t find the style I was looking for. Mine had to be one that was able to hang from the branch of a tree and sans all the colorful paint.
I had all about given up the hunt when, on a whim, decided to revisit one of the shops. And hidden deep in the corner, not on display, was a pile of what I was looking for.
The most adorable hanging ceramic sculptures I had ever seen.
I looked through them all and just couldn’t decide on one, so I bought four, at 100 baht ($3.36 usd) each.
I didn’t even try to bargain. I already felt like I had scored.
I have never worked so hard for a souvenir and never been so satisfied. One funny little smiling ceramic girl sits on my vanity and never fails to bring a smile to my face.
What has been your favorite souvenir?
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