Astone’s throw north of Chiang Mai Gate, is a quiet and secluded place; hidden to passersby by a tall brick wall along a quiet street. However, if you were to take notice of the wall’s grandly carved entranceway and take a step over its threshold, you’d feel as though you’ve been transported back in time to a beautiful garden of the ancient Lanna time period.
Inside the walls of the Terracotta Arts Garden is noticeably cooler and quieter than the surrounding streets. Strewn around the lush, leafy enclosure is a collection of terracotta art ranging from garden statues and Buddha heads to enormous pots and detailed wall hangings. While it may look like an abandoned garden, it’s actually an outdoor showroom that is regularly refreshed with new handcrafted terracotta creations by the local artists of Baan Phor Liang Muen.
Most of the terracotta pieces in this garden reflect Southeast Asian religious art styles featuring gods and other icons of the Hindu and Buddhist religions. Each piece is unique but they all look as if they have been resting in the garden for centuries because of their weathered appearances and various degrees of moss-covered surfaces.
Nestled right within the walls of the lush garden is a coffee shop called Coffee by Clay Studio. The café is an airy glass-enclosed area that serves up delicious caffeinated brews, local baked goods, and even a small selection of classic Thai dishes.
Take a slow exploration of the grounds adorned by hundreds of art pieces. Afterwards, find a spot to settle down and relax to the sounds of softly chirping birds in the canopy above. Clay Studio is an inspiring place! It’s motto is “Coffee in the garden” and that’s certainly what you’ll get. The entirely glass enclosed café is wide and airy with a lovely view of the lush plants and moss-covered terracotta structures. In fact, with the rainy season coming up, this is the perfect spot to bring a good book, a laptop, or friends to enjoy a lazy afternoon coffee and stay protected from afternoon showers.
In the back of the garden there is also a tranquil Thai restaurant called The Faces, open from 5pm to 10pm. As for the coffee shop, this place is airy, made of glass and offers a beautiful view of the garden.
Just across the street from the outdoor showroom and café, the beautiful teak house is another showroom, artists can be seen there making new pieces by hand. Next to it is soon to be opened a boutique hotel all decorated in terracotta style.
The terracotta garden, Clay Studio and The Faces are still secret places in Chiang Mai. A visit there will surely leave youfeeling relaxed and ready for more visits around the old city.
BAAN PHORLIANG MEUN’S & CLAY STUDIO :
36 Prapoklao Road, Soi 2. Chiang Mai.
Tel 053-278 187