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SECRET PLACES - The Terracotta Garden At Lamphun

SECRET PLACES

   Spread over more than 100 acres in Lamphun city, the Terracotta Garden is a sculpture park featuring hundreds of figures made of terracotta. This permanent exhibition boasts one of the most extensive collections of outdoor sculptures in Thailand. Located some twenty kilometres from centre Chiang Mai, this garden is an outstanding example of art and one of the must-see attraction. Painstakingly sculpted from clay using traditional techniques, each piece there is unique. The canopied garden is filled with clay sculptures of varying style and size, from Buddhist statues to figures of the Lanna kingdom along with sculptures of Ganesha, Shiva, Vishnu, Singha and Nagas.

   Some of us might recall a shop named Baan Phor Liang Meun in Chiang Mai, some ten years ago; The Terracotta Garden At Lamphun is own by the same family; it is actually the factory from where each pieces of art in this shop came from. Mr. Sutthipong Maiwan, the founder, started creating this garden in 1975. While using it as a factory for the shop and export market he also produced some of his masterpieces there. Today, the garden is a serene place, a museum, a gallery, a workshop and a relaxing restaurant; it is also a lifetime project with plans for further creations for the next forty years.

   One of the smallest provinces in Thailand, the quiet town of Lamphun is charming and rich in history. From the 8th century, the town was ruled by the Mon Princess Chamadevi, before being integrated into the Lanna kingdom in the 12th century. When she came, princess Chamadevi brought with her artists and handicraft makers. At that time, Ping river was flowing along a different route than today, and the land where stands the Terracotta Garden was the place where three streams met : Ping, Kuang and Nam Ta. This mix gave the land a very high level of iron oxides and of the highest quality in the country.

   While walking in this garden, you will encounter a picturesque terracotta stupa. It is squared, an exceptional example of the Burmese-Phukam architectural style. This stupa is not a temple but a monument built in memory of family’s ancestors. Visitors can view its many details while strolling along the path and  the pond. Behind this monument, another path takes you on an exploration to the jade pond with tens of statues and bas-reliefs dotting the grounds. These pieces are unique and can be bought when not reserved for the garden’s decoration.

   In the garden, the backdrop of plants and flowers from around the world is stunning in every season and tree lovers will be happy to discover a bonsai garden that was started some twenty years ago. In addition to been an amazing open-air museum and an excellent restaurant, Terracotta Garden is also one of the largest suppliers of terracotta bricks across the kingdom. Its thirty-meter-long old-style kilns can also be visited in the garden and anyone passionate about art can join a workshop there (read our story page 14). A visit to this kilns is a very interesting experience and allows to marvel at the rich and warm earthy tones that can be produced. Allow an hour or two to walk around the grounds and in the bonsai garden.

   After a leisurely walk through the garden, it is time to enjoy some refreshing drinks and deli-cious cuisine at the restaurant. Surrounded by waterfall, trees and terracotta, the restaurant at Terracotta Garden At Lamphun offers an innovative take on local cuisine with a focus on seasonal ingredients. Signature dishes are Pad Thai with Shrimps and Beef Khao Soy. Both dishes are rich, flavourful, and beautifully presented. The menu also features delicious Thai cuisine, salads, pasta and some steaks, along with creative drinks and pastries. With seating available indoor and outdoor, you can choose to sit and relax in the quiet garden or refresh in the perfectly air-conditioned indoor room.

   All set in one place, the Terracotta Garden At Lamphun combines art, architecture and nature into a single experience. Get inspired by the hundreds of terracotta pieces spanning many different cultures and time periods and the laid-back atmosphere of this mystical place.


THE TERRACOTTA GARDEN AT LAMPHUN :
95 Moo 3, Rim Ping, Mueang Lamphun District, Lamphun
Tel. 095 447 9693
Facebook: The Terracotta Garden At Lamphun สวนไม้ไทยพ่อเลี้ยงหมื่น


November 2023.

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