A village dedicated to making umbrellas – crazy, huh? They’re not even very useful umbrellas since they’re made of paper!
Bo Sang lies out on the eastern fringes of Chiang Mai, beyond the 3rd ring road, but it’s quite easy to get to as it lies on one of the regular shared songthaew routes. We walked up to Warorot Market and found a white songthaew waiting on the road by the river, but actually we could have saved ourself some of the walk and flagged one down on Nawarat Bridge. The fare was only 15 baht (30p) which was ridiculously cheap for the distance covered.
The songthaew dropped us at the junction of route 1006 (the road to San Kamphaeng) route 1014, and it was just a short walk to the first factory and shop. It was obviously well set up for tourists, with high prices (the shop sold the whole range of tourist tat, not just umbrellas) and a car park designed for coaches. But it was interesting (and free) to wander around the back where the bamboo and paper umbrellas were made and decorated.
We did explore further down the main road where there were other, smaller handicraft places but really, when you’ve seen one paper umbrella factory you’ve seen them all, so after about an hour we were back at the crossroads flagging down a white songthaew for the return journey. I wouldn’t call it a must-see for Chiang Mai travellers, but it was worth the effort of getting there. But I was glad we’d skipped Bo Sang’s Umbrella Festival in favour of the hilltribe festival which took place the same day.