Finding the pottery in Chiang Rai is not easy as the province is not home for pottery. However, you won’t believe that is one pottery studio not to far from the city. It’s known as “Doi Din Dang”
Doi Din Dang is a pottery studio located in the hills surrounding Chiang Rai and founded by a Thai artist who studied in Japan. His name is Somluk Pantiboon. We visit the studio a few months back and met with Mr Somluk personally. He explained how he started this career on ceramics works. After he graduated from Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna Chiang Mai, he traveled to Japan to study about ceramics with two of well-known ceramics masters – Twao Onuma and Tarouemon Nakagato for 5 years.
Then when he was back to Thailand he built his studio in 1991 with his Japanese wife in Chiang Rai. As for the studio name, Doi means “Hill” and Din Dang means “Red Earth”. So Doi Din Dang altogether translates to a hill of red earth. It’s no surprise to see the house is mixed with red soil in the area. Somluk said “red earth is inspiring to people”. All materials used to produce the ceramic works are found locally such as soil, ashes from hays and bamboo which are among the most important ingredients for Doi Din Dang’s ceramic works. It is said that Din Dang is where art, architecture, culture and nature mingled harmoniously.
Once you’re there, you will feel the area is surrounded by a tranquil landscape which provides both the inspiration and the natural naterials for the work. You feel like you are in another world, it’s so jungly yet serene. The pottery here is quite different from others, it shows the attentiveness in each of the designs. It represents a combination between the contemporary feeling of the design and a cultural aspect of the local. This area was used to be covered by local plant called Acacia pennata which later teared down and replace by already-grown trees.
Doi Din Dang potty has been producing original pieces that are both functional and decorative and adapt themselves to a contemporary lifestyle where is the visitor can shop the handmade ceramics and bring it back home. They have several pottery sheds displaying their commodities. There is a shed for larger pieces, a discounted shed, a shed for sinks and pots, a big shed where you can watch them makes the pottery, and a main shed for household goods. Somluk calls all his works as “High Craft” because they are carefully made by hand using primitive techniques with local found materials. It is really hard to find an item with the same quality in the market. Most of this works are use by well-known five-star hotels and resorts throughout Northern Thailand.
There are 2 kinds of pottery produced in Doi Din Dang – Plate sets including jars and pots, and ceramics for home decoration sets. The price ranges from a few ten baht (2-3 dollars) to ten of thousands baht (more than 300 dollars).
As for the prices, home decoration sets will look expensive for the local at first as an item will cost more than a thousand baht (more than 30 dollars) but when you see how it was delicately made, the price is not too expensive at all. You may find similar items on the market, but there is nothing like the ones in here. All items here are hand-made, mostly by the owner – Mr Somluk. There is more spirit and a lot of the maker’s effort in it that worth every penny of yours.
For plates and coffee cups, the prices are very reasonable – most items will cost around 200 baht to 500 baht ($7-$15). For each purchase, the staff not only wrap them individually in paper, but in bubble wrap.
The studio also has a quaint open air cafe that serves up delightful coffees and cakes hidden behind the show room. The recommend menu is ice coffee. Coffee is not the high-light here, but you won’t believe how good coffee they have here. Try it for yourself.
On what occasion you should visit this place? Any time you are heading to Mae Sai (for example, to do a Visa Run or for shopping at Tachileik) you should stop by and check the place. It is on the way to Mae Sai (only 6 kms from the Chiang Rai Airport), you won’t lose any time here.
The photos above are from my iPad. The below photos are taken from various websites on the Internet to show how beautiful the place is.
Recommended: Ice Coffee
Price: 55 Baht
4 Most popular menus: Americano, Espresso, Capuchino, and Ice Coffee served in beautiful pottory
Opening Hours : 08.30-16.00 Closed every Sunday
Address: Doi Din Dang Pottery, 49 Moo 6 Soi 3, Baan Pa Oar, Pathonyothin Road, Tambon Nang Lae, Maung, Chiang Rai.
How to get there: From Chiang Rai Airport, continuing for 6 kms to Mae Sai direction, Doi Din Dang is located in 2 kms in Soi Long Neck Karen.
Additional Images: Please visit the websites below for more beautiful photos of Doi Din Dang
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