Northern Thailand: Making a Living for Travel Photo Thursday

Posted by on Mar 12, 2015 in Chiang Mai, Destinations, Thailand, Travel Photo Thursday | 33 comments

Welcome to another week of Travel Photo Thursday; week 218 (03/12/2015). Anyone who travels slow, like I do, gets to know the local culture, and how many of the locals make their living. I never tire of wandering around Chiang Mai, and Northern Thailand watching and photographing locals going about their everyday living, and almost always this means ‘making a living’. This week I am featuring a few of my favorite shots of the locals going about their work day. Most were taken in Chiang Mai. However, I have also included shots from two other Northern Thailand towns: Doi Pui and Mae Chaem.

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Women with sewing machines set-up on the side of the road are not all that uncommon in Chiang Mai, and most of them do a very brisk business. This sewing shop is a husband and wife team. She does most of the sewing, and I’m not quite sure what he does. They are located only about 10 minutes from where I was living, on the street running along the side of Wat Chiang Man,  and always busy. I had her replace a zipper for me, and 4 buttons on a blouse. The zipper took 24 hours. The buttons she did while I waited. Fantastic repair work and each job was about $1.00! Great place to take those favorite pants with the split rear! 🙂 They are generally open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday.


Chiang Mai...Making a Living

Chiang Mai...Making a Living

This onion vendor calls Muang Mui Market home, located on the Ping River next door to the U.S. embassy. She looks a little sad and weepy. If I was surrounded by all those onions, I would be too!


Onion Vendor...Muang Mai Market, Chiang Mai, Thailand


This mobile coffee shop roams the streets of downtown Chiang Mai serving up freshly brewed, a cup at a time, steaming Arabic coffee. The vintage Volkswagen is covered with historical tidbits about Vietnam, and Ho Chi Minh  himself graces the coffee cup. I have no idea why they chose to feature Vietnam history and not Thai history. The business was only about 2 weeks old the day I found them, so I hope they became a huge success!


Vintage Volkswagen Mobile Coffee Shop, Chiang Mai, Thailand


I love these kind of random shots. I have to assume that they had been at the local market, and now heading to their restaurant or food stall to begin prepping for the lunch crowd.


Chiang Mai...Market Day Purchases


Loading down the motorbike with fresh produce at Muan Mai Market, Chiang Mai.


Buying Fruits and Veggies at the Muang Mai Market, Chiang Mai, Thailand


Chiang Mai’s newest market, located in the old city at the library behind Three King’s Monument, is the Farmer’s Organic Market on Friday from noon until 7pm. This vendor serves up awesome piping hot organic coffee at less than a buck a cup. You can drink your coffee while you tap your feet in time to the local music playing between about 2pm and 6pm.




Hill Tribe vendors selling handmade jewelry and trinkets at a local market.





Chiang Mai: Hill Tribes People selling jewelry and trinkets


The hill tribe women are known for their intricate weaving and needle work. I snapped the weavers in Mae Chaem, and the women doing the needle work in Doi Pui. Because their homes are often poorly lit they generally do their needle work outside, where the sun reigns supreme.


Northern Thailand: Weaver in Mae Chaem

Norther Thailand: Weaver in Mae Chaem

Nothern Thailand: Hill Tribes Women Weaving at Mae Chaem

Northern Thailand...Needlework in the Sun (Doi Pui)



This lady wasn’t very busy in her Doi Pui tea shop, so she was buying tickets from the local ticket seller. I hope this was the big winner! By the smile on her face I think she’s convinced that it is 🙂


Northern Thailand (Doi Pui) Tea Shop Lady with her Lucky Ticket!


And last but not least…here we have a flower seller in Chiang Mai hauling his wagon of beautiful, bright flowers around on foot!


Northern Thailand: Flower Seller in Chiang Mai


Thai, and I think many Asians, are generally hard workers. They don’t seem to be afraid of a bit of hard work and will do what it takes to provide for themselves and their families. Sadly, I think that the hand weaving and needlework is on the decline (much of it now done by machine). If you are in Thailand, don’t hesitate to take home a piece or two as a special souvenir.

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  1. The colors are nice and vibrant in the market!

    • Hi! No gray here, which is so unlike countries immersed in winter.

  2. I would love to be exploring somewhere like this and living there for a while and be absorbed in the local community. Great street images!
    And I would be very happy for this lady to do my mending – especially zips! I always seemed to be replacing zips for my father. And every time my hubbie buys a new pair of trousers I have to take them up!
    Happy travels. and have a great weekend.

    • Hi Jill! I’m sure this tailor would become your best friend very quickly!…haha

  3. Nancie, As always I love your photos. I especially love portraits, though, so these are really great!

    • Hi Corinne…Thanks so much!

  4. I love the everyday shots of people working, especially love the bug mobile coffee stand. It’s fantastic how entrepreneurial people can be and create their own small cottage businesses.

    • Hi Noel. There is definitely a huge cottage business industry in Thailand.

  5. So exotic looking. Looks like a fabulous destination for my me and my travel companion…the camera 🙂

    • Hi Kathy. There are so many photo ops. You will never stop clicking!

  6. It’s so interesting to see the normal everyday life of another culture. Thanks so much for sharing and for hosting this link up.

    • Hi Patti. Your most welcome, and I glad you’ve joined us.

  7. It’s always so interesting to see how other people make a living. I loved seeing all of these remarkable photos of the hardworking Thai. It’s too bad that the needle work and hand weaving is declining. Those look so beautiful! I’d love to own one if I ever make it to Thailand.

    • Hi Mary. People are definitely enterprising. The weaving that the women do in Mae Chaem is so beautiful. It was a little out of price range. However, I managed to find a small bag that has the pattern on the front. I will have to take a photo and post it.

  8. They are very enterprising people and work long hours for little monetary gain mostly. They will also try to sell anything! I love the rug makers. 🙂

    • Hi Kathy. Many of them do work hard, and they certainly don’t earn anywhere near what we do in the West, but their cost of living is also a lot less.

  9. A lovely and exotic place… beautiful pictures, Nancie 🙂

  10. One of the things I love most about your blog is the look we get at everyday life. The vibrant personalities and colors jump right out of your photos. I look forward to every post.

    • Hi Betsy! Thanks for your kind words. 🙂

  11. Great photos with a lot of character

    • Hi Paula. Thank you so much! I am so glad that you enjoyed them.

  12. Lovely photos of real people doing real things in a beautiful and colorful environment.

    • Hi Yasha. I love ‘catching’ people in their everyday environments.

  13. Looks like a great place to visit. I love the vibrant colors in the market.

    • Hi Rachel. Chiang Mai is a great place. If you ever have a chance to visit, I’m sure you would enjoy it.

  14. Your photos give a wonderful taste of everyday life in Chang Mai. People are very entrepreneurial in Thailand. I love exploring the markets and chatting with the street vendors when I travel.

    • Hi Susan. Thanks! There are so many great markets in Chiang Mai, and the vendors are very friendly.

  15. Love this look at Thailand through images of the people working. Great photos.

    • Hi Donna. I love the everyday life of Chiang Mai and Thailand.

  16. Loved this post of ordinary people going about their daily business of making a living. The photos of the Hill Tribe women are especially fascinating!

  17. Loved all your photos, what a great look at the day to day life of the workforce in Northern Thailand.

  18. Hello
    Sorry I’ve got a random question for you.
    The picture of the VW beetle that served coffee. Did you happen to get any close up shots of that side window that folds down? I was there in Chiang Mai at the begging of the year and saw the exact bug. I’m trying to do the same to my bug. Or if you remember by chance how it was hinged or how it latches closed.
    Many thanks and hope to hear from you.


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