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  1. #1
    Member BenBenBaa's Avatar
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    A weekend in Chiang Mai

    I was in Chiang Mai for three days last week. I had planned to stay longer and maybe drive to Chiang Rai, but as another thread on here has already made clear, the air is anything but.
    With visibility of about 400m there isn't much chance of taking a nice landscape photo, so I cut the trip short. The photos on this post are just from my mobile phone, taken wandering around bars and markets.
    First here is a photo that shows what the air quality was like:


    I was staying at the Royal Princess, which I'm sure was lovely in the seventies, but now the bathrooms are definitely on the antique side. Very handy location though in the middle of the Night Bazzar area. This is taken from the tables right in front of the hotel as things are just opening up:


    Across the road is the entry to this part, which looks good with all the lights at night:


    First port of call was the Riverside Restaurant on Charoenrat road for dinner, but too crowded so we went to The Good View next door. The view was indeed good from our seat outside, food plain, band also plain.


    After dinner we (my group of two Farangs, 3 Thais from BKK and one local) did have a look in at the Riverside. There was a good band on the river side of the road and on the other side of the road too. I'm told there are three bands that cycle between the two bars. Unfortunately being Saturday night there was barely room to stand let along sit so we headed back across the river and our local took us to the Monkey Club at Nimminheimin Road Soi 9.
    This seems to be the number one hang-out for CM Uni students, with quite a big nightclub inside packed with very well presented early-twenties Thais. It's in a relatively upmarket area and this was reflected in the drink prices. Very dark inside, couldn't get a decent photo


    In the courtyard there is another band and a DJ, also dark out here.


    All of the music was Thai of course. Apart from my friend I saw only one other Farang in the place. Started feeling old in this crowd so much as I like seeing tall Thai girls in hot pants, we headed for another spot some TD folk may have seen before. Hot Shot in the Pornping tower is hilarious. There is a band that cycles through four singers one song at a time, all of them a short step above Karaoke quality. After a while it filled up with Russians. I can see why, the decor reminded me of an Eastern-block discotheque

    I'm told there's a nice outdoor restaurant on the roof of the tower, but we were fairly well drunk by this stage so we wandered back to the hotel, via a streetside noodle joint (Thai version of having a Kebab after drinking).
    Sunday on the next post.
    Last edited by BenBenBaa; 13-03-2012 at 09:51 PM.
    Did you just make that up?

  2. #2
    Member BenBenBaa's Avatar
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    Next afternoon we went to the markets in the Old Town, where Tapae Rd meets the old wall (best directions I can manage, sorry). These are only on sunday night after 7pm I'm told. Note the wall in the background, which is one of the rebuilt bits I assume.


    Walk through the big gate and the long road is seriously crowded with shoppers, stalls and blind singers.


    In the temple grounds on the right side of the road is an eating area that seems to favour children's furniture. Good food here but no beer (theoretically - I noticed a few empties)


    Here's a view from the top of the wall back down Tapae road. No railings and too many people made this a sub optimal place to hang around


    Just along Tapae road on the right is Bar Inter, which had a nice laid-back atmosphere and decent band, stayed for a few beers.


    Later on we dropped in at the ChiangMaiSaloon (seems to be all one word on the sign outside). Good food, friendly service and excellent cocktails only 100B, mildly annoying Farang clientele. Funny how many bars and restaurants still allow smoking up here. Also noticed that food is not very spicy in CM compared to BKK, even the street food. Not sure about the look on my wife's face in this photo. Mojito may have been more sour than she expected.


    Some interesting political stuff stuck on the walls, I'll end this post with one I saw in the Mens

  3. #3
    Member BenBenBaa's Avatar
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    The next photos are from a much better camera, but the corner of my SD card has chipped off so the camera thinks it isn't there any more... hopefully can retrieve pics tomorrow

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenBenBaa View Post

    Also noticed that food is not very spicy in CM compared to BKK, even the street food. Not sure about the look on my wife's face in this photo. Mojito may have been more sour than she expected.

    Guess she didnt like the non spicy food either. You should of hopped into a Muslim restaurant then for added spice. In fact when i was there in CM in 2009 i was refused entry twice [in a matter of 5 mins] cos i was told "spicy".

    D'oh, i know. Thai food is spicy!

  5. #5
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    thanks for the pics, BenBB

    they remind me of a Chiang Mai I hardly know any more

    hope you can retrieve the others

  6. #6
    Member BenBenBaa's Avatar
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    Ok sorted out the SD card, luckily the Mac in my office is not so picky. The photos below are all from a single day behaving like a proper tourist. Together with my wife and a farang friend, I hired a car outside the hotel to drive us around the various animal shows you can see in Mae Sa. His asking price was 1000 but this soon became 500.
    On the way out of town we stopped at the place that makes umbrellas from Bamboo and paper made from Saa fibre. They also paint t-shirts and so on, but watching the umbrellas being made was the best part. This fellow told my wife he had been working there for 24 years. What he did for the 50-odd years before that is a mystery.

    Next port of call was the Tiger Kingdom. Now here is something you will never see in my country, just won't happen. Some say the tigers are drugged, but looking at how fat and sleepy they are they may simply be over-fed in the morning. That and constant exposure to humans from birth. Of course the really big tigers are just too hard to control so they are kept in a locked cage and sent off to zoos after a while.
    This is the biggest tiger they let you get in a cage with. This guy's job is to annoy the tiger so you can get a better photo. Don't worry, if anything goes wrong he has a small, blunt stick.



    Here are the really big fellows in their cage


    Not as big as this guy though...


    I didn't really want to go and get in cages with tigers, to be quite honest, but you don't often get a chance to take close-ups like this


    They aren't all quite so fierce, but the cage that sees the most people bitten by a tiger is this one. They're like fluffy cats with enormous feet


    Next stop was the Monkey Centre, where they force monkeys to wai everybody, ride bikes and perform other tricks. Didn't like it much to be honest.


    The Mae Sa Elephant camp was much better. The best part was when they took the elephants into the river, as the elephants clearly enjoyed it.


    Some more than others...

  7. #7
    Member BenBenBaa's Avatar
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    After the fun in the river the elephants had to put on their twice-daily show, with painting, basketball, soccer, harmonica-playing and other stunts. The Mae Sa camp is most famous for the paintings, which sell for quite a lot of money. Some of the elephants clearly took to it more than others. Shades of the monkey show, but at least the elephants get some excitement when the soccer ball collects a dozing mahout.


    On our way back down the mountain we stopped in at the 'long-neck village'. Actually there are a number of different hill tribe villages living in a semi-tradtional way here, only one of which does the long-neck thing. It's hard to believe this tradition continues in 2012.


    Apparently the people living in the village are not Thai but Burmese, allowed to live in Thailand on a conditional visa that limits their movements from the village. All of the women produce handicrafts (and also sell stuff that you'll find in Chatuchuk). My wife spoke to this lady. She was quite friendly but her voice was thin and laboured, as you might expect. Under the rings their necks are covered in sores from the weight and constant rubbing.



    Final stop for the day was the snake show, where three Thai men demonstrated the importance of staying in school.


    If Pythons, cobras and rat snakes are your idea of a good time, then you need to travel more.


    A pretty full day followed by a big night. You can certainly do a lot in one day in Chiang Mai if you choose to.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for taking the effort. For me the travel forum is the best on here. On hand accounts, and great photo's.

  9. #9
    Member BenBenBaa's Avatar
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    Thanks, might as well keep going while I have beer in front of me...
    Monday was a good deal slower, we stopped in at Tusnaporn to see some local carved furniture. This isn't the cheapest place to buy a bit of wood carving in Chiang Mai, but for quality teak furniture it is a very impressive place to visit. Enormous range too. Best of all you can see the work being done


    I liked this fold-out bar so much I bought it. The sides fold open and then the top folds out to create a bar. There's storage for wine bottles, wine glasses, short glasses, whiskey bottles and more. The top left panel rotates to reveal four more bottles. Elephants were engraved on all of the exterior panel and the finish is natural teak colour.



    If anybody wants to see more photos of woodcarving let me know, I have hundreds

    Next we headed up to Doi Suthep for the magnificent view over Chiang Mai...



    So you can see why we cut the trip short and headed to an island instead. The temple was spectacular though.



    This was probably my favourite photo of the trip:


    One side of the temple was being refurbished. It was good to see the usual Thai approach to OH&S


    Worn out from the day before, this was enough for our last day in CM. The next day we turned up at the airport ticketless and found Bangkok Air was the best deal for a trip back to BKK. Much cheaper than Air Asia, similar price to Nok but importantly Bangkok Air give every passenger access to their private lounge, with free food, coffee and Wi-Fi. The funniest thing in the lounge was no fewer than five girls standing behind a bar where you couldn't order drinks
    Overall I enjoyed Chiang Mai apart from the air. I will certainly come again, but at a different time of year.

  10. #10
    Newbie bugseda's Avatar
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    BBB,

    Thanks for taking the time and effort. Nice shots. I lived there in 2004 and is a lovely place except for the time of year where they burn the rice and sugar fields.

    Cheers...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenBenBaa
    The funniest thing in the lounge was no fewer than five girls
    and the pics???

  12. #12
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    Some very nice pictures there. Thanks for sharing.

  13. #13
    Member BenBenBaa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by BenBenBaa
    The funniest thing in the lounge was no fewer than five girls
    and the pics???
    I didn't say 5 hot girls

  14. #14
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    let us be the judge of that

    but I bet that bulge in your pocket was your camera

  15. #15
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    Good report and pictures.

    What did you pay for your fold-out bar and did the wood carving place arrange to send it down to you?

  16. #16
    Member BenBenBaa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rawlins View Post
    Good report and pictures.

    What did you pay for your fold-out bar and did the wood carving place arrange to send it down to you?
    40,000B including delivery to Australia, took 4 weeks

  17. #17
    Newbie roadking96cube's Avatar
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    Should of gone to the Brassiere next to the goodveiw and seen one of the best guitarist Thailand has to offer,his name is Took cover's hendrix,clapton allman brothers and does it dam well.The only thing he comes on real late at night.If you like have a look at him on you-tube he's grown to be a bit of a ledgend

  18. #18
    Newbie jobsworth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenBenBaa View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rawlins View Post
    Good report and pictures.

    What did you pay for your fold-out bar and did the wood carving place arrange to send it down to you?
    40,000B including delivery to Australia, took 4 weeks
    Granted that it is a beautiful work of art, no doubt about that,
    but I wouldn't have done that.
    Importing wood into Australia?
    What did Australia customs do to you?
    Gamma rays maybe.
    Have you watched some of the videos on youtube?

    Thank you for sharing this.

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat Old Monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bugseda View Post
    BBB,

    Thanks for taking the time and effort. Nice shots. I lived there in 2004 and is a lovely place except for the time of year where they burn the rice and sugar fields.

    Cheers...
    Correction : It's the forest that they burn, it's so stupid! This general pollution is caused by hundreds and hundreds of fires lighted by tradition...
    I've been trying to know why, for ten years. The consensus, (5 people) is that after, 1-2 months after, a special mushroom comes and it sells for 180 Bath a kilo... for a week... the price goes down after!
    We are also close to the Burmese border, they burn also there.
    This year they up the ante, people getting caught starting a fire will pay a 100 000 bath fine and 5 years in jail. But it will take more than one example to scare them enough to stop, they will keep doing it.
    This threaten my farm every year... rubber trees! I lost 30 of them 5 years ago, farmers renting 1-2 rais next door jumped over the steam between the properties and started a fire at the foot of the mountain. The couple refused to admit that they did it at lunch break, they were the only living beings around themn.
    I hate this stupid thing more than any other, and there are lots of stupid things going on around. I must admit that stupid things happen also a lot where I come from...

  20. #20
    Member BenBenBaa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadking96cube View Post
    Should of gone to the Brassiere next to the goodveiw and seen one of the best guitarist Thailand has to offer,his name is Took cover's hendrix,clapton allman brothers and does it dam well.The only thing he comes on real late at night.If you like have a look at him on you-tube he's grown to be a bit of a ledgend
    Thanks for the tip, will check it out next time if he's still playing there

  21. #21
    Member BenBenBaa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jobsworth View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by BenBenBaa View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rawlins View Post
    Good report and pictures.

    What did you pay for your fold-out bar and did the wood carving place arrange to send it down to you?
    40,000B including delivery to Australia, took 4 weeks
    Granted that it is a beautiful work of art, no doubt about that,
    but I wouldn't have done that.
    Importing wood into Australia?
    What did Australia customs do to you?
    Gamma rays maybe.
    Have you watched some of the videos on youtube?

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Actually the manufacturers arranged fumigation before it was sent and provided a certificate which was accepted by AQIS. Wasn't a problem.

  22. #22
    Member BenBenBaa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Monkey View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bugseda View Post
    BBB,

    Thanks for taking the time and effort. Nice shots. I lived there in 2004 and is a lovely place except for the time of year where they burn the rice and sugar fields.

    Cheers...
    Correction : It's the forest that they burn, it's so stupid! This general pollution is caused by hundreds and hundreds of fires lighted by tradition...
    I've been trying to know why, for ten years. The consensus, (5 people) is that after, 1-2 months after, a special mushroom comes and it sells for 180 Bath a kilo... for a week... the price goes down after!
    We are also close to the Burmese border, they burn also there.
    This year they up the ante, people getting caught starting a fire will pay a 100 000 bath fine and 5 years in jail. But it will take more than one example to scare them enough to stop, they will keep doing it.
    This threaten my farm every year... rubber trees! I lost 30 of them 5 years ago, farmers renting 1-2 rais next door jumped over the steam between the properties and started a fire at the foot of the mountain. The couple refused to admit that they did it at lunch break, they were the only living beings around themn.
    I hate this stupid thing more than any other, and there are lots of stupid things going on around. I must admit that stupid things happen also a lot where I come from...
    My taxi driver told me that thing about the mushrooms too, wasn't sure I understood him correctly so I didn't post it. I've heard also that the Burmese are clearing forests by burning them to create more farmland. Not exactly the smartest way to do it, but not surprising either.

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat Boon Mee's Avatar
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    Nice photos and report, Ben.

    Was up there last week and the air was OK.
    Traffic horrendous though...

  24. #24
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    Good report and good pics. Thanks. Green on the way.

  25. #25
    I am in Jail
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    Beautiful animal pics Ben. I spent a couple of hours looking at your threads the other night, absolutely fantastic, anyone else looking at this, go have a look. He probably has the best threads on here

    Thanks for sharing mate

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