Certainly, it is time for an update on Chiang Mai. I was last there in 2018 — other travel then Covid-19 got in the way. In 2023 we spent two weeks in Chiang Mai in January/February. Three highlights of this visit were:
Birding. In many previous trips to Thailand we’d never involved ourselves in discovering Thailand’s amazing bird species;
We’d met Ron Simpson and Panya (Toy) Suwan previously through our Akha friends Phennapha and Phing Phing but we’d never been in Chiang Mai for their annual antique textiles (mainly Chinese and tribal) exhibition. In 2023 we were actually present for their Dragon and Phoenix Exhibition near Wat Ket and bought some Hmong (Miao) cloth and two bracelets.
We also attended the 46th annual Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2023 and parade from 3-5 February for the first time, which was fascinating. The parade begins at 8 am Saturday from the railway station, crosses Narawat bridge and proceeds up to and circuits the old city to the park. The floats, flower displays and stalls then remain at Nong Buak Haad Park until the festival ends on Sunday.
Times were tough for Chiang Mai and all Thailand because of Covid and because of the reliance of the Thai economy on tourism. Many shops, tourist venues and restaurants closed temporarily or permanently. Australian visas on arrival in Thailand are normally 30 days. From October 2022 to March 2023 a token by the government has extended them to 45 days. It gave us a few extra days on a month.
The Thais say that things began to improve from July 2022 and were good now. I doubt that as on the beaches of the west coast, Krabi and Ko Lanta, numbers were well down on normal. Similarly, in Chiang Mai. And, although parts of Bangkok appeared crowded — Chinatown after 6pm, Soi 4 Nana and a few other places at specific times, elsewhere wasn’t. The malls seemed relatively devoid of foreigners. Continue reading “Food in Chiang Mai 7: 2023 Update”→
Denise and I left Australia on 16 January and returned on 7 March 2017. We stayed in Chiang Mai from 24 February to 5 March (10 days) a much shorter time than usual. We’d previously spent four weeks in Burma, attended a family wedding in Bangkok, and spent a few days at a resort in Hua Hin (not my favourite style or place, but family).
It is always nice to come back to Chiang Mai. It is one of my favourite places in Thailand — much cheaper than Bangkok, but more manageable also.
Chiang Mai has been changing rapidly over the past five years with continuing development. Chinese tourism is having a major impact (especially at Chinese New year) and will continue to expand. As in many places, the provincial government is not always making sensible decisions with regard to development.
What Travel Costs 7: Chiang Mai, Thailand (& Hyderabad, India)
The main purpose of my trip was to go to India to undertake a promised visit to my friend Rukmini to catch up. I chose to fly via Bangkok rather than take a cheaper trip with another airline through Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. There were two reasons:
To visit my nephew’s new baby in Bangkok for the first time, and
I wanted to end up in Chiang Mai and this way was the least hassle.
I left Australia on the evening of 18 February with Thai Airways and arrived Bangkok at 3.30 am on the 19th (9.5 h flight). This was a really stupid idea on the basis that coming from Canberra, if I caught the 10am flight I’d have to spend an expensive night in a Sydney hotel. I’ve since found a cheap alternative near the airport and the saving wasn’t worth it!
Food in Chiang Mai 5: Airport Plaza with some side notes on Bangkok
Coming from Australia, it seems strange to recommend and be writing about food in a shopping mall. I have eaten in shopping malls in Australia but I wouldn’t brag about it. However, shopping malls in Thailand and their food halls and restaurants can be very good.
From the past articles, you will be beginning to gain an idea of some of my habits in Chiang Mai. I mostly stay at the Sakorn Residence across the river. I frequently stay at Sakorn for a month or so at a time, because their rate by the month is much cheaper. I always hire a motorcycle to get around and use Nancy Chandler’s map.
Chiang Mai is the second city of Thailand but it is a small city and as different from Bangkok as one can imagine. The population is about the same as Canberra where I live about 350,000 but this is notional depending on where one draws the boundaries and no one can agree on this. Chiang Mai is much more interesting than Canberra however and has much more to offer. The northern Thai or Lanna people are proud of their heritage. They are not as poor as the people of Northeastern Thailand near Laos, but also have in the past been much less affluent than the people of the central plains of Thailand or the South.
Pho Vieng Chane Restaurant is located in a laneway between Pracha Samphan and Chang Klan Road (just down from Giorgio Italian Restaurant).
I ate here yesterday. Phennapha took me also before Xmas. This is an open fronted Vietnamese fast food restaurant, but with excellent food. I don’t think what I had was anything unusual. I wanted to chase down the deep fried leaf that Phennapha didn’t know the English for and I did on the second visit.
Phennapha a close friend cooked me an Akha meal, which I ate at her and her sister Phing Phing’s wonderful tribal textiles shop at the bottom of Anusarn Night Market in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. The shop is the third one in from the Charoen Prathet Road Gate. A couple of week’s later Phennapha invited my nephew Paul, his girlfriend Yui and I for another meal, while they were in Chiang Mai. Unfortunately, Yui was ill. So it was up to Paul and I to support the team, though we could make little dent in the mass of food.