Chiang Mai Diaries Day 1-3 with GamblinMan

(Thanks GM for a submission of what ‘normal’ people do outside of BKK. This would actually give ROLLN a heart attack.)

Days 1 and 2

First of all, I have only been to CM twice, this being my second trip. It is purely my observations and experiences there, I am in no way an expert on the city.

My sister and her husband were over here for a holiday, going to Vientiane, Chiang Mai, Bangkok and KL. I liked Chiang Mai when I went up there last year so I decided to catch up with them up there. It was an interesting time and I thought a post was in order. I hope it helps anyone thinking of going up there in the near term.

I flew out of Don Mueang with Air Asia, there are so many airlines flying to CM (Thai, Air Asia, Nok Air, Bangkok Airways, Thai Lion to name a few) that it is easy to find the one that suits you. Taxis very well organised at the airport, 120 baht to anywhere in town. We were staying at the Chiang Mai Plaza, it is an older hotel with good facilities that is being let run down. All our reservation requests were ignored and the rooms by the pool we asked for were still having the carpet changed. Same excuse they used last time. Nice but this is the last time I will stay there.

Picking your hotel in CM is easy, get one close to the night market and Loi Kroh Rd (bar street). Transport is not difficult but walking distance is better.

First night I didn’t do much, I was still a little hungover from the previous night at Hillary 2 with Lomeo. I blame Lomeo, not Jonas this time. My date with the cute 36 year old had gone downhill fast so after Hillary 2 I headed out to see Coyote Girl for a nightcap, but I digress.

Next day dawned hot and humid. Being in holiday mode, shorts were called for. We headed out for a curry, according to the sign it is the best curry in CM and you can only get it there, nowhere else. Basically it is a mussaman chicken curry with potatoes. I have to admit it is the best I have had, place called Aroon Rai on Kotchasan Road. It also happens to be about 10 metres from the gogo (Spotlight) that I frequented on my first trip there. I had every intention of renewing the acquaintance that evening. We spent the day wandering around the shops and cafes etc (me) looking for a suitable gift for Coyote Girl and counting down the clock ’til bar time.

Having a pre dinner drink, a lovely Sav Blanc from Tasmania, in my sisters room on 10th floor of the hotel when the earth moves. We are all hanging onto the furniture and I am trying to decide if I can make it to the swimming pool below if I jump. My sister and hubby grab their passports as soon as it finishes and we are out of there. I didn’t worry about my passport but I did finish my wine.

If anyone has ever been on the 10th floor of an old hotel in Thailand during an earthquake, they will confirm my feelings. Total fear. Doesn’t take long to realise there is absolutely nothing you can do and go with the flow, or shake. We evacuated but only one other customer did and the staff not worried at all. It was a 6.3 magnitude earthquake, centred around Chiang Rai.

Went for dinner in a local institution, The Dukes, or in one of them anyway. Apparently they were investigating an outlet in Bangkok a while ago but nothing came of it. Food was quite reasonable. I was so full that I had to walk it off, that was my excuse for not going back to the hotel with the family anyway.

It was late enough to go to a gogo so I headed along Loi Kroh Rd and around the corner to Spotlight. Walked in and there were about 5 girls on stage. Quite a big stage but I don’t know how it was taking the weight. Same as the last time I was there. At that time I only saw 2 girls under 50kg, this time there were more girls but none very petite. I had hoped to catch up with CM girl but she was ignoring my messages so I assumed she wasn’t available. As I walked in and stepped to the bar, there was a scream. CMG was there and working, she looked as good as before and hadn’t been eating too many hamburgers.

We didn’t bother with more drinks/bars, we went straight back to the hotel. We tried to keep the noise down so my sister in the adjoining room would not twig to my assignation. She only did ST which I am happy with so she went home richer and I went to sleep with not a care in the world.

Day 3

My cares returned at 8am when the aftershock hit.

Only about 4.5 or something on the rictus scale but it was enough to rock the hotel and wake me up. I followed the example set by the hotel staff and went back to sleep. Woke up around 10am and went to meet the family for another day of wandering and eating.

I do like CM from an expat point of view. It has lots of things to do for tourists, direct flights to lots of interesting places, good bars and restaurants. In my opinion it is the most Farang friendly of Thai cities outside Bkk. The islands, Pattaya and Hua Hin are good but they aren’t cities.

Came back to my room and thought I would watch some tv, I had two channels in English so that made choosing easy. Looked for the tv remote to turn it on and couldn’t find it anywhere. My next thought was that I could have not been so unlucky as to have another bar girl steal the tv remote from my room. Yes, another. I have witnesses to the return of the first one so it is a true story. Luckily, after a more thorough search I found it down between the beside table and the bed.

Dinner was had that night in a lovely place on the river, River Market Restaurant. It is the last place on the right as you go down to the river on Loi Kroh Rd. Very nice food, great service attitude and atmosphere to die for.

River @ Anantara

Again, I ate too much and a walk was called for. Straight up LK Rd. and got to the area of bars with the Muay Thai ring at the end. Not sure of the name but it is easy to find and lots of fun. Had time so I thought a look and a beer were in order before heading to Spotlight again. There are about 40 bars here arranged down either side, going down to a larger area with the ring. Walked down the middle, looking for a bar with reasonable girls and not too busy. Saw one that fitted, went in, sat down and there was May.

May used to work at Hollywood in Nana and later, outside of Playskool. She knows many “friends” of mine and thought I was still with Tattoo Girl. Small world. One drink and a promise to come back and I was off to Spotlight again.

CMG was waiting and we ordered a couple of drinks. There is an old oriental guy who has been there every time I have gone in, sitting at the same stage side seat and having a great time. Apparently he goes there every night. He smiles so much that his eyes are almost invisible because of laughter lines. He reminds me of a character from Tin Tin. I sit and watch the show from the back of the bar. Getting to know the mamasan now which means buying drinks. One customer is drinking red wine, the bar staff pour the remains of a Penfolds something into a glass, pull out a completely different wine from the ice and fill it up. The punter didn’t complain.

We decided to go to May’s bar and watch the Muay Thai and have a few there. Got there and atmosphere was not conducive to a good time. May and CMG giving and receiving daggers. CMG informs me that her flatmate has a bar in there and she wants to go and say hi. She comes back a bit later and wants to move there.

I was pleasantly surprised with her flatmate, lets call her CMG2. I was beginning to regret taking CMG again, she is good but variety is better. Stayed there for a few drinks and a hookah of some apple flavoured herbs. I don’t smoke and neither does CMG but that didn’t stop her. I was happy being entertained by the Muay Thai and CMG2’s tits, in no particular order.

Muay Thai most nights here is good entertainment, I imagine the guys (and girls) doing it don’t get paid much and they do it for real, you could feel the punches/kicks/elbows etc. After a fight, the combatants walk around asking for tips and they deserve whatever they get.

Back to the hotel and a damn good rogering for CMG.

Day 4…..

A First-Timer’s Look at Chiang Mai by Werewolf

Okay, let’s get the caveats out of the way up front. I still remember my first week in Bangkok . If I wrote a summary of that city after being there for four and a half days my thoughts would have been incomplete, incorrect and largely invalid. (oddly, I was keeping a diary of my holiday on-line, so I really can go back and see what I had to say).

A month ago, I had never been to the north of Thailand . Three weeks ago I had never been to Chiang Mai. That changed in June; I have now spent 4 weeks in Northern Thailand and 4 ½ days in the city of Chiang Mai .

People like me who visit Bangkok for the first time tend to stay in a few small areas like Nana, Patpong and Soi Cowboy. Based on information from the internet I’ve done much the same in Chiang Mai… I’ve stayed where the farangs stay and I’ve gone to the places where farang (tourists) go.

So – argue and criticize all you want to – this isn’t the ‒Users Guide to Chiang Mai” but the ‒First Timer’s Look at Chiang Mai”. It’s the impression of the uninformed. If you want to comment and say I’m wrong, that’s fine – but don’t just tell me I’m an idiot — tell me what I can do better on my NEXT trip to Chiang Mai.

Alright. Caveats finished. On with the blog.

Chiang Mai is in the mountains. The entire area is more beautiful than central Thailand (ie. Bangkok and surrounds). That’s a fact.

Continue reading