Chiangmai

North of Thailand is always a really nice place in my opinion, cool weather, relax and polite people and great landscape. It is a perfect place for photography and photographer who is looking for a relax holiday. To add to the richness, the city has a lot of temples and ruins juxtaposing to the modern development indicating what was once a capital of Lanna Kingdom.  The south, in contrary, is more about islands, beaches and diving – less culture more nature, depending on your lifestyle but it certainly is for me.  I used to come here very often as a child for Songkran festival (Thai New Year) and still remember how much more cultural it was, than celebrating it in Bangkok.

Our trip to Chiangmai city was really brief. We stayed for a week on the temple ground at the outskirt of the city and every now and then hopped into the city centre. I would hope to have more time to properly explore the city and the old temples but we had other business to finish. So perhaps that will be on our next trip.  However,  it should be enough to give you the snapshots of the city’s variety.

The best means of transportation is the get on one of this red pick up truck with 2 benches on the back.  Locals call it song-thaew literally means 2 rows (of seats). It operates like a public bus which runs on routes to various major destinations except they stop anywhere you want them to, just ring the bell. You tell the driver where you hopped on at the end of the journey and he/she will tell you the fare.

 

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Nimmanhaemin road

If you haven’t been to Chiangmai for the past 10 years, Nimman road, is where you need to be. It is an area which has transformed into a hip and quirky neighbourhood full of cafe, art galleries and trendy bars. The main road branches off into smaller Sois or alley ways. In these alley ways you can walk around to discover many boutique shops.  Usually, Friday night or Saturday afternoon the area is quite busy.

 

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Our best find is this coffee shop Ristr8to Coffee which serves selections of coffee beans around the world (Brazil, Ethiopia, Costa Rica etc). When I lived in London, there is a really good coffee shop near my house where I hang out a lot during the weekend. The owner and his coffee came straight from colombia and I can say that until this date I have not had a better coffee than that cafe. So it is no brainer that I am going to have a colombian coffee.

 

I have to say this cup has met and exceed my expectation (and that’s usually quite hard). It was very smooth and aromatic. It you have a chance, please drop by.

Ristr8to Coffee ChiangMai,

15/3 Nimmanhemin Road,
Suthep, Muang, Chiangmai,
Thailand 50200
Tel: 053-215278 

 

 

Bor Sang

Another famous place around Chiangmai is Bor Sang, a craft village where in the past is the centre of umbrella and fan making industries. Today is merely a quiet area with some tourist shops scattering here and there. This is a place that you can make colourful photos of the objects but it is quite a long way from the city so if you are planning to come just for that it’s probably not worth it..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Motorbike with Side car aka. Saleng to the locals is a very common means of delivery goods while maintaining the agility. You sometimes see it being used as people carrier or kioks. This one is rather a grocery store on wheels.

 

 

Khaosoi is the traditional northern dish which originated in Burma that you should tried once you ‘re in Chiangmai. It is basically crispy egg noodle in curry sauce which has a very mild taste. This is the Khao soi version as most of Thai people knows it. However, if you go to Mae Sai in Chiangrai, Khao soi takes on a very different form to this as it was influenced by the Laotian.

 

And who would ever go home without having a Banana Pancake.

 

This is where we stayed, outside in the rice field. Every morning we woke up at 4:30am. The daily routine start with praying and followed the monks to take alm (food donation from the villagers).

 

This good things about staying in the temple is you get to train your mind during that period. As an extra benefit, the temple don’t use electricity so life is pretty much followed the pattern of the nature. You go to bed after the sun set and wake up before the sun rises. The life was very simple and you get to witness the most beautiful nature light shows twice a day.

 

As for us ordinary people, we decided to come out and eat and drink after dark. Mae Jo market is a prefect place as it is near and full of food selections to choose from.

 

Afterward, we decided to go to the walking street which only opens on Sunday on Ratchadamnoen Road in the heart of Chiangmai.

 

For me, a market is more about interaction of people, sellers and buyers engage in a brief moment of trade rather than the goods themselves. If you are just photographing bunch of products and put that onto your gallery, you are merely turning your website into an online catalogue (that people can’t buy). There is nothing interesting or special about that, right.

 

 

This shop keepers sit attentively looking for new customers.

 

Are you thinking Chiangmai police has such a low salary he need to find some part time jobs. May be, but this “singing policeman” does it for charity. Sometimes, there are 3-4 policemen, sometimes students join the singing

 

 

 

 

We sat down and talked to this man who weave hat from pandan leaves. He also does a bundle of roses among other thing which we bought and give to the temple the next day.

 

 

I respect this guy who uses wine glasses filled with water and make them sing in different tones.

Another attentive keeper?

 

 

More to come on Bangkok.

 

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