Why Chiang Mai?

One day recently I decided to spend a few hours behind a camera, exploring the many delights of my adopted home town of Chiang Mai.

Any experiment like this is of course an exercise in what not to include.  I could have bathed an elephant or two, or gone zip-lining through the trees gibbering to the gibbons. A saucy pic or two of me having a deep-tissue massage, or of me cycling around the moat of the old city, were also on the list of “To Do” photographs.  There is the Oriental Village – an excellent little naturist resort – and there are second-hand bookshops that are part of my life, there are resorts including the Four Seasons  that provide me with food and drink and a bed for the night and a concert or two at various times of the year.

But what follows is what happened a day or two ago – starting with a bleary-eyed me struggling out of bed, going to the gym hoping for a miracle of weight loss and muscle gain (nope – did not happen) and then popping into whatever Chiang Mai offered that day.  Perhaps the final photograph should have been one of me blowing out the candle and settling in for a good night’s snooze …

But that’s another story.

1. csh

Uurgh … early morning … Painting above the bed is by US artist “Symon” and shows Siem Reap dancers. Symon works and has galleries in Bali, Indonesia

2. sunrise

Hazy dawn over Chiang Mai

3.gym

4 gym

Perhaps another 4500 sit-ups and I will be fit and healthy …

3a gym

Khun Few, my personal trainer – before he found it all tooooo hard …

5 dentist 1

Y&B Dental Studio … waiting for a check-up

5.dentist 2

This was him .. a few minutes later it was me having my massive molars photographed.             Yes, Mr De Mille, I am ready for my close-up

6.temple 1

Heading up to Chiang Mai’s most important and most revered temple, Wat Pra That Doi Saket, we pass this little place at the foot of the hills …

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Lotus Lady

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Temple Bells

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Two faces … and temple offerings

7.pool.0

My favourite swimming hole – no crocodiles, no marine stingers, no crowds – and a great tuna sandwich

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8.HomePro.1

This fair was held at the superb new International Convention Centre Commemorating the Seventh Birth Cycle of his (late) Majesty King Rama IX … the exterior sign giving the centre’s name stretches for several days …

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A “Lovely” – the unofficial Thai word for young women in short skirts and high heels promoting beer, whisky, wine … or just about anything else.

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All the new gear is there … but for second-hand feet there is also a good supplier

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December is mountain strawberry time in Chiang Mai

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10 Anant 0

This hotel used to be the Chedi – and perhaps something else before that – but is a stunning and stylish place on the Ping River and one of my favourite places for a glass of this and a bite of that for lunch …

10 Anant 2

The Anantara – as well as being the former Chedi Resort – is also the former UK Consulate. The lovely colonial building now offers a couple of very stylish restaurants, a cigar bar, a secret spy room … and other attractions …

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11.FRench

A gentle stroll North along the road from the Anantara passes various French places, a “soapy massage” salon, many guest houses and a superb couple of old (150-year) teak houses

17 Teak house

16.door lock

11.Sri spa 1

12.Baan Tuek Art Centre 1

Near the popular Nawarat Bridge is the Baan Tuek Art Centre

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12.Baan Tuek Art Centre 3

12.Baan Tuek Art Centre 4

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Worowat Market is a magical place of food, fabrics, flowers, knobs and buttons, polystyrene, mushrooms, flags, banners, fishing nets …

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Blind mountain flute player

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18 Offerings 1

Near the Anantara is a temple where people can buy fish, birds, eels, turtles … and then release them to “gain merit”. The seagulls and other birds love this place as they swoop down and snatch the newly-released fish (etc) long before the latter have any chance of attaining nirvana …

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19 RPF 1

The Royal Project Fair is an annual celebration of the work by HM the late King, who promoted many regional projects especially in the remote northern hills of the Kingdom

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Stylish food chef

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Rockmelons on a string

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20 Ping Fai 1

Just over the road from my condo … Leo Beer organises a great festival each year – the Ping Fai Festival – that showcases local handicrafts, food, marshmellow toasting … and beer

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21 Maya 2

A few minutes’ walk from my apartment is the MAYA shopping mall with restaurants, a supermarket, cinemas, food courts, a magical fountain, top brand clothing stores and a good bookshop or two

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“Think Park” near MAYA and my condo is a gathering place for all sorts of people

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My condo is in Sukkasem Road – and the “Try Umm” restaurant and bar is on the corner of my street. Try Umm has live music every night

Night

… and that is why I love Chiang Mai … and now it is time for bed …

……………

Journey 23 December 2017 2017

Text and photographs © Christopher Hall 2017

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If a man ascended into heaven and gazed upon the whole workings of the universe and the beauty of the stars, the marvellous sight would give him no joy if he had to keep it to himself. And yet, if only there had been someone to describe the spectacle to, it would have filled him with delight. 

Attributed to Marcus Tullius Cicero – On Friendship

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