Monday, March 24, 2008

5 Things Chiangmai is Famous For

A "yoga" house. Just adjacent to this, is a studio where we found an on-going yoga session. It took us 45 minutes just to locate this place.

There are 5 things that I eventually learned Chiangmai is famous for. These are the main reasons why people visit this enchanting, laidback city in the mountains of North Thailand.

1. Dental Work. Oh yes, Jose! Caucasians actually save up to have their dental work done here. Dental clinics are a ubiquitous sight all over the city. Local dentists are said to be very efficient - and very cheap as well. American girl Ana Lisa, whom Irene and I met on our first day in Chiangmai, revealed her intentions to have teeth "done" once she gets some stuff settled, whatever that meant. I told Irene why not invite Ana Lisa to walk with us. She whispered, "Coz i dont think it's a good idea. She seems scrimping and may have money problems."

2. Spas. Thailand is known for pampering their farangs anyway they can; for their spas and massages, well-being clinics and facials. In fact, just outside the mall - Kad Suan Kaew, located northwest of the city center, you would see multitudes of couches spread infront of the mall entrance, and farangs getting their massage right where people could see them. Parang Megamall na may nakahilerang mga massage couches sa. It was some sight!

3. Cooking Classes. Irene (my Malaysian Chinese friend who's based in London) told me that people come to Thailand to learn about Thai cooking. In fact, I've met 4 people during my whole stay there who has, in one way of another, set their sights on a cooking class. Ako lang yata ang 'di nakakaalam. (I'm the only one who doesn't know.) Haha. Caucasians specifically book one-day to one-week classes.

4. Yoga classes. During my walkathon with Irene, I've seen 3 yoga places full of Caucasians.

5. Gay Scene. From books I read, the gay scene in Chiangmai enjoys a relaxed and laidback atmosphere, just as long as you don't smooch torridly in public. Gay people aren't looked down either. The community is generally tolerant.

A lovely unnamed park I inadvertently discovered while looking for a yoga house. I saw a group of people dancing (aerobics?); several joggers, children playing, etc.

Wat Phra Singh - the city center's most visited temple.

Monks congregate during late afternoon before partaking on chants and prayers.

Lanna Oasis Spa. A high-end, ultra expensive spa where a massage costs B2,000. Back in Lamphu House (Soi Rambuttri), a body massage for 2 hours would only cost you B150-200. The Lanna is obviously for the well-heeled tourists.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

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