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    Tropical Storm Tour: Thailand Part 18

    Sunday, June 21, 2015
    Chiang Mai, Thailand

    A whimsical wonderland at Wat That Kham in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    A whimsical wonderland at Wat That Kham in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    Golden dragons guard Wat That Kham in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    Golden dragons guard Wat That Kham in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    Another unintentional art installation in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    Another unintentional art installation in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    A Thai food cooking class gets underway at May Kaidee's in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    A Thai food cooking class gets underway at May Kaidee’s in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    I decided to rent a bicycle today so I could cover more ground and see more of Chiang Mai since I’m only going to be here one more day. I started off by heading down to a neighborhood south of the moat, where I encountered a whimsical wonderland known as Wat That Kham, which is completely chock-full of beautiful dragons, chedis, temples and the like. As I walked around soaking it all in, a man warned me about an aggressive dog behind the chedi (sort of like the Wizard of Oz hiding behind the curtain), so I steered clear of that area. As I finished up my photo session, the sky started to drizzle a little bit. Luckily, my bicycle was attached to a small gazebo with an overhanging roof where I could wait out the rain. I was stoked it only lasted a few minutes.

    Chang Puak Gate on Thanon Sri Poom in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    Chang Puak Gate on Thanon Sri Poom in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    A scenic view of the moat along Thanon Arak in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    A scenic view of the moat along Thanon Arak in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    Ruins on the northwest corner of the moat in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    Ruins on the northwest corner of the moat in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    An afternoon Buddhist prayer service at Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    An afternoon Buddhist prayer service at Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    After stopping by May Kaidee’s for a spicy and tangy Massaman Curry lunch (where I witnessed one of their Thai food cooking classes in progress for the first time), I pedaled around the whole circumference of the moat, snapping shots of buildings, gates and ruins the whole way. Sometimes, I rode on the far right edge of the street, where I almost got clipped by cars a couple of times. Whenever the sidewalks were open and free of pedestrians, I rode up there. The only problem was there are no wheelchair ramps at corners, so it was a real chore lifting the heavy bike up and down all of those high curbs. After taking a breather inside Buak Hat Park, which is a really pleasant, scenic and relaxing place in the southwest corner, I headed a few blocks north to Wat Phra Singh, where an afternoon Buddhist prayer service was underway. It’s always entrancing to sit down close as they all chant in unison.

    A bunch of tuk-tuks near Tapae Gate in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    A bunch of tuk-tuks near Tapae Gate in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    A bustling street market at Tapae Gate in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    A bustling street market at Tapae Gate in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    Traditional Thai musicians jam at a night market on Thanon Ratchadamnern in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    Traditional Thai musicians jam at a night market on Thanon Ratchadamnern in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    A traditional Thai dancer performs at a night market on Thanon Ratchadamnern in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    A traditional Thai dancer performs at a night market on Thanon Ratchadamnern in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    I finished out the night by randomly stumbling into a bustling night market a block north of Be-Beez Guesthouse on Thanon Ratchadamnern. I was really just walking up the street to look for a fruit shake cart, but found so much more: traditional Thai dancers and musicians plying their trade, scores of massages going down in recliners right there on the street, and seemingly endless food, clothing and souvenir stalls. This was seriously the most crowded night market I’ve ever squeezed through anywhere. It was seriously jam-packed with tourists and locals alike. In fact, Chiang Mai in general is a lot more hectic than it was the last time I was here in 2010. There seems to be a lot more of everything: hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, bars, massage joints and stalls selling everything, everywhere are completely packed into every little space on every street. And the traffic on the roads around the moat is a thick and never-ending snake chasing its own tail into infinity. As far as over-development is concerned, Chiang Mai has reached a breaking point.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

    One response to “Tropical Storm Tour: Thailand Part 18”

    1. Larry Balma says:

      Garry This is the first chance I had to check out your blog. Very interesting and great photos. I was wondering if you ever rented a bike. Glad you are having fun.

      I picked up your mail the other day. there were three envelopes from Union Bank and one from the attorney in Kentucky, one junk mail and a cd. Do you want me to open the one from the attorney? Or maybe you can ask your brother what it is.

      I’m going to continue looking at you photos. I thought you were going to Vietnam and Cambodia?

      Larry

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