Dec 13, 2008

Doi Inthanon ดอยอินทนนท์: Rainforest and birds

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Doi Inthanon ดอยอินทนนท์, formerly known as Doi Ang Ka, is the highest mountaintop in Thailand (2565 meters above sea level. A mountain chain joins it to the Himalayas. It supports Himalayan flora and fauna and is one of the famous birding heavens. Read, what Mong Cor Mun found here and more about birdwatching by

Doi Inthanon National Park has beautiful natural scenery as many waterfalls. Read more by The best period for viewing the waterfalls is May through November, while the best period for viewing wild flowers is December through February and for ornithologists is November through March.

Nearly on the top ypu find the Ang Ka Luang Nature Trail, which was surveyed and designed by Michael MacMillan Walls, a Canadian volunteer biologist who devoted to his work and died from a heart attack on this mountain. This trail, 360 metres long, passes through wet and cold areas in a lush valley. The forest is covered with lichens and wild orchids. Indigenous plants that needs a high level of nutrition, organic deposits, and rare species of birds are seen along the trail.

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Sphagnum Moss along the Ang Ka Luang Trail.

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More on Doi Inthanon: See also the Photo Gallery by Brian McMorrow.

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Your Guide to Chiang Mai

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Oct 5, 2008

Old Chiang Mai - discover the Wat Ket Community

See the locations on Chiang Mai Google Map by #treasuresofthailand

It's not so easy today to find authentic scenes of life of Chiang Mai's past. But in Wat Kate, on the East bank of Ping river, there are places, where time seems to stand still. Wat Ket วัดเกตุ community has been trading on Ping River for 500 years. Therefore the architecture is multicultural with Western, Chinese and ethnic influences as Haw Chinese and Khmu. So you find Chinese shop houses, Christian churches, colonial style schools and traditional Lanna buildings, the Dara Academy โรงเรียนดาราวิทยาลัย and the victorian buildings of Prince Royal College and also the around 140 years old wooden house of Doctor Chinda Singhanetre. The RarinJinda Resort has conserved it in its traditiona style and is using the upper floor for traditional Thai massage. Read more here.

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Another witness of the past is the "Sala Bart", where women used to bring food to be prepared and presented for merit making.

Wat Ket was also the site of Borneo Company Limited, which had a concession from The Chiang Mai King for 100 years for teak wood. Read the blog of

There is a plan of Chiang Mai City, to put Wat Ket into a zone for commerce and construction, where residents are opposiong, as The Nation noted.

Wat Gate Ka Ram วัดเกตุการาม: Also: Wat Ket Garam. See the Gallery of Ram J. This temple has been founded around 1428, it is of Lanna origin, but some buildings show Chinese and European influence. It's first name was Wat Sa Gate. At the center of the temple is the large chedi,whose corners are guarded by garudas. East of the chedi is the ubosot, whose stairs are guarded by nagas. The roof of the viharn has five gables, what is unusual. At the back you find a mirrored tile tree - a decoration you usually find at Lao temples.

Foto by

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Wat Ketkaram Museum: At the back of Wat Ket. Owned by 87 years old Jack Bain, who's Scottish father William worked for the East Asiatic Company and married a Thai and owned Bains compund. A lot of things from the past life as the first bank notes of Thailand, textiles, ceramics, old grammophones... You will see a collcection of old photographs going back more than 100 years to the early days of western trading with Chiang Mai: Old river boats, markets and temples. Read more at and read about The Life of Jack Bain.

If you turn north from Bain’s compound and the front gate of the temple and turn left to Nakorn Ping bridge you will see a teak house, that belonged to the former prime minister, Dr. Sukij Nimmanhemin. A brief walk toward south brings you to Baan Tree House, that belonged to the Tantipong family and “Baan Orapin”, which is an over 90 year old, teak wood residence built in European, colonial style. Such huge houses were usually the home for merchants and another, called “Baan Khun Arak” was the residence of a rice trader. See pictures in an article on

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Baan Orapin Guesthouse

Read more: The Wat Ket Neighborhood of Chiang Mai.

The history of Chiang Mai: A collection of articles for a book: Click.

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Sep 7, 2008

Elephants and Elephants - a trip from Chiang Mai to Lampang

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Elephant Trekking near Chiang Mai

If you sit in front of one of the music bars on Nimmanhaemin Road in Chiang Mai at night, you can be nearly sure, that a mahout with his elephant will pass by and try to sell you bananas or sugar cane to feed the elephant. More than 200 elephants are said to wander around in Thailands cities, from Phuket to Bangkok and Chiang Mai. And that means stress for the animals: standing and walking on the concrete damages their feet, street- and bar-noise irritate them and the polluted air is poison for their lungs, and sometimes they are injured by traffic accidents (read the report by Cindy Tilney). But since Thailands government 1989 banned the logging with elephants in the wood - to protect the wood and prevent erosion and floods - the elephants and their trainers have to look for another income to survive. The ban let 2000 animals and their mahouts unemployed. But a way to employ elephants has been developped: Many camps have been created in a natural surrounding for a get-together of elephants and tourists. Many treat their elephants well, but some don't have proper working conditions for the animals. So if you want to be sure to do someting for the protection of the elephants, you can head to the National Elephant Institute in Lampang. There are shows presenting the traditional logging work, of course you can go riding on a saddle, but there is a homestay program too: You will stay at the home of the mahout, accompany him during his day with the elephants and learn how to ride without a saddle. And some elephants even know how to play music in an elephant orchestra - read more.

Find your way: Take a bus at Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Station for Lampang (timetable). One way will take one and half an hour. Ask the driver to stop at the elephant center. Another possibility is to travel by train, but the trains to Lampang leave Chiang Mai only in the afternoon (see timetable), so you will have to stay for a night in Lampang to go to the elephant shows in the morning. In Lampang you take the bus for Chiang Mai at the bus station and ask the driver to let you out at the elephant center.

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Your Guide to Chiang Mai

Jul 31, 2008

Chiang Mai: Cool Nights

See the locations of clubs, bars and restaurants on Chiang Mai Nightlife Google Map by #treasuresofthailand

Updates about coming events you find on Chiang Mai Music Scene

Nimmanhaemin Area นิมมานเหมินท์

Nimmanhaemin Road (also: Nimmanhemin) is the place to be for the local nightlife scene, mostly students from the nerby universities or youn working adults: "Young, beautiful and trendy Thais partying like there's no tomorrow!", writes Jaxon Toh in his blog.

Warm Up Cafe: 40 Nimmanhaemin Road. Popular hangout for young Chiang Mai with two glass enclosed dance floors, DJs and often live music and an outdoor zone for sitting, talking and watching.

Warm Up 9th Anniversary Music Video:

Monkey Club: Nimmanhaemin Road Soi 9. Open 17 pm to 01 am. Another hotspot for the students. Indie music and outdoor eating.

Drunken Flower: 295/1 Soi 1, Nimmanhaemin road. Open daily from 18 pm to 01 am. Restaurant and bar, visited by a mixed Thai and expat crowd. Most weelends live folk music. Read James' review on "Food is poor, drinks are over-priced, seats uncomfortable and the live music is lame. God knows why we all go there", says the review on

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NimMahn Bar: 59/8 Nimmanhaemin Rd. "Cavernous industrial-looking interior, softened with smart leather poufs and sofas", according to the review of Lonely Planet.

Glass Onion: Room 1 project, 61, Nimmanhaemin Road. Open 6 pm to 1 am. Bar with a grand piano, red carpets, red bar-chairs and art deco chandeliers. "James Bondesque", means Lonely Planet. Popular by gays.

Fine Thanks: 119 Nimmanhemin Rd Soi 5. In a restored wooden Thai house. A live band plays Thai and Western songs. Cute waitresses from the universities around the corner, good food, popular with locals.

Tawan Dang: Nimmanhaemin Road Soi 6. Open from 6 pm till 2 am. Live music.

Huay Kaew Road

Discovery: 12 Huay Kaew Road. Live Band, DJ, Video-Screens.

Fashion Paris: Unterground of Lotus Pangsuankaew Hotel. Dancing room and Hip Hop room. Read review of Lonely Planet.

Mo'C Mo'L ร้านน่านั่ง (The Monkey Club and Moon Lover): 233 Huay Kaew Road. Pub and restaurant with Thai, European and Japanese Food and a pond with fish and frogs. And a chic coffee shop. Live Bands (Jazz, Pop, Acoustic). Place of the hip and trendy.

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Sudsanan: 30 Ratchaphuek Road. Wooden house with Thai restaurant and stage. Rock, Folk and Jazz-Bands. In the middle of the evening the owners play: Souat (guitar), Houag (bongos) and Pleuay (Khane = Isaan bamboo instrument). Read a fine review of Sudsanan by Delacroixyut.

Isaan Ban Hao live at Sudsanan:

Riverside Area

Tara Bar: 140/1 Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road. Live music, dance. See a video.

The Riverside Bar & Restaurant: 9-11 Charoenrat Road. Thai and western food, good! Western and Thai Pop starting at 19 pm, Jazz on Sundays. Read review of Lonely Planet.

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The Good View: 13 Charoenrat Road. Thai and Western rock, pop, jazz and country in the evening, Thai, Chinese and Western food.

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Tha Chang Jazz Club: 25 Charoenrat Road. Open 8 pm to 1 am. Live Jazz on Saturdays.

La Brasserie: 37 Charoenrat Road. Very popular for live rock and blues. From 23 pm Thai guitarrist Took and friends play Hendrix, Dylan, Marley. Read the review by and And read an interview with Took on

Took plays Jessica from the Allman Brothers, Part 1:

Part 2:

Old City Area

Cafe Souvannaphoum: 20/1 Ratchamanka Road. Wine Bar with music. Read the review of Lonely Planet.

Mandalay Bar and The Dark: 5/3 Soi 1 Moon Muang Road. Multistorey-complex, foreigners get charged at the entrance. Thai live music, dancers, concerts, shows. Read the review of

The Garden: 139, Ratchadamnoen Rd. Every Sunday night live music with the Chiang Mai Blues Club. Warren Simpson ist playing here Delta Blues Music.

The North Gate: Every Tuesday everybody. who can play an instrument, can take part in a jam session. Live music every evening. Read the review on

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Spicy: 82 Chaiyaphum Road. You go, when everything else has shut. It's open till 4 am. Who is there? Read review of

Night Bazaar Area

Crystal Cave: 199 Chang Klan Rd, in the Empress Hotel. Disco.

Horizon Club: 132 Loy Kroh Road, in Hotel Centara Duangtawan. House and Hip Hop, popular by young Thais.

The Bubbles: 46 Charoen Prathet Road (Pron Ping Tower). Disco. Read revoew by Lonely Planet

Other Area

Chai Blues House: Music by local artists and classic blues by Chai, a Thai performer, who has moved from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Right now he is looking for a new space according to his homepage and playing in the city.

Houn Soontaree:
Houn Soontaree Vechanont is a singer of Northern Thai folk songs in Chiang Mai and restaurant owner. She and here daughter Lanna are singing, while you enjoy Northern dishes.

Lanna Commins sings Ka Sa Long

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Jul 30, 2008

Chiang Mai Nimmanhaemin Road นิมมานเหมินท์

See the locations on Nimmanhaemin Chiang Mai Google Map by #treasuresofthailand

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Nimmanhaemin Road, a place for arts and crafts and trendy bars.

The "arty epicenter" of Chiang Mai is Nimmanhaemin Road (also Nimmanhemin), according to Time Magazine. Boutiques sell pottery, textiles, other crafts and jewels. An Arts-and-Crafts-Show is held here every december, to see the next generation of Lanna artists and designers you come here (see video). This year the Nimmanhaemin Street Fair takes place from December 1-7.

Studio Kachama: 10-12 Soi 1, Nimmanheimin Rd. Waved cotton and silk wall hangings, cushions, table covers. Kachama Perez studied design in Japan and rewaves traditional Hmong, Karen and Yao patterns. More in Soi 1: See this map

Gerard Collection: No. 2/8 Soi 3, Nimmanhaemin Road. Bamboo furnitures. More in Soi 3: See this map

Living Space: Thai and vietnamese lacquerware, tableware, Indonesian silk textiles and leather handbags, chosen by British-French expat Jennifer Dyson.

The Room: 61 Nimmanhaemin Road.

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Your Guide to Chiang Mai

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May 6, 2008

Massage by the female prison (and others)

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Lila Thai Massage ลีลา นวดไท: Naowarat Thanasrisutharat, the director of Chiang Mai's female prison, has established a massage shop, popular by tourists and residents. The women in the prison can learn massage there and earn money and with that they often support their families. As Bangkok Post writes, also women, who have left prison, are working there, because they see it as a way for reintegration in society. You find the shop on Prapokklao Road. Read how Ash and Bi describe this experience.

And more tipps for massage:

Nerve-touch massage: 25-27-29 Ratchadamnoen Road, next to Siam Commercial Bank. "Nerve-Touch" is a method of working on the lines and muscles. It is deeper and more therapeutically oriented than the usual Thai massage. Pressing, rotating and squeezing techniques following the meridian lines. In Lek Chaiya’s family, the traditional Thai Healing Arts have been handed down from mother to daughter. She operates this place now with her son Tananan Willson. A massage with medicinal herbpacks takes 1 1/2 hour. Training courses for 3 to 5 five days are also available.


Lek Chaiya at a training course. More pictures

Shivagako Marapa Old Medical Hospital: 5 Wualai Road. Thai body massage and massage training for 30 years. A full massage lasts two hours. The practitioner uses hands, forearms and feet to apply firm rhythmic pressure to almost every part of the body. There is pulling and stretching of arms, legs, fingers and toes, arching the back and neck and even walking on the back. Read more on Easy Chiang Mai.

The Garden Chiang Mai: 139 Ratchadamnoen Road. Footmassage, Thai Traditional Massage and Oil Massage. The homepage gives a lot of information about the massages and the massage schools in Chiang Mai.

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Your Guide to Chiang Mai

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Apr 5, 2008

Handicraft and Antiques: Shopping in Baan Tawai

Baan Tawai, 20 kilometres south of Chiang Mai, is the centre of wood carved handicraft and antique trade in Northern Thailand. And also the production of reproductins of antique art is a growing business here. Shopowners from Bangkok and abroad come here to buy their goods. So the prices are more reasonable than elsewhere. You find arcades full of shops and on the road to Hang Dong you discover many mini-factories with showrooms and can see the artisans and their work: Wooden Buddhas, wooden elefants, wooden reliefs, sandstone sulptures, textile hangings, frames, lamps and vases for your home. Many shops construct teak furniture and can ship it abroad. Thai antiques are famous for the early artistic expression of Buddhism. If you are looking for genuine antique, you have to look for a certificate from the Fine Arts Department.

Brief introduction to the art periods in Thailand:

Homepage of Baan Tawai Village:

You can visit Baan Tawai for a Woodcarving College

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Feb 9, 2008

Soppong Lisu Hilltribe Homestay

Lisu Hilltribe Homestay in Nong Tong near Soppong. Here you can be guest of the Lisu people, who originally lived in Tibet. Around 80 years ago they settled in the mountains of North Thailand. You live in a traditional bamboo or teak house. And you can take part in classes to learn more about lisu culture. Lisu Hilltribe Stay. More hilltribe information Lisu Hilltribe Resources And a Video and one more Video

Learn more at Virtual Hill Tribe Museum

The Lisu Hilltribe

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Feb 3, 2008

Chiang Mai Map

This map shows the position of Hotels and Guest Houses, descriptions, pictures and links:
Interactive Map

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Your Guide to Chiang Mai

Jan 28, 2008

Mud Therapy at Phu Klon

See the locations on Mae Hong Son Google Map by #treasuresofthailand

Picture Phu Klon

Phu klon geographically means a mud source and natural mineral spring which is between 60-140 C. Rising together with the mineral water; boiling black mud is clean, free from sulfur smell and full of healthy mineral for the skin and blood circulation.. See the homepage of Phu Klon Country Club with more informations. Phu Klon Country Club

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Your Guide to Mae Hong Son

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Mae Aw Chinese Village and Pang Ung Lake

See the locations on Mae Hong Son Google Map

Mae Aw Chinese Village

Mae Aw lies near the Burmese Border. Thai name: Ban Rak Thai บ้านรักไทย. This is a village founded by Kuomintang soldiers. Mae Aw is famous for its tea cultivation and Yunnan food, that you can enjoy at the restaurant and shops around a small square. You can buy ginseng, jasmine, oolong and green teas, as well as Chinese teapots and cups. More: Read here: Chiangmainews. And here background about the immigration of Muslim Chinese from Yunnan to Northern Thailand Muslim Chinese A festival is held in February to promote tea products. You follow hot tea tasting, tea-making demonstrations combined with cultural shows. Visitors can also ride a horse around the village. Sleepeing there. See picture by Buddhamountain.

Mae Aw, also called Ban Rak Thai, picture by Neo

Pang Ung Lake
Also written Pang Oong sometimes.

Not far from Mae Aw lies Pang Ung, known for its production coffee beans. Pang Ung was a reforestation project by Queen Sirikit. A few kilometers out of the village there ist a lake, a water reservoir, surrounded by pines with a camping area. The lake is covered by fog in the early morning, until the sunshine comes. Very romantic! A road runs along the lake to a green hill, where there are some guesthouses: Pang Ung Garden Houses (Phone 01-992-9891, 01-783-3981). Find more information: guesthouses.

Pictures of the lake at Photography Thai Online Magazine ความงดงาม แห่งปางอุ๋ง

Pang Ung Lake

Tents under the pines

Picture by koson

Map of Mae Aw

On the way to Mae Aw and Pa Ung you pass Pang Tong Palace near Mok Cham Pae, open every day from 8.30 am till 4.30 pm.

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Your Guide to Mae Hong Son

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Jan 27, 2008

Huay Pu Keng Karen Village

See the locations on Mae Hong Son Google Map by #treasuresofthailand

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On Pai River to Huay Pukaen

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Karen village Huay Pukaen (Thai name: Ban Nam Phiang Din)

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Huay Pu Keng is reached by boat on the Pai River and lies near the Burmese boarder. Karen refugees from Burma are living here and in other villages and making their money with tourism, showing their longneck women and selling their products. There is a lot of controversy about their conditions of living. More on: Karen Center and Huay Pukaen Info Read Background story and also this Background story
Ban Nam Phiang Din is the Thai name of the village. The people are known as Kayan. In Burmese they are called Padoung. Listen to Karenni Music

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Reading near the school

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See also this video about the Karen and the situation with human rights in Myanmar (Burma) by burmariders

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Your Guide to Mae Hong Son

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Mae Hong Son แม่ฮ่องสอน temples

See the locations on Mae Hong Son Google Map by #treasuresofthailand

Mae Hong Son - seen from Doi Kong Mu temple trough the mist

Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Mu วัดพระธาตุดอยกองมู:

Wat Chong Khlang วัดจองกลาง:

Wat Chong Khlang, built around 1860, contains a Vihara housing a replica of the Phra Phuttha Sihing image brought from Burma in 1857. It has been gilded with gold leaf. Near the main altar are you see nearly 200 paintings in glass of the Phra Vejsandorn Jataka (tales of the previous lives of the Buddha). Then you find thirty-three wooden human and animal figures representing scenes from the Vessantara Jataka. They were carved by burmese artisans and taken from Burma in 1857.

Wat Chong Khlang

Wat Chong Kham วัดจองคำ:
Wat Chong Kham lies beneath Wat Chong Klang. Both temples are built in burmese style.
It was the oldest wat in Mae Hong Son, founded in 1827 by the Shan ruler Phaya Singhanataraj. But it burnt down and had to be reconstructed in the 1970. The viharn is graced with a seven-layer pyatthat (multi-tiered spire).

The viharn with a seven-layer pyatthat

Night has fallen on the temples and the lake. Picture by fredalix - อาลิกส์

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Your Guide to Mae Hong Son

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Mae Hong Son แม่ฮ่องสอน Night Market

See the locations on Mae Hong Son Google Map

When the light is fading, the streets near the lake are closed for the traffic and everybody is preparing for the night market.

At the nightmarket you can buy art and handcrafts from hilltribe people, for example Lisu and Hmong. Your eyes will be amazed by clothings, bags, embroideries or jewels. And your tongue will be delighted by what the food hawkers are selling.

Picture by athena-th

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Your Guide to Mae Hong Son

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