In part two of a visit to Chiang Mai, we look at a fantastic local market, a bar and restaurant with superb food and music, a health resort with just about everything, Thailand’s highest point and beautiful national park and an evening of traditional Northern Thai cuisine and dance set back in the ancient Lanna kingdom days.
Sunday ” Walking Street” Market
If you like a market then Thailand is the place to be as the Thais seem to be specialists at providing quality markets. In Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand they seem to have quality markets off to a fine art, but the most famous one being the Night Bazaar is actually not my favourite. The market known as ” Sunday Walking Street Market” located at Thapae Gate and running the length of ratchadamnoen road is mostly attended by local Thais and plenty of them it has a far more authentic feeling to it than the Night bazaar and cheaper too. The market traders start setting up early in the day for a late afternoon start that will run on until about 11.00pm in the evening. You can actually browse to your heart’s content as it is said to take approximately 2 hours to walk both sides of the market browsing each stall. Aside from the shopping there are lots of tasty snacks and drinks to have at more than reasonable prices, The last time I went I had a big bowl of Phat si eiw noodles for 20 baht about 50 pence and they were delicious, but you could choose from the many tasty treats on offer. It really is a great place to stroll around browsing, eating, drinking and people watching and to do a bit of shopping as well of course. If you get tired you can just rest up at one of the foot massage places have your treatment and then proceed.
Sunday ” Walking Street” Market
For the combination of food, a drink and music you will be hard pressed to find better than the Riverside Bar And Restaurant on Charoenrat Road this is a pub and restaurant that has been in existence since 1984 and in that time has established legendary status. My only advice would be don’t arrive too late as it is so popular that it is occasionally difficult to get in. The Riverside provides quality in both Thai and Western cuisine plus Thai and Western music with a variety of music taking you from about 5pm up to 1am. The music very much depends on the time you are there or the day of the week you are there as they cater for a variety of tastes including light piano music, folk, reggae, pop, rock, jazz in Thai and Western style. With the Riverside being situated on the banks of the ping river, you can actually dine outside via candlelight on a lovely warm evening looking across the river. All in all the food and the music at the Riverside Bar And Restaurant are highly recommended. For more information visit www.theriversidechiangmai.com
Health Spa And Resort
For the ultimate in Health and Wellness have a real break at the Tao Garden Health and Spa resort in Dao Saket about 30 minutes outside the Chiang Mai city centre. Once inside the Tao Garden you enter a completely different world of natural scenic beauty away from the stresses and strains of life. There is everything you can think of available for the mind, body and soul by the creator of the healing Tao Master Mantak Chia. The activities and therapies include a Fitness room, Sports area, Tai Chi field, Herbal Steam Bath, Hydrotherapy pool, Swimming pool, Meditation Hall, Lao Tzu meditation hut, Therapies for Slimming, healing, Holistic health check, Detox, Ayurvedic, Doctor consultations and the delicious joy of juice club or liquid fasting centre plus of course Qi Gong. Underlying all of this are the 7 Taoist secrets of longevity which are …..
- Organic diet
- Daily Exercise
- Daily Meditation
- Positive Thinking
- Eliminate External Toxins
- Promote Internal Cleansing
- Herbal Supplements
For more information on the Tao Garden Health Spa And Resort please visit www.tao-garden.com
The Tranquil Tao Garden
A visit to Doi Inthanon which is Thailand’s highest mountain will give you a full day out. This National Park is approximately 1.000 square kilometers and part of the mountain range that stretches across Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Northern Thailand. The park has beautiful waterfalls, dense forests, wild birds and lots of marvellous picnic areas. Doi Inthanon can be visited throughout the year, but to view the waterfalls the period between May through to November is said to be the best, if you enjoy the beauty of wild flowers then December through to February is preferable. It can be rather on the chilly side at Doi Inthanon early of a morning during the cool season months of December, January and February and I have even witnessed icicles there so pack a sweater and long pair of trousers in case you need them early on. Doi Inthanon is also paradise for bird lovers and the perfect time to visit the park for Ornithologists is November through to March. For more information on Doi Inthanon National Park please visit the link at
Doi Inthanon National Park
Former Northern Traditional Feast
Now unfortunately a bit more touristy than I would like is the traditional dining and entertainment of a Kantoke evening. Kantoke is the eating of superb Northern cuisine accompanied by an enchanting Lanna style folk performance featuring candle dancers, finger sword dancers and performances by various hill tribe groups, the dances are traditional countryside dances for things like planting and fishing. The traditions go way back to the ancient Lanna Kingdom and the hill tribes are made up from the Akha, Hmong, Yao, Lisu and Lahu groups. In the old days a guest would have been honoured and welcomed with the preparation of a Kantoke banquet where the food is served to low tables while diners sit on the floor supported by big beautiful cushions. The dishes of a kantoke evening usually include fried chicken, pork curry with ginger (gang hanglay), grilled young chilli paste ( nam prik oon), crispy rice noodles, crispy pork skin, steamed vegetables, sticky rice, boiled or fried rice and after fried bananas followed by seasonal fruits. The eating style is in the breaking off of sticky rice bites and dipping in to the bowls of sauces and curries. For more information on Kantoke or attending an evening please visit www.oldchiangmai.com
It’s the Customers turn to dance now at Khum Khantoke
For more information on the tours, products and services of Engaging Thailand please visit www.engagingthailand.com