Western scam artists!
When my wife (who is Thai) and I walked near Old Town, we were approached by 2 enthusiastic Aussie men. They were handing out free scratch tickets where you could win prizes. I scratched the wax off my ticket and when one of the men saw I had 3 stars, he became very excited, as did his partner! According to them, we had won a week in an island hotel and just had to accompany them to the travel agency to claim our prize. Suspecting a scam or bait and switch of some sort, I declined. They then tried to appeal to my sympathy because they would receive 1000 baht just by bringing me to the agency!
Well, we didn't go, so I don't know what the plan was, but the moral is that all touts and scam artists are not necessarily Thais.
Taking a Taxi in Chiang Mai
Be aware that all Taxi in Chiang Mai does not want to use the meter . If you ask them to use it they are not willing to drive . They overcharge all the tourist even the thai people . Always bargain and try to take a cheaper one . The TAT does nothing .
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
I have been in Chiang Mai since last November ,and the air quality, up untill mid- March, has been acceptable. But. Untill the Thai institute emission controals (at least get the vehicles blowing clouds of exuast smoke off the roads) any area with traffic will be unpleasent at best. When the burning of the stubble in the fields and the under brush in the forests starts;Get Out. I have a flight out day after tomorrow and will be outside as little as possable untill then. R
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Mysterious deaths in Chang Mai
I recently read of now six people, American, British and New Zealanders who have died in Chang Mai under mysterious circumstances. The Thai police have not been able to accurately identify the source of the problem, calling the incidents 'coincidental'.....which is most probably a face-saving solution instead of admitting 'we don't know because we don't have the knowledge or skill to conduct a thorough investigation. At a press conference in Bangkok yesterday, Chiang Mai Governor Pannada Disakul said: "We have to admit that these deaths coming one after another are nothing more than coincidence.
"We have done and will continue to do our utmost to make tourists confident in our city."
Unfortunately he didn't say 'We have done and will continue to do our utmost to find the source of the problem and correct it before any more deaths occur'.
Clearly, until the matter is correctly identified, it is of grave danger to be travelling in Chang Mai at the moment without being aware of the deaths and possible food/water poisoning risk there so I implore you to be careful of what you drink and eat and where you stay if you need to visit Chang Mai.
SongThaews at the foot of Doi Suthep
I'd like to clarify that 400 thb is the standard rate for booking the whole vehicle up and down to Doi Suthep. You pay your driver at the end of the journey. You can also share the journey with other strangers but it would mean that you wait until the van is full before the driver starts off. And you might pay the per journey rate.
Songthaew AT THE ZOO
Lucky for me, before I left my Hotel, I asked the Receptionist to give me an idea of the prices to pay for travel as you have to barter.
On exiting from the Zoo, I wanted to go to Doi Suthep temple, which was not that far away.
A Songthaew was there waiting, I asked the price, 400 t/b. I knew that was a lot too dear, so said no, and waited.
Nothing came, so I decided to walk to the main road, and what did I find, but a proper Songthaew waiting area.
This other fellow didn't mention this to me.
I was asked where I was going, another lady was already waiting, so I joined her.
More passengers came, and off we went for the price of 40t/b!
SO BEWARE, GET IDEA OF COST BEFORE LEAVING YOUR HOTEL.
- Road Trip
CHIANG MAI..PRECIOUS GEMS SCAM
When in Chiang Mai there is a good chance that you will be confronted by a"smoothie" well dressed and will be friendly ask you where you are from and then its the" OH' I have a daughter studying economics there at the university of ?...then its onto the the chance of a lifetime to buy ..usually a ruby or emerald..Be Careful...you would be surprised how many people fall for this scam..These guys are good..if its too god to be true it usually is..
I'm surprised that this warning is not yet posted. Every cool season i.e. high tourist season , during the months of January through April Chiangmai is blanketed with the worst smog and polluted air imaginable. It is due to the open burning of the sorrounding fields and the exhaust-belching vehicles, red-buses in particular, that never see any emission control ckecks. It covers the entire northern section of Thailand all the way to the Mekong River.
You can read about it in the two local English language papers,The Nation and the Bangkok Post both available on line and running articles about the poluted air requently. Each year of the 5 years I have lived here the polution has been near twice the maximum safe allowable levels with the powers that be afraid to do anything about it and mystified each year that it occures again. Motorists, policeman and all wear face masks and try to choke-it-out until the rainy season comes. It is dusgusting that the tourist industry,whats left of it, and the medical community in particular aren't demanding that something be done about it immediately. If you are thinking of Chiangmai please be advised to read the local papers, contact a local friend who lives here or have a reliable travel agent check before hand. I feel sorry for the children who in the future will have respiratory problems as a direct result of the inaction of the of the city leaders currently in office. It is that bad; do your own research. Chiangmai is a beautiful place when the visibility allows.
Water in Song Kran
Be vigilent about protecting yourself from the water that is thrown in Song Kran. Firstly, the water comes from the local rivers (yuck) and secondly it can really hurt you!
Full buckets of water are thrown and a lot of the time in your face. If you wear glasses, don't wear them outside, wear contacts if you can. I lost mine out the back of the car (subsequently to be run over by a truck) and needed to fork out for a new pair.
Also, most people put huge blocks of ice in their water so the water is icey cold when it hits you - not nice even in 40 degree weather!
Have fun, but take care!
Protect your stuff at Song Kran
You will get wet and pretty much stay wet during the Song Kran festival. What you need to do if you will be in Thailand during Song Kran is to invest in zip lock plastic bags to protect your personal items. If you can, leave them in your hotel.
Also, make sure that your zip lock bag is properly sealed. Mine wasn't and I lost my mobile phone and iPod to a watery grave. Unfortunate and expensive but avoidable with prior thinking.
Pollution & Traffic Dangers.
There are two warnings that I have,as yet, not seen posted for Chiangmai. Neither one will be corrected any time in the near future so plan and act accordingly.
The first warning is that during the high tourist season (Nov.-Feb.) of each year the air quality in Chinagmai plummets to dangerously polluted levels. Visibility is halved and the usually beautiful city is rendered unsafe with warnings at times to stay inside. It is truly sad as the local government seems unable to affect a change. They wait for the rainy season to clear the air while , in the meantime , tourists not to mention the locals (myself included) suffer with red, burning eyes and negative effect on breathing. Very sad , indeed.
The second warning is ; be careful and aware of the traffic at all times. I have seen other countries that are in competition for "worst" but Thailand and Chiangmai are right there in the running. I have friends who have been hit by other vehicles while walking, riding their bikes, motorcycles (again, myself included) and in cars. One friend was killed as he was hit from behind by a car while riding his bicycle in the bicycle lane at 7:00 A.M. with a bicycle club. Driver fell asleep? at the wheel. Friend is still dead. In every case I have heard of , it was the victim who had done nothing wrong. Just be aware.
Look out for song tew
When you are driving a motobike, like many tourists are renting in Chiang Mai, and you are driving just behing a song tew, take care that the driver is is not cutting your road.
The only thing they are doing, is looking for new passengers on the sidewalk; when they see one, they will immediately turn to the left, without looking behind and cutting your road.
So take some distance behind them and you'll have to time to brake or to slow down.
Don't eat salads
As tempting as it may be ...stay away from uncooked veggies and fruit and of course don't drink the water.
The Thai mango salad is a favorite but the best way to avoid travelers illness is to stay away from it . There was a lady we got to know in our Hotel from Finland and she had to go to the hospital she had become so ill. It can ruin your fun to say the least!
- Food and Dining
- Business Travel
The night market in Chiang Mai is alot of fun and bargaining is the name of the game . However you will see almost everything with a label marked "silk". Many of these are polyester....not real silk...so bargain accordingly. As long as you know what it is the prints are so nice and worth buying!!
- Women's Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Business Travel
Upcharges on Flights from Chiang Mai to BKK
IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING ON A BUDGET READ THIS CAREFULLY.
i SPENT A LOT OF MONEY BEING CHARGED FOR OVER THE WEIGHT SUITECASES TRAVELLING BETWEEN NORTHERN THAILAND, THE ISLANDS, AND BKK.
When I was there, the weight limit before they charge you extra was 70 kilos per suitecase. You are allowed 2 per person travelling. Otherwise they charge you....what I believe was the equivelent of $35-40 USD per suitcase.
So if you are there with heavy suitecases or bags, find a place to store some items, especially if you are shopping in Chiang Mai.
And it is cheaper than BKK so i would suggest it.
- Budget Travel
- Book now for big savings!
- Hotels.com Outstanding choice of hotels all over the world at fantastic prices.
- Save money, Book now!
- Booking.com Excellent choice, Low rates