HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Handbags, shoes and haircuts! I’m in heaven!

Handbags, shoes and haircuts! I’m in heaven!

Why is Thailand heaven for two young females? Three words: handbags, shoes and haircuts.

Carrie from “Sex in the City” would be in her element browsing Chiang Mai’s markets, picking up the latest bargains, bartering with the street vendors and trying on seriously stylish shoes. The airfare to Thailand is almost worth it, just to buy flip-flops. I will never need to buy a pair of shoes in England again. Pink, stripy flip flops, sparkly high heels, black polka dot shoes costing one tenth of the cost in Britain. How can a girl resist buying a new pair every week? What am I saying? Every day!

Behind every back street and around every corner in this city there are shoes, handbags and haircuts. Miraculously, a dirty, rat infested, stinking street is transformed into a miniature, Thai style shopping mall in minutes as the vendors set up their stalls and the shoppers gather to feast their eyes and empty their wallets.

If only it was as easy in England to look so good! Haircuts, clothes, massages, beauty treatments - we are spoilt for choice. Shopping is pure heaven in Thailand.

In need of a haircut I walked into the first salon I could find and paid 199 baht for the best haircut I have ever had, including an incredible head massage. In London I would be paying at least 3000 baht in the stylish Tony and Guy for anything half as good.

I buzz around Chiang Mai’s university night bizarre, hungrily hankering after new handbags, eyes like radar checking out the best purchases. I could stay there for hours, if only the budget would allow. I have never seen so many beautiful clothes in one place. Unfortunately, being a foreigner, and twice the size of the average Thai woman, I can barely fit into the changing rooms let alone the delicate clothes!

Chiang Mai’s Sunday street market beats them all. Never in my life have I seen so many bargains to be had at such reasonable prices. Street upon street of beautiful clothes, shoes, handicrafts and handbags. Chiang Mai, as we all know is seriously shopper’s heaven!
Louisa Strain

Anything with wings will be shot on sight (and on site) says PM Thaksin, while offering to donate 20 million baht to anyone who dies of bird flu, provided they are prepared to collect personally in front of seven high court judges. Chickens, no matter how well dressed or prepared, are not eligible for the “death reward”.