TRAVEL & TOURISM
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Elvis comes to town: Chiang Mai’s newest attractions

Elvis comes to town: Chiang Mai’s newest attractions

Reinhard Hohler
In the middle of the rainy season, general secretary of the Chiang Mai Tourist Business Association, Vorapong Muchaotai, announced the special event “Elvis Memories” to be held at the Plub Pla Restaurant in Chiang Mai from August 1 to 26.
The nightly performances of Elvis impersonators Jirasak, Vasu, Jaruek, Ritchie, and Sanit, highlight the newly established Chiang Mai Business Park with the Khum Khantoke Complex and the soon to be opened Best Western Premier Khum Phaya Spa Resort. The airline “Nok Air” is sponsoring the event.
For tourists who come to Chiang Mai for sightseeing, dining and shopping, there is a myriad of accommodations to choose from, stretching from small and cosy guesthouses to boutique hotels to fancy 5-star resorts. While the boutique hotels of Tamarind Village and Rachamankha are nestled within the Old City, the exclusive The Chedi, The Sheraton, and the upcoming Meritus Chiang Mai Riverside Resort are situated along the Ping River. Located just outside town are the sophisticated Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi and the luxurious Four Seasons Resort. Both are surrounded by fine shopping arcades. The Amari Rincome Hotel offers a scenic swimming pool.
On the restaurant front, the long established “Le Coq d’Or” serving French Cuisine will be connected by a shuttle boat service to the “Meritus” Hotel across the river. The Chedi, Chiang Mai has completely renovated the grounds of the former British Consulate and specialises in delicate Indian Cuisine. For lovers of German food, there are the newly opened Palm Beer Garden and the very popular Hofbraeuhaus, both restaurants along the hip Loi Kroh Road near the Night Bazaar. At the Night Bazaar, the Anusarn Market and Food Street is dominating the night scene with rows of little food stalls and public foot massage places. The “Primavera” near the moat and across from the Amora Thapae Hotel is Chiang Mai’s newest Mediterranean restaurant serving Greek, Spanish, Italian and even Thai Food.
Newly advertised travel products can be booked at Siam Sun Tours, where Swiss Manager Daniel Schneider offers tailor-made tours to Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son. The 7days/6 nights “Northern Thailand Explorer” costs 15,800-19,400 THB, depending on the hotel category, with a minimum of two persons. Contact Travel, managed by Swiss Director Alex Brodard, specialises in adventure tours and organises cycling in Northern Thailand and white water kayaking on the Mae Taeng River.
For tourists who want to use Chiang Mai as a base to discover the neighbouring countries of Myanmar and Laos, there are two recommended options. The Lao Airlines Office in town offers the Summer Package 2006 with a Chiang Mai – Luang Prabang – Chiang Mai round trip ticket, two nights accommodation at the Villa Santi & Resort, daily buffet breakfast and airport transfer in Luang Prabang for two persons at a cost of 13,860 THB. For one person in a single room, the cost will come to 9,240 THB. Nara Tour, opposite the Suriwong Book Store, advertises special packages to Myanmar, using the services of Air Mandalay. The 7 nights Chiang Mai – Mandalay – Bagan – Inle Lake – Yangon Summer Package 2006 costs 555USD p.p. on a twin sharing basis and including round trip airport transfer.
With the low cost carrier “Tiger Air” to Singapore and “Thai Air Asia” to Kuala Lumpur, tourists have even more options of travel from Chiang Mai. Bangkok Airways flies the Chiang Mai – Jinghong Route to China. A visa for China is easily obtainable at the Chinese Consular Office in Chiang Mai. There is also a three times weekly flight to Taipei with China Airlines.
Last but not least, Chiang Mai is now the place to go for nightlife. Several popular music restaurants have popped up in town, especially along the Mae Ping River. These include the Riverside, Good View, and the Brasserie. For the Thai discotheque scene, there is the new “Horizon Club” in the basement of the Central Duangtawan Hotel near the Night Bazaar. For wine lovers, there is the “Sarapee Winery” newly established by German entrepreneur Dieter Geidt.