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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

The Sanook Book - A Guide for Families in Chiang Mai

The concept of producing a guide for living for ex-pats in Thailand is something which can certainly fill a need. The Bangkok Guide produced by the women of the Australian and New Zealand associations was one which then spawned the Living in Pattaya and Rayong book, produced by the Pattaya International Ladies Club. In Chiang Mai there was also the Chiang Mai’s Shopping Secrets (ISBN 974-94715-1-2) which was produced in Chiang Mai by the Track of the Tiger Tourism Resources Development company and printed there by ACTS company last year. Now we have another this year in the form of the “Sanook Book, A Guide for Families in Chiang Mai”. This one is also printed in Chiang Mai by ACTS and has been written (or compiled) by Ryan and Michelle Young.
The book begins with Emergency Numbers, and that alone will endear this publication to newcomers. Next up are Holidays and Festivals, and all parents will relate to the problems in households during holidays! The first entry is even Children’s Day!
The next chapter covers Indoor City Fun and encompasses bowling alleys, video arcades, movie theaters, children’s playgrounds, various museums and the Phuping Summer Palace.
These are followed by Outdoor City Fun entries which includes the (infamous) Chiang Mai Night Safari, some botanical gardens, mini-golf and the locations of some children’s outdoor playgrounds.
Swimming gets its own entry, with several pools mentioned, plus the prices and the fact that most insist that women wear caps. No mention of long haired males!
Clubs and Activities again is child oriented, with information and prices on tennis coaching (in English) and other pursuits that will keep the smaller family members engaged for some time. Imperial Chiang Mai Hotel will even let children under six years swim for free (though I would expect that a paying parent would be with them).
Children are always adventurous, and there are many adventure pursuits included, with everything from microlights, Go-Karts, ATV’s, climbing walls, bungy jumping, white water rafting, trekking, paintball and more.
The compact book has much more, including adult activities like eating and shopping, plus more.
At B. 299, it is not expensive, and for newcomers to the Rose of the North will undoubtedly help new residents find their feet. With the emphasis on ‘families’, this does mean this book has much relevance for those with small people in their household, and I thought it was thoughtful to have children’s leisure pursuits given their own mention. The paper stock is glossy and the wire binding sturdy, so the book should last fairly well and stand up to the rigors of family life! It was also fun for the reviewer reading the ‘bon mots’ running up the gutters on each page. Did you know that polar bears are left handed (or should that be left-pawed)? Or that fleas can jump 350 times their body length? Perhaps we should be entering fleas in the Beijing Olympics!
Recommended for new arrivals to Chiang Mai, though there is still relevance for those contemplating going up just for the weekend, with their families.