By Heather Allen
I confess to a certain impatience with our tourist visitors, be they
Thai visitors from Bangkok whose driving style needs some toning down for
our narrow streets or western visitors who cycle around googly eyed at our
beautiful city, seemingly failing to notice the numerous close calls with
red trucks, tuk tuks, cars and motorcycles.
Yet, the traffic is picking up and the annual onslaught of tourists for the
cool season cannot be considered a bad thing for the city’s denizens. Simply
one we must all take with a great deal of patience. The newspapers issued a
story just recently saying that Chiang Mai is the top cool weather
destination for Thai tourists. This is good, local tourists are more
reliable than the foreign ones who get seem to get scared off rather easily
by small things like riots and floods. Thai people tend to be a heartier and
hardier lot, realizing with the usual Thai sense of inevitability that these
things pass as well.
It is difficult for the locals that the tourist season is so cyclical, and
many would like to see tourists in other times of the year but it is a bit
much to ask for people to trek around to temples, hike in the woods when the
temperatures soar, or to do so in the rainy season when everything is more
than a little bit soggy.
Perhaps, year round tourism would not permit Chiang Mai the time to recover
its’ charm either, nothing is quite so tiring as playing the gracious host
all the time. One does need time to recoup and restock the flames of
goodwill, as it were.
However, high season is now upon us with Yi Peng coming up at the end of the
month as well as the International Balloon Festival, both events that are
going to be quite a bit of fun. Albeit, bringing heavy traffic, clogged
streets and, at least mine, shorter tempers. It behooves us all, or at least
me, to remember our roles as hosts for our guests and visitors and treat
them accordingly. Something I will remind myself the next time I am stuck in
The Chiang Mai Mail is publishing a series of
articles on residents’ experiences of life in Chiang Mai. If you
would like to contribute please email [email protected]