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Life in Chiang Mai


Tourist season is upon is

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 traffic.

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]


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Tourist season is upon is