Noise pollution and traffic hazards
The ubiquitous advertising trucks with the panels and the blaring
loudspeakers are an evil of life in Chiang Mai that could easily be done
away with, I believe! Not only are these annoying trucks filling the air
with unspeakable noise, noise nobody can really understand anyway, they
block traffic as they drive slowly through the city streets. And why is it
necessary to have not just one or two trucks but usually three or four,
travelling in a caravan? They cause terrible traffic jams and terrible
Please please ban these awful things, I doubt they are a very effective
marketing tool anyway considering how much trouble they cause for everyone
Entrance fees at Doi Suthep
As a long time working resident of Thailand and Chiang Mai I must confess I am
rather surprised that Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep actually charges a 30 baht
admission fee for foreigners. An admission fee to a temple? I am happy to donate
and usually do but find the idea of an admission fee to a place of worship to be
Perhaps the surly man who collects this admission fee would be put to better use
guarding the temple bells from unruly and unregulated children who play with
them and break them?
The general lack of respect shown by both Thais and foreigners when coming to
this holy place deeply disturbs me. The foreigners are often ignorant, which is
not a good excuse but surely a better one than the disrespectful Bangkok Thai
people have. Shouldn’t they know better?
I am a Buddhist and often like to visit the Wat for a moment of mediation and
prayer but find the rude man at the gate to be off putting and more than once
have decided, instead, to take my prayers to a more peaceful and welcoming
temple such as Wat Umong.
It’s a sad loss and one that makes this seem more of a commercial venture than
place of worship, perhaps this explains the disrespectful attire and behavior
from visiting Thais, maybe they think its commercial so its ok.
Doi Suthep lover
Red Truck smog
Are these red trucks regulated in anyway? In general, they produce more thick,
choking black smog than any other vehicles on the road. Many is the time I have
been stuck behind one on my motorcycle gagging on the fumes. I realize they
belong to some kind of co-op, I see the emblem painted on the doors. What does
this co-op do? Does it require them to do regular mainentance on their vehicles?
Or to change their oil so that everyone around them isn’t polluted?
Inside the city the biggest culprits are the red trucks, outside it is the big
trucks carrying sand, dirt etc. to construction sites. These big trucks not only
emit the thickest black smog but often spray sand onto the road.
I recall last year during the height of the terrible haze that filled Chiang Mai
that trucks and cars were being spot checked for emissions. I would suggest that
it is done more than once a year. Try doing it now, for instance. And make sure
you check everyone, including the red trucks.
There is a 2500 Baht fine for this kind of pollution in Bangkok. Chiang Mai
would do well to impose the same fines on polluters.
The cool weather
has finally come!
This is not a complaint but rather an observation and a joyous one at that. The
cool season has finally arrived, albeit rather late I believe. I have not lived
here for as long as some have but in my mind, November is the start of the cool
season, or winter as the natives like to call it. December seems quite late, and
it rained every day during Loy Krathong. The parades and festivities still went
on, but it did dampen things a bit.
I am grateful that it is cool now but I have to wonder if the Thai weather
department’s prediction of this being the coldest winter in many years will
actually come true. They failed to predict that it would start nearly a month
late or that rains would continue long past their normal period. I realize that
meteorology is part science, part voodoo but this seems to me to be less science
and more voodoo!
English language abilities need to improve
Chiang Mai is becoming more of an international city with many resident
foreigners, tourists and business people visiting. The level of English here,
while certainly better than in many other areas of Thailand, is really not good
enough to offer the kind of service that people need, and this in businesses
that cater to foreigners.
The fact is, if a company is going to court the foreign customer, even target
them for their services or products, then the level of English and the service
that goes with it really needs to go up. Too often I have been in businesses
that are geared towards foreigners and the staff have been unable to communicate
in any meaningful way.
Yes, I do speak some Thai but not everyone does and tourists most definitely
will not. Additionally, if Chiang Mai wants to attract long stay residents such
as retirees then these companies really need to train their staff to speak
English, much less better English.
This is not an impossible task and given the profits some of these businesses
must make then surely an eye towards improving the English of their staff could
just be seen as an investment that will result in ever increasing sales?