The kindness of Chiang Mai people
One of the things I love about living in Chiang Mai is the genuine warmth of
most of the people here. I met a Chinese tourist who, despite the bad
reputation so many have, told me that the local people had been treating her
with kindness. She told me that she really enjoyed her visit to Chiang Mai
and thought she would try to come back. She also said, because of how kind
people were that she would certainly recommend to her friends and family
that they spend their holiday in Chiang Mai.
So, well done Chiang Mai people. We may find the Chinese tourists difficult
but they are certainly keeping the local economy zipping along. For that we
cannot complain and it is good to know that despite the annoyances the
gracious kindness of local people remains intact.
Friendly Chiang Mai
Beware parking at Wat Ban Bping on Sunday!
There is bad and good news about parking at Wat Bpan Bping, Rachapakinai Road,
on Sundays. This is now becoming a favourite place to park for Walking Street
traders and visitors in the nearby Rachadamnoen Road.
At lunch time on Sept 22nd there were many spare spaces, and another
expat-driven vehicle along with mine found refuge there with no-one asking for
money. We both ensured we parked so that no-one else was blocked in.
By 2.30pm, now ready to go, we found that both of us - and many others - were
totally blocked in by 5 vehicles, in gear and locked up and left by utterly
selfish and/or incompetent drivers.
Just one young monk was there, very apologetic. With my poor Thai I was able to
discover that none of the drivers were temple visitors, they were all at Walking
Street. However, he was writing down the numbers of all the offending vehicles
and said he would get a message put out on the Walking Street public address to
try to get the cars moved. Here starteth the good news!
A middle aged Thai man (also blocked in I think) took my phone number and
promised to call me when the cars had been ‘freed’. This he did at about 4.00pm.
Needless to say I was very grateful, though the afternoon for me and my family
had been well and truly ruined.
I am hoping to send a polite letter in Thai to the Abbot to commend these 2
helpful people, also to suggest the temple collects money from parkers and in
return tries to ensure the parking is competent and responsible. But I don’t
hold my breath.
Last for now, if we had not approached this situation calmly and politely, with
patience that only Thailand has taught me, I fear you would still find us
blocked in there this week!
If you are heading for Immigration, my experience on September 26th may prove
I went in a day in advance to get my updated photos and passport photo copies -
and to plead for an appointment for my 1 year Non-Immigrant B extension. “Not
possible” said the charming young lady at the front counter, adding that I
should be there at 6.00am the next day to take my place in the queue.
Realising she must say this to everyone, I planned my (sober and early) night on
the 25th carefully, rose at 4.15am and arrived there at 5.20am, hoping the gates
would be open, the car park would be empty and I would be No 1 in the line. I
scored on the first 2 and, clutching my paperwork, headed for the seating area
near the coffee shop - to find 3 people in place ahead of me already!
This is the waiting area to aim for because it’s that back door that is opened
first, well before the original door near the front counter, facing the car
park. It was indeed opened at 8.00am sharp, and large laminated number cards
handed out as we filed in. All 50-plus of us by that time!
Before 8.30am we were summoned in order to the front counter to state what we
wanted, and the old style numbered tickets were issued by hand to eventually
‘send’ us to the correct desks. That process began promptly at 8.30am.
After a wait of some 45 minutes behind some better organised person who had made
an appointment online, I got in to the inner sanctum and from there all was
friendly, polite and smooth.
I did rather pity a young student who was No 3 ahead of me. All that red-eye
sacrifice, just for a 90 day report. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that
3.45pm was the optimum time to do this, and my world land speed record (with
completed form and photo copies in hand) was 6 minutes last month!
Other than this pre-dawn requirement, I must say the whole thing went smoothly.
I am told that Mondays and Fridays are still the days to avoid, and that online
appojntments have to be made many months in advance of your due date. But all
that’s far too technical for me.
In case of accident
Just something to add re traffic accidents, as we all know whatever the accident
it’s usually the Foreigner that gets the blame.
This story is 100% true. A good friend of mine was waiting at a red traffic
light at an intersection. The light turned green and he drove off only to be hit
by two motorcyclists that came through a red light. The Police charged him, they
said although his light was green he should have looked to his right first! So
that meant paying hospital and motorcycle repair fees to the two boys who hit
him! It’s not a bad idea is to get from your Consulate the names and phone
numbers of Lawyers who speak you language, in my case it’s the British Consulate
here in Chiangmai. They have a list of names but will not recommend anyone in
My own accident was on a motorcycle, I was riding at the advised speed limit on
the correct side of the road when three teenagers on one motorcycle came round
the bend on the wrong side of the road hitting me head on. None of the teenagers
had a driving license or wore helmets, two died at the scene of the accident!
I was a few weeks in Rajavej Hospital and on coming out went with my lawyer to
the Police Station at Sarapi where the accident happened. They said to my Lawyer
that I was 100% in the right and the boys 100% in the wrong. How lucky was I?
But the Police Commissioner did request that I meet the parents of the dead boys
and offer them money for the cremation of the boys at a Temple. So I did meet
them at the Police Station and gave each of the parents 5,000 Baht and I gave
the surviving boy 1,000 Baht to buy a good crash helmet. They did show a lot of
sympathy for me which I could tell was genuine, and I felt sorry for their loss.
Finally I would advise any foreign motorcyclist or motorist to have plenty of
money in the bank, my hospital bill was quite high and being over 65 I had no
insurance cover. I do believe now though that the Bangkok Bank have an accident
policy for us golden oldies!!!
I hope all that was of some help.
If anyone would like my Lawyers name please feel free to give my email address.