living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai – catchin’ a flick (see photo)


Via: City News – Chiang Mai

Although the malls’ construction has been slow Maya issued a statement saying its mall would be finished in the third quarter of 2013, Central Festival have said November 2013. Promeneda had originally said late 2012, but opening has been delayed until 2013.

Cinema chain, Cinema City, have invested three billion baht to develop Maya lifestyle mall, which will have a retail space of around 100,000 m.sq. As well as six floors of shops, food outlets and local services, the mall will be home to an SF Cinema, one of eight SF Cinemas to be opening in the north of Thailand this year.

Movie buffs will be pleased to hear that the six billion baht Central Festival Mall will also have an SF Cinema, while Promenada Resort Mall will be home to a Major Cineplex.



February 19, 2013 Posted by | entertainment | , , , | Leave a comment

Chiang Mai – Fourth of July Goes Off With a Bang

Via: City News – Chiang Mai

Hot dogs, beer, and fireworks, it seemed liked the River Market restaurant could have been in any town in the United States on Wednesday when the crowd gathered to celebrate American Independence Day.


Between the music, barbecue, friendly conversations, and good natured ribbing of our Canadian cousins the only thing that seemed to be missing from the celebration would have been some cold Budweiser. The festivities at River Market started in the afternoon and were slow at first, but in the evening around eight o’clock just before the fireworks show, the restaurant was packed and getting a can of beer at the bar had become a herculean task.

The River Market, being a relatively new restaurant, just celebrated its first 4th of July this year, but hopefully the event will become an annual tradition. The location, next to the Iron Bridge, made it perfect for launching fireworks over the river and its open lawn in the back worked wonderfully for hosting the Auzie John Experience who played rock tunes all afternoon for the guests.

The owner, David Anichowski, of the local American restaurant chain Duke’s, was running around the entire time all over the establishment checking on everything and never seemed to stand still for more than a few seconds. When asked for a comment about the festivities, this reporter was told “I got no time for you pal.”

Talking with Americans in attendance brought about a wide range of opinions about how they liked to celebrate the holiday, ranging from one girl in her twenties, Blaire, explaining that she and her friends like to celebrate by “doing American things like eating barbecue, getting drunk, listening to Bruce Springsteen, and talking loud.” She explained also that she and her friends had all gone out and bought the most patriotic second hand clothing they could find to fully get in to the spirit of things. On the opposite end of the spectrum was a slightly different attitude, exemplified by John Schmidt, an expat who looked to have been in Thailand longer than he could remember, who said he likes to go out and see other Americans, but still “pretend[s] like it’s any other day.”

This type of dichotomy existed all throughout the Americans in attendance. The people who were living in Chiang Mai for short periods of time, less than a couple of years, who already had planned to make their expat lives temporary were generally much more nostalgic for the US and liked the celebration because it scratched a homesick itch. For the lifers who had decided to permanently move to Thailand, there was a different timbre in their voices as they thought it was nice to see other people from their homeland and to have a hamburger, but they were not nearly as attached to the holiday.

Non-Americans who attended the celebration also seemed to be having a wonderful time at the celebration. A Canadian couple was celebrating their first Independence Day at the bar and enjoyed how friendly and happy every there was. A few Ukrainian girls said that they liked the party atmosphere and Soe Lay from Burma said that he enjoyed the American food while he was eating a rack of barbecue ribs.

In the past the American Consulate hosted a Fourth of July party, but has now turned the event over to the local community.

According to members the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post, they became involved in 2008 and hosted jointly the party jointly with the consulate at first, but then fully took over in 2009. The VFW hosted a large party at the football stadium for a couple of years, but because of their own problems with hosting such a large event, they ceded control in 2011 to Creative Kingdom. After Creative Kingdom was not interested in hosting another large party this year.

River Market quickly organised the event and obtained music and fireworks for the celebration.



related post:

Chiang Mai – ‘The River Market’


July 8, 2012 Posted by | entertainment, restaurants | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chiang Mai – Formula One Racetrack Could Happen Soon

Via: City News – Chiang Mai

Chumpol Silpa-archa, the Tourism and Sports Minister, has said that Chiang Mai could have a Formula One racetrack in the near future that will be constructed at the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek.

Chumpol addressed the press saying that firstly a feasibility study would be done, but he hopes that one of the world’s biggest sports will one day come to Thailand. And of all places the quiet Mae Hia area was the chosen place for the very lucrative event where currently Malaysia has the closest circuit to Thailand, with Singapore and the new Indian circuit next.

The ministry of Sports told the press that one of the reasons they chose Chiang Mai was because of the large amount of space around the Royal Flora site, and also because they say the site is not close to residential areas and is easily accessed.


June 29, 2012 Posted by | Amazing Thailand!, entertainment | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chiang Mai – The River Market

Via: The Dining Guide

Chiang Mai’s dining scene has just been enriched by what can probably be called the most outstanding dining venue ever built in the city, The River Market.  It is unique not only for its location on the river next to the Iron Bridge, one of the most photographed places in Chiang Mai. It is also one of the largest restaurants in town, with more than 750 Sq. meters arranged on two floors. Built in traditional Thai-Burmese architecture, the building contains a lot of wooden elements, made almost exclusively from recycled wood. The place is laid out to emphasize natural ventilation throughout the place so it always feels comfortably cool despite the lack of air condition.

The cuisine served at The River Market is predominantly Thai, but also includes popular Japanese dishes, such as Sushi, which can either be ordered to the table or eaten at the separate Sushi bar. The Thai food is traditional, but with a touch of fusion added to it and in accordance with the customer’s preferred level of spiciness. The clearly laid-out menu includes all the classic Thai dishes, such as rice and noodle dishes, soups and curries, fish and seafood, and a large selection of salads (“Yum”). One of the highlights and many diners’ favorite is the Thai BBQ which is prepared on the open grill for everyone to watch.  The choice of meats includes beef, lamb, pork and chicken.


Best of all, the prices are astoundingly reasonable.That is part of the restaurant’s concept since the very beginning,and can be explained by the insight and long-time Chiang Mai experience of the venue’s co-founder, David Anichowski, also the owner of Chiang Mai’s leading and highly successful American restaurant, The Duke’s.

David’s concept for his new project is as clear. ‘We wanted to create a family-friendly place where diners can enjoy original Thai food at reasonable prices in a comfortable atmosphere and a great setting’.

Pointing to the Iron Bridge, just a stone’s throw away from the restaurant and illuminated by the setting sun, David explains ‘We basically took up the concept of the traditional Thai food market which people have come to love, both Thais and foreigners. From there we have selected the most popular Thai dishes, perfected them with our own style, and now offer them here in a clean and comfortable setting, easily accessible to everyone.’



related post – ‘Chiang Mai – the Duke’s Restaurant’


June 4, 2012 Posted by | entertainment, restaurants | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chiang Mai – the Duke’s Restaurant

Via: Chiang Mai Chimes

The Duke’s is all about FOOD. Lots and lots of it. Without any doubt, The Duke’s is the best known and best loved American Restaurant in Chiang Mai.

The enduring quality of The Duke’s is down to one man, Dave, the owner, a restaurateur from California, who ensures that no compromises are made in the quality of the ingredients used and the high standards of preparation.

The portions are indeed enormous and it is a common sight to see replete customers leaving with a “Doggy Bag”  clutched in their hands.’s.html



Q1: Do they have a good menu?

A1: yeah, man!

Here’s the menu, via, Chiang Mai’s – Meals on Wheel’s

note: However, I’m not sure if the menu is up and running during NON-business hours.


Q2: Tell me the truth, is the food any good?

A2: I believe if this restaurant was in any U.S. city or town, there would be customers waiting outside on any given Friday or Saturday night!

Seriously; the food, service, ambiance is THAT GOOD!


May 14, 2011 Posted by | entertainment, restaurants | , , , | 2 Comments

Chiang Mai – Loy Kroh

Via: Thai Visa – Chiang Mai Forum


Having not ventured into the centre of town for quite some time, I recently met a friend there for a few drinks because he was flying back to New Zealand the following morning.

When we were walking through the Loi Kroh road around 9.30pm, I was taken back just how seedy, dirty and squalid that area has become.

Dirty tatty little open bars full of gross drunken farangs, and the girls pretending that they find these guys cool and they’re drunken rants amusing.

The BGs there appear uniformly unattractive. Not young, not old, average age perhaps around 30ish, but cheap and nasty..

During the dark hours around the centre of Chiang Mai city becomes infested with hideous freaky travesties.

blah, blah, blah


Random Comments:

TBH compared to other places like BKK, Phuket and Pattaya, the P4P scene in Chiang Mai is tiny so im not sure why you are getting so hot under the collar. Aldo ladyboys and katoeys have always been a part of Thailand and always will.


I really dont understand why so many people get on a high horse about this street – it is pretty easy to avoid if you find the bars/ girls/ patrons offensive.


“I was taken back just how seedy, dirty and squalid that area has become.”

What was it like before?


How about letting the Thais decide what to do with their own country?

I wonder just how happy you’d be if a bunch of foreigners moved to your home town and started lecturing you on how they thought it ought to look?


April 27, 2011 Posted by | entertainment | , , , | 1 Comment

Thai Visa (dot) com

I think this is the BEST ‘expat’ source of information for people who:

LIVE in Thialand


– are considering MOVING to Thailand


– are simply thinking about VISITING Thailand


April 23, 2011 Posted by | accomodation, climate, cost of living, education, employment, entertainment, marriage, medical, restaurants, retirement, transportation, visa | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thailand – live U.S. TV programs, available for FREE, on USTVnow

For FREE I can watch CBS, CW, FOX, NBC and PBS.

Currently @ 7:00 am – Thailand

CBS – Wheel of Fortune

CW – Major Leauge Baseball (Braves home opener vs Phillies)

FOX: Two and a Half Men

NBC: Entertainment Tonight

PBS: Sesame Street – This will remian available until the Republican teabagger Party cuts off funding; the bastards!


MANY of  the OTHER U.S. TV channels (Comedy Central, NBC, ABC, >>>) are available for $49 per month ($1.63 per day).


April 9, 2011 Posted by | entertainment | , , | Leave a comment

The Girls at the ‘Forget Me Not’ Bar


A couple of years ago, on a trip down to Bangkok, I went to an ‘Entertainment Center’ next door to the J.W. Marriott. It was about thirty ‘Mini-Me’ size bars, UNDER a FREEWAY!!!

Note: We’re talking about some special kind of ambiance here.

For no particular reason, I stopped at the third bar, and on hind sight maybe number two, or number four, would have been better; but hey, there’s no way to know.

I ordered a Singha Beer and was immediately hit with: 1. ‘Wat Ur name?’, 3. ‘Wat hotel u stay?’, 5. ‘U take me home?’. I mean really ‘hard-core stuff’, because they skipped right over; 2. ‘Where U from?’, and 4. ‘U buy me drink?’. One beer, and out.

The shortest distance to my hotel was to ‘run the gauntlet’ through the rest of the bars.

I hadn’t planned to stop for another beer, until I saw the girls at the ‘Forget Me Not’.  I mean without exception; the girls were 8’s, 9’s and several 10’s. And there wasn’t a ‘hard-core’ look with any of ’em.

Note: These bars didn’t have dancers, so the girls were dressed, more or LESS, in normal street clothes.

The bartender spoke great English because she was an American Thai, going to school in Bangkok.  Her uncle owned the bar, and the rule was she couldn’t ‘date’ the customers.

She was surprised to hear I wasn’t looking for a ‘date’, but was simply there to have a beer and hopefully find someone who could carry on more of a conversation than, ‘Wat ur name?’, ‘Where u from?’ ….’ .

She said, “Yeah, that gets old doesn’t it?”.

She then told me, her uncle wanted her to work with the girls to help improve their English; i.e. to increase business.

The girls English were better than most, but frankly they were so HOT; I didn’t care if they spoke Urdu.

Anyway, it got off to a rocky start because the youngest and prettiest girl in the bar, asked, “What Ur name?”

I said, “For you my ‘sweet young thing’, you should call me, Grandfather Jon”.

 The bartender was drinking a Coke at the time, and it went down the ‘wrong way’.

The ‘sweet young thing’ unfortunately also took it the ‘wrong way’, because she thought maybe I had said something insulting.

After the bartender recovered and explained it to her, it was all cooool.

The ‘sweet young thing’ became essentially a second ‘Left Arm’ for the duration. And I tell ya, it was GOOOOD.

The other girls in the bar picked up on the story, and they became an alternating second ‘Right Arm’, and that was SOOOO GOOOOD!

It was the normal Thai bar scene; with music, bar games with the girls, etc, etc, etc. I probably spent $40 the whole evening on drinks; a couple of beers for me, and a ton of ‘lady drinks’.

Note: the old Cyndi Lauper song, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, HAD to have been written about the girls at the ‘Forget Me Not’; I mean they were simply so much FUN to be around!

When I was getting ready to leave, I was debating whether to come back the next night or not; I mean I had serious doubts that it could possibly be as good.

I reluctantly decided to tell the girls I had to leave town in the morning; blah, blah, and blah.

As you might have guessed, the next evening I just couldn’t resist going back.

One of the girls saw me about sixty-feet away, and the other dozen or so joined her in a ROUSING CHOURUS of, “Sawadi kaaaaaa, Grandfather Jon!!”!

About thirty-feet away, the DJ started playing the oldie and moldie ‘Macarena’, and the girls, of course being Thai bargirls, started to dance.

Anyway, they were surprised; surprised I say, when I started dancing with what, 12-14 girls?

It was great fun, and THEN, they started improvising by adding some rather ‘lewd’ moves.

When I started copying their ‘lewd’ moves, the smiles became even BIGGER, and SWEETER!!

And jeez, it was even better than the first night; and I’m not sure how I was able to do it, but I resisted the temptation to do ‘take-out’; but I did, and I’m glad I did.

I’ll NEVER, EVER, forget the girls at the, ‘Forget Me Not’.

May 24, 2009 Posted by | entertainment | , , | Leave a comment

Catching a ‘flick’ in Chiang Mai, Thailand


As far as I know, without a dish, there are four ways to watch a movie here: 1) download from the net 2) cable TV 3) movie theatres, and 4) DVD’s.


In Chiang Mai, you can get HBO-Asia or Starz Movies.

They both, obviously, need to tailor to the local audience, so there seems to be an abundance of low-budget, “Action-Jackson: blow ’em up, shoot ’em up, kick ’em in the cajones”, genre.

If that’s not to your liking, you can watch ‘straight to cable/DVD’ teen horror or teen comedy.

But every once in awhile, they’ll show something good; however, they’ll show it five times a day; for four, eight, possibly twelve weeks.

In summary, cable movie channels in Thailand are EXACTLY the same as in the States.


There are two major multiplexes in Chiang Mai, one with eight screens, the other with six.

They usually show one or two American movies at a time, most often in English with Thai sub-titles.

– Thai movies

The Thai people seem to like: ‘Kung-Fuey-Louie’ movies; unbelievably sappy ‘boo-hoo-hoo’ love stories; and dumb-ass comedies, often featuring one, or more, lady-boys.

The Thai movies often have English sub-titles, and on a rainy afternoon, it’s a fun way to spend a couple of hours.

– American Movies

The leading U.S. box-office grossing movies are shown here at the same time as in the States.

Note: movies open here on Thursday, which is Wednesday in the States.

Prices: higher for the first three-days and the weekends: 60-130 baht @ 35 baht = $1.72 – $3.72.

4) DVD’s

I suppose if you LOOK really, really, REALLY HARD; you might, and I say might, be able to find DVD’s that aren’t counterfeit. But I honestly, have never seen any that are legit.

The quality of the DVD’s varies between what you would find at Blockbuster (good), or like your Aunt’s “Trip to Cozumel” video (TERRIBLE!).

The selection is very extensive, and run all the way from the BIG box office hits, to Sundance Film Festival movies.

Quite often, you’ll find videos in the States they are being advertised: ‘Limited Engagement in New York and Los Angeles: Opening Soon Nationwide’.

PRICE: 100 baht ($2.86) – fully refundable if it’s TERRIBLE quality; like say for, MY aunt’s “Trip to Cozumel” video.

the photo: I’m just slightly out of the picture to the left. I’m wearing glasses.

May 11, 2009 Posted by | cost of living, entertainment | , , , | 2 Comments