Changes in Chiang Mai a Year on
Chiang Mai is changing all the time but because it happens at a gradual pace when you look at the subtle differences each day you kind of don't really see things happening. I was going through some old posts fixing them up when I found the Changes in Chiang Mai post. Those changes are now far behind us as the city in just a span of a year has come a long way.
Roads in Chiang Mai
A year ago I was super excited that the local counsil had finally fixed up the sunday walking street, driving along on a scooter would seriously make your butt hurt! So when that was done along with the drainage system upgraded I was super happy. But now most of the major thoroughfares in Chaing Mai have been at least resurfaced riding around Chiang Mai is now much more fun.
Road changes havn't all been for the better, the number of Chinese drivers with their feet peddling a scooter or walking a bicycle keeping to the right and overall erratic behavior has exploded.
The locals on Chang Moi road are still defiant in keeping their street "Bar Free" erecting more signs along the road. I can totally understand the locals they don't want the street turn into a Farang ghetto and just because Spicy moved outta there doesn't mean it's not going to happen, it's inevitable at least in my opinion.
All but one of the Big new malls are complete. The best mall by far is the new Central Festival which has ice-skating and everything but McDonalds and Fuji. The new Maya Mall at the end of Nimmanheimen does have the Fuji and the best cinema in Chiang Mai. Promenada mall, the one that opened...twice. Still struggles and mostly because 70% of the population live near a different mall! While the location is out there and even I criticized it a lot, it does have one thing going for it and that's as a dinner destination. Before for a nice meal and view you would go down by the river, well for something different try Promenada, at night by the patio is just as good. Not to be missed at Promenada is Thailands best fusion restaurant Mix. The mall that I've really been interested in seeing open is the Platinum fashion mall.
Even with the curfew over things still aren't back to what they were before. Some nightclubs and bars have been forced to close before 1am including Zoe and Spicy. Actually Spicy must be going trough some tough times because they even turned the downstairs front part into a coffee shop. Honestly how many people are going to go to spicy for a coffee?
The new club we've been promised for years it seems Sonic Playground still doesn't look like it's going anywhere. I contacted them last year they said the end of this year so does the sign yet I still don't think it's going to happen. I remember they built Infinity in less than a year! Maybe i'm just impatient. Will follow up if I have any new developments but at this stage looks to me they didn't get their investors whatever and it's dead in the water.
The problems with the curfew have hit everyone even the Karaokes which are normally viewed as immune to any shut downs or curfews had to chain their doors the other night as a convoy of military personal with a gun so it was pretty spooky. With the doors locked everything looks closed but in true Thai style the parties still going on inside.
Few new open beer areas for the Thai's have sprouted up along the freeways notably Next Bar and the bar on top of Star Avenue which has become a hip place for Thai's with cars. Actually the success of the Star Avenue mall is not at all surprising. If there's Indians involved it normally does work.
2am in the morning and you want a burger the only options were McDonalds and Mikes. Well Mikes is no longer. It's now called Big Burger.
The gay area beer bars that were next to the Foxy Lady GoGo club are now demolished and it's now a car park, some of the owners went and moved shop to the area of little shops behind the jack van.
Zoe has a promotion going for a free drink if you write a review on trip advisor check it out.
Seems like the only real party places open after 1am in Chiang Mai now is the area around Inifinity nightclub which at least last night was open till 4am. The cops raided Warmup the other night checking Id's and Passports! If this persists I might have to move from Chiang Mai until things come back to normal.
Guest houses in Chiang Mai
Several years ago there was a boom in construction of Guest Houses and accommodation for nightly visitors inside the city, the land was cheaper and there was still opportunity. Now with the price of land there has been a shift for investors to move to condos and other real estate. This has been good for those who were able to buy into years ago. One of the most successful in Chiang Mai is the Mini Cost Guesthouse, ranked #1 in lonely planet because of it's excellent location and right next Cooking Love which is at the top of Tripadvisor.
I don't know how many other people have noticed this but all over the city all these bus stops have been erected. So there's a bus service in Chiang Mai? As far as I know, no. Or at least I don't know about it I'm assuming again that no one else knows because there is never anyway sitting at these stops. In fact most of the bus stops are in places where I just don't see anyway going to sit down at. Near the translation there are several all within 50 meters of each other that again no one sits a and because no one sits on them they are just caked with just making it so no one can sit down anyway. They all do of course have advertising so at least someone is making money out of it, don't worry transport if you live in Chiang Mai you need wheels!
Did I miss any details? Let us know in the comments below.
The new Central Festival also has no “Carl’s Jr.” like the one in Pattaya does. I wish they’d open up here somewhere…if I’ve missed it, let me know.
It is sad to see what has happened in Chiang Mai over the years. I have been coming to Chiang Mai for about 16 years now and I have a wife in Chiang Mai. I used to be able to ride a scooter without a helmet and then they started stopping tourists to hand out helmet fines. Now, they stop all tourists to check for licences which hardly anyone has, just to make some cash. I have a bright red Vespa 300, I always wear a helmet and I have international driving permits for both car and motorcycle. Still I get stopped and hassled every time? If the Thais keep this up soon there will be no tourists to ticket! Then the police can give each other tickets!!! LOL
This is a sad state of affairs for Thailand in general.
I offered to take some family from Canada to Chiang Mai for a holiday in December of this year. As usual, I am willing to pay for all their costs and provide spending money as well as tour guiding them to all the sites. They are afraid to go!
WOW !!!!! Thailand……. Do you realize what you have done to your own future??
Ive noticed these bus stops too… They built a few along the river. Ive never seen a bus though. Would be great if they were red truck stops! They gotta do something about the red trucks causing accidents and driving like they own the roads, stopping wherever they want and driving in both lanes… switching lanes whenever they want. They should make it so they can only stop at designated locations… There would be no traffic in Chiang Mai ever!
Traffic, of course, is becoming more and more of a problem… in contrast I was in Pattaya few days ago and really surprised how different it is to 5 years ago – less seedy (I don’t go to Walking Street but last time there were ‘Korean and Chinese tours including sticks with coloured flags on).
Chiang Mai is changing fast and it’s a worrying development – the old ‘feel’ is slipping away
Time to spend a little less time here I think
I feel the same way. Chiang Mai is so much different than it was 5 years ago including the locals. I love change but at the current rate Chiang Mai is beginning to suck, even for a strong supporter of the town like myself.
yea Chris… not sure where it’s going… I’m going to buy a second room in Pattaya and split my time between there and Chiang Mai. 5 years ago I would never have said that.
Hi Chris and everyone! My first time in Chiang mai was 1992 ! Needless to say,Chiang mai has grown and changed a lot over the years. Back then,there were not that many places to go ,but the places that were there generally stayed open much longer. The old old Blue Sky Bar in the old old bar beer centre (were Thapae boxing is now ) was 24/7 every day ! The Spotlight was jam packed full in those days and Loi Kroa Rd had all of 4 bars ! lol.And the hot place to go back then….” Bubbles” or as the Thai’s said ” Bubbun ” Good memories . Was just there in May…hopefully back in October….maybe we can check out another fun place together again Chris.
Funny that yeah I was here in ’93 and Bubbles was off the hook. Things change and not always for the better. For sure man look me up when your back!
Will do Chris.. that night out ( Chang Klan Rd area,somewhat hidden place..can’t recall the name of the place ) was fun ! Spicy back then was called ” Nice Illusion ” and rocked to the wee hours ….and very very few “Kii Mao falang” pissing and yelling and throwing up everywhere. Maybe people could hold their liquor better back then ? or at least…had a little more self control.? Cheers All
Bus stops without a bus service. That is classic Thailand.