SKYWHORES UNITE!!! KORAT NOT BORAT, THAILAND…OH AND CHIANG MAI
Mistakes are made when one only chooses Bangkok and the lovely beaches of Thailand. There is so much to see, so much culture and experiences to absorb. My motto is to never be a tourist but an adventurer.
Korat is in the Chaloen Phra Khrat district. Near Korat you will find the Phanoun Rung Historical park where you can see one of the most beautiful and important Khmer historic sites in Thailand. Phanoun Rung is a religious sanctuary dedicated to the God Shiva, the supreme Hindu deity. Now the Khmer don’t mess around. This is an enormous temple and the detailing is extraordinary. Ceremonies take place that you can observe. Nearby there are many local restaurants that you can try out. There’s nothing like sampling a local dish with a cold Chang beer observing whatever activities there may be on the given day.
Back in Korat you can find almost anything you want as it is a relatively large city with a population of a 1 million or so, give or take a few thousand…this is Asia after all. Make sure to pass by Jim Ka Jaew Steakhouse. Here you can have one of the most flavourful grilled meats experiences that I’ve ever had. If that’s a little too bland then try the ostrich or alligator. Yeah, I know I freaked out at first but hey …it tastes like chicken.
What I enjoyed mostly in this area was simply walking around and experiencing a city life much slower then the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Chilling on a patio, kicking drinks back perhaps with one of the many friendly locals. I have to say, one thing I love about he Thai is that regardless of language you can still find a way to communicate.
On one of your patio chill outs, don’t be surprised if a baby elephant casually passes you by. Yes, downtown Korat has elephant jams!
The Royal Princess Korat is the place to stay. It’s a reasonable price with a mix of royalty and commoners (like me). It’s clean, simple and close to a chain of nightlife activity.
Next on our trip is Chiang Mai. About an hour flight from Bangkok. If you’ve never flown business class, well now is the time to do it. An upgrade is about $20 CDN! Don’t laugh, it’s not much for us but for the average Thai it could mean a few days wages if not more.
In Chiang Mai, which by the way is the cultural capital of Thailand you will find probably the best shopping. The Evening market runs into the wee hours of the morning and offers some of the best shopping in Thailand. Example; I bought what they claim to be Puma’s for $8CDN. HELLO!!
After inhaling some of the best cuisine and shopping this country has to offer there’s nothing like a TukTuk ride (3 wheel taxi) to the hotel wondering what your friends back home are doing.
Before leaving Chiang Mai make sure to visit The Gallery restaurant where Hillary Clinton once visited (their claim to fame besides great food… I sat in her seat they say). There you can have a tranquil seafood meal by the lake at an amazing price. However, after eating so much, as this resto is located on the water, you might very well just veg. One of the most calming experiences I’ve ever had in a full restaurant. Order something on the menu, laugh at the price, chug a litre of wine, and either hit a club or again go shopping.
Yes, the Thai are worse then North American women or the average gay man when it comes to shopping. So why hold back?
Royalty would feel at home here, I was amazed at how many beautiful hotels there were. However, I will name my 2 favourites. If your looking for inner city luxury and comfort, then you must book yourself at the Tamarind Village. The rooms are brightly coloured and decorated with teak wood. The hotel surrounds this incredibly massive tree whose branches hang over the surrounding roof. The price is reasonable; the treatment is friendly.
Now if you’re a prince or a queen looking to be pampered then my choice for you is the visual splendour of The Four Seasons Resort.
Situated 20 minutes outside Chiang Mai in the lush Mae Rim Valley. This resort has an outstanding view of the mountain range. Set on 20 acres of landscaped gardens featuring 2 small lakes, ponds, waterfalls, rice fields and holding water buffalos.
The rooms are decorated in the Lanna style circa 1296. A blend of the Burmese, Indian, and Chinese cultures.
The Four Seasons has all the regular amenities but boasts the “#1 position in Asia” in Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, 2003 and “#1 Spa” in Zagat Survey in 2001.
After all that the best experience was just placing my feet up and witnessing a spectacular unblocked sunset while drinking a cool glass of the best Thai coffee. The sunset alone is worth it! The entire valley is at your feet and the cool breeze soothes you as the sun sets. No words can explain this.
Nearby you can enjoy the Elephant Zoo where you can feed, ride and photograph live elephants. Beware a bond may form between you and your elephant. They are so cute until they take a dump and very scary when aroused! Talk about penis envy!
If you’re looking to enjoy traditional Thai guesthouse then the Jaiya Mongkol is a must. Ten minutes outside the city where you can enjoy an elevated house and spend time with a Thai family. The food is home cooked and served by them and I must say the best meal I had on my trip. Of course there’s nothing like a home cooked meal. On my return trip it will be an assured stop. Very reasonable.
The worst part of the trip and my only complaint is that the people are so friendly and their culture so interesting, you don’t want to leave. I guess that explains why so many farangs (foreigners) stay. Will I return, your damn right!