City Guide: Mae Jo

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City Guide: Mae Jo

Name: Nakarate Rungkawat
Age: 48
Nationality: Thai
Occupation: Associate Professor at Mae Jo University
Neighbourhood: Mae Jo

What are the defining characteristics of your neighbourhood?
Mae Jo University has lots of land and focuses on agriculture a great deal. Hence, Mae Jo area is beautiful as it is in the city, but also has many wide open spaces with farms and such. It’s a beautiful place to go and enjoy some stunning views.

Why did you choose this neighbourhood? What do you like most about it?
I work at the university as a Photography and Media teacher so I obviously moved in to be near my job. However, It’s a neighbourhood that I’d like to stay in as it has so many good views that I can photograph. I often take students around the area to capture great landscape images.

What do you like least about it?
There is nothing I don’t like about the area!

Who lives here?
Mostly Thai people, villagers and students

huk steakBest everyday restaurant:
Hug Steak means “love steak” in Northern Thai, and it’s a great place to go to get some really good food. I go there most evenings, as its right next to the university on the main road.

Best special occasion restaurant:
Pui Salad Mae Jo (053-498049), located on Chiang Mai – Phrao Road, is a great place to go. I often take senior colleagues there or any visitors that pass through. They sell all kinds of delicious Thai food and they obviously have salad too. The salad is organic and their dressings are all homemade. It’s around three kilometers from the university and is less known than several other large salad restaurants, but I prefer that. There is less of a queue!

Best night out:
My usual place to go for a good coffee or to relax with some friends is Imagine’s Bar. It has a wide selection of coffee and teas and it even has live folk songs being played every day! It’s just opposite the university too so it’s never an effort to get to.

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Best daytime activity:
I know it’s not quite in Mae Jo but getting to Mae Rim is pretty easy from this area and I just love to visit the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden (www.qsbg.org). It’s a great place to visit and perfect for those free days with no commitments!

Best attraction:
Mae Jo University has a National Agriculture Museum inside its grounds, with many old artifacts of historical farming machines, techniques and such like. It’s a really interesting place to visit.

Best secret:
If you go behind the back of Mae Jo University, there are some amazing views that are unknown to most people, even the locals. Fields full of flowers, rice and other beautiful produce, great to look at and great to photograph!

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Best tip:
Keep an eye open for more and more tourist attractions being set up around the university. It is currently trying to develop more places for people to visit, to become one of Chiang Mai’s newest hotspots. Organic produce is already sold in the grounds, and there are plans to increase what’s on offer, making it a great place to stock up on local natural produce.