This issue of
Citylife

This is Thailand

1. Where in Chiang Mai can I smoke shisha?

Grace: The first place that springs to mind is Baan Din (16/2, Soi 13, Nimmanhaemin Road) and the place next door to it; Full Moon. There is another place called Harem on the Irrigation Canal Road, though I have been told it’s quite expensive. It usually costs around 250 baht per shisha/hookah/nagila/hubbly-bubbly whatever you want to call it. It is not illegal, as long as you don’t smoke something which is illegal in it! However, police have clamped down on many establishments over the years and hotels such as the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi and The Chedi which used to both serve shishas have been told they are not allowed to do so. The law is clear but the police appear vague.

2. What are those colourful sweet things I have seen in the markets? They are usually red, green or brown and wrapped in plastic in small triangular shapes.

Grace: I believe you are describing a Thai-Mon dessert called kalamae. It has a caramel or toffee like texture, and is made from molasses, sticky rice and coconut milk. They come in different flavours; brown is the original flavour, green ones are pandanus, and the reds are strawberry flavour. A local delicacy which makes a nice treat, but watch those dentures!

3. Can you tell me if it’s possible to borrow books from the university libraries?

Arm (Intern): Most universities allow the public to use books whilst in the library, but generally you are not allowed to take them out, you must also show an ID card on entering the library. These rules apply to Mae Jo, Chiang Mai University and Ratchabhat University. At Payap University it is possible to take books out by first leaving your ID card or driving license in exchange. University libraries also make a nice place to study and read in quiet for free or a very small charge.

4. I am getting slightly freaked out about this whole dengue fever thing, have you got any advice or info?

Grace: Dengue fever, or ‘kai leuat ork’ in Thai, is caused by a family of viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes and is prevalent throughout the tropics and subtropics, Thailand included. During the rainy season outbreaks of the fever are highest as this is the time when there are more mosquitoes. Unfortunately there is no vaccine that can be taken for dengue fever, but you can avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by covering up well, using repellents and staying away from areas with many mosquitoes especially in the early morning and evening time-when dengue mosquitoes tend to come out. The symptoms are said to begin after approximately five to eight days of being bitten, and include headache, fever, exhaustion, severe joint and muscle pain, swollen glands and rash. With treatment, the acute phase of the illness is said to last between one and two weeks. It is treated by relief of symptoms; there are no specific medicines or antibiotics to treat it. If you suspect you have contracted the illness you should go straight to a doctor for diagnosis and treatment advice, take plenty of rest and fluids.

5. Can you recommend websites to search for travel deals and promotions in Thailand?

 Grace: fleapy.com helps you find the lowest flight fares from Air Asia. I am told some people also use agoda.co.th, booking.com, asiarooms.com, ensogo.com, thailandsuperdeal.tourismthailand.org, hotelsthailand.com, tourismthailand.org, expedia.co.th, laterooms.com and latestays.com for deal hunting. Be careful some of the promotions aren’t as good as they appear, so make sure you’re aware of all the ins and outs before going ahead.

6. I am looking for some real work experience in Chiang Mai in between my studies, can you help?

Grace: Internships are a great way to gain valuable skills and experience needed in the work place. At Citylife magazine we offer internships for those interested in the media and writing, please contact us for more information. As for other companies or organisations I would recommend you contact them with a formal letter. Good luck!