This issue of
Citylife

Your Say

Your say is an open forum for you the reader to express your opinions. Write to: [email protected], subject: Your say. Letters can be on any subject and priority will be given to letters under 200 words.Letters may be edited for clarity or conciseness. Name and contact details must be supplied.

• Solutions, solutions

After reading the Chiang Mai tourism article a number of things come to my mind on improvements that I think might increase the quality of tourism in Chiang Mai and in fact Thailand.

My wife and I have just turned 65 and have been coming to Chiang Mai and travelling in Thailand for around 10 years now. The last 5 years have been on long stay (4 months) here in Chiang Mai. We now know many people similar to ourselves from all over the western world that are here on long stay and share our views. We stay in 3 star hotels because the monthly rates are good and affordable. One ridiculous irritation is the single, double and triple entry visa. If we want to stay and are prepared to pay for 4 months then why do you have to go to the trouble of exiting the country? It is annoying and costly.

We are seeing more foreign tourists walking the streets with large bottles of beer in their hands drinking in the streets. Are there not enough bars to sit and drink in. It’s offensive and intimidating to some.

Thai disrespect shown to pedestrians trying to cross at crossings. We saw a sign warning pedestrians the other day saying that if you do not cross the road between the lines you could be fined 200 baht. I was almost run down while in the middle of the crossing at Tha Pae Gate crossing several days ago. Don’t say well that’s Thai because we see them almost run their own very elderly down on a daily basis at Chiang Mai Gate. It is ignorant and disrespectful, especially in the young.

Smoking in restaurants albeit legal in the outside area of these establishments. Anything relating to this in this day and age is offensive. We no longer use several of these restaurants now. You may not agree with my views but these are not only mine alone.

Part of your article includes reference to there being too many hotels and spas and of course the competition will see who wins in the end. The number of boutique hotels being built with unreal prices. Who comes to Chiang Mai? Originally backpackers and a whole part of tourism has been built around this which seems to be good. Other than the beer in the street factor I don’t think I have seen many problems with these tourists.

Dual pricing, this goes on all over the world but tourists do not want to see it as clearly posted as at Chiang Mai Zoo and the night zoo. Why should they pay more than locals, they are spending their hard earned money here anyway. One problem today and not just in Thailand but all over is that the tourist is there to be screwed, airport, taxis etc.

Otherwise, as mentioned, Chiang Mai is a cultural experience and is fully satisfied within 4/5 days. Golfing holidays usually would bring people here in groups for up to 7 days but from Europe the cost of getting here along with the cost of golf, etc. would make it a very expensive holiday. They have lots of cheaper choices nearer to home.

Thailand is becoming expensive, not in all areas because Chiang Mai still offers some value. However, my hotel prices have been stable but beer prices are forced up; why is this? There is no way that I will travel all of this way and at the airfare prices just for the sun; I come for value for money and there is a huge market out there of retirees to be seized.

Hope this view is of value to you. It is not meant to be just critical but informative and helpful I hope.

Sincerely,
Mr. L A Murkitt, Chiang Mai Gate Hotel

• Shhhhhhh!

Just east of the Irrigation Canal and CMU is a large site known as Prasert Land owned by a Mr. Prasert. He leases areas on the site to Beer Bars & Night Clubs and for most of 2009 a very noisy club, Chalerm Krung, has been playing loud base music between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. every night. The club has only a thin steel roof with no sound insulation unlike the larger pub the Tawan Daeng, which is much quieter.

The Police from the Phuping station have been called many times but they claim that noise does not exceed legal limits. They have measured noise outside the building but not from its roof. Inside the club conversation is impossible. Does this violate the law? Are the workers not entitled to work in a safe environment which does not drive them deaf?

Around Prasert Land are many large apartment houses with students, old folks and families who cannot rest properly.
Please come and help.

Yours Sincerely,
Nom de Plumed

• Shin TV

I am only a foreign resident and have no say in Thai political matters but I am very surprised right now to be viewing extensive coverage on one of your channels (number 43 as I understand some but cannot read Thai) of ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra. To be giving so much free airtime to a convicted criminal who is in hiding abroad from the Thai justice system I find a most strange policy for a legitimate Thai TV Cable company which, presumably, has respect for the rule and application of Thai law.

Respectfully,
Northern British Hilltriber

• Falling on Deaf Ears

I look over towards the hills of Doi Saket and the whole horizon is ablaze, smoke billowing up into the sky slowly drifting over to where I live like a poisonous umbrella.

Nothing will be done and soon I will lose sight of the mountains a few kilometres away. The impotence and incompetence of the local governing bodies once more comes sharply into focus. Lack of education, inability to enforce, passing the buck, once more rules the day.

Can they not see that the people that burn will not be told what to do? They have to want to stop doing it and understand why it is not necessary and have alternatives. The only thing that will work is instilling a sense of understanding and social, individual responsibility into these people to make them not to want to do it for the sake of their health, their children, the economy and the greater good. It really is that simple. To burn must become socially unacceptable.

It is now eleven years since an accord was made with the Americans using American money to clean up Chiang Mai and make it the healthiest, greenest city in Asia. I am pleased to see so much has been achieved over the years. Perhaps the people involved would like to tell us about their progress?

My baby boy who is two years old in three days will, as he grows up in the so called Rose of the North, have a greater than average chance of developing lung disease and other illnesses due to the unchecked filth that pours into the sky.

While I’m at it I suppose it would be too much to ask for some action on the defacement of Chiang Mai with advertising hoardings and the escalating traffic problem? The last Chiang Mai mayor at least made a start but will it continue? There are plenty of successful models in the west that could be used.

Alex Boyesen