This is Thailand

 |  June 26, 2013

For those of you with questions regarding Thailand, Thai culture, history, tourism, laws, rules, food, nightlife, sub-culture, dating; generally anything as long as it is relevant, we have a panel of experts who will respond to your enquiries. Email:

Are there any English lending libraries where I can check out books in Chiang Mai?

Emma (intern): While there are plenty of used book shops, especially in the Old City, lending libraries (and we’re talking more than just a tattered copy of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ in a guesthouse) can be a bit more difficult to find. But never fear, expats! The Chiang Mai Community Church offers the Raintree Resource Center on Chareon Muang Road, just east of the Nawarat Bridge. Raintree carries a selection of English books and videos (a wide range of options, not just focused on religion), and memberships are free if you are (or will be) a resident of Chiang Mai for at least six months, as long as you can show some proof. Just be aware that the library is only open from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Saturday and 3 p.m. to 4.15 p.m. on Sundays. Call 053 262 660 or email for more information. Additionally, there is the AUA Library on Ratchadamneon Road, which charges an annual membership fee of 400 baht for access to a great selection of books and movies, open from 8.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. Call 053 278 407 or email for more info.

I have lived here for awhile and am gradually getting better with the Thai language, but I still find myself looking through a translation book for answers. Is there a good app that I can download on my smart phone for easy translations?

Courtney (intern): Depending on your phone, there are a few different apps available. If you want to simply look up a word, the English Thai Dictionary Free is a great option. This app has an easy search bar to look up any word quickly. Its best feature is that it works offline so you do not need an internet connection to use it. iTranslate is another easy app to use. It offers a voice recognition add-on so you can speak the words instead of typing them. If you want to actually learn Thai, apps like LingLing Learn Thai and Thai Pretati Video Dictionary are both helpful.

I don’t know my blood type – where in Chiang Mai can I find out what it is?

Anna (intern): If you aren’t sure of your blood type, there are many options in Chiang Mai for blood type testing. Your best bet (if you’re up to it) is through donating blood. If you go to the Chiang Mai Red Cross, they can tell you your blood type for free if you are donating – just be aware that you may have to wait a couple days before your results come back. Another option is any local hospital. If you are doing simply a blood type test, most cost around 300 baht, but if you are doing a more extensive blood test, it can cost up to 4000 baht. Some birth certificates have blood types on them, so check that out first, or if you have a family doctor, they can usually access your information for little to no cost. Online shoppers have the option of purchasing a blood type testing kit (Amazon is a good website to buy from) for around 400 baht. The last option depends on if you know your parents blood types – if so, there are several blood type calculators on the internet, but these usually can’t determine your exact type; rather, they just narrow down your potential options.

I had some really gross apples from the market the other day, and am ready to switch up my produce consumption. What fruits and vegetables are in season right now?

Emily (intern): Unfortunately, you just missed lychee season, but fruit is never scarce in Thailand. During the rainy season, there is an abundance of produce in Northern Thailand available at very cheap prices if you buy from one of the many open air markets around town. What’s fresh right now? Cucumbers, eggplants, okra, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, custard apple, mangosteen, and rambutan. And of course, there is still plenty of produce in season year-round including papayas, guavas, pineapples, coconuts and bananas.