This is Thailand

 |  January 28, 2013

1. I’m looking for a green way to get around town. Where can I buy a bicycle?

Tong (intern): Chiang Mai is a great place to ride a bicycle, as it is generally quite flat and bicycles are the best vehicles for scooting through congested traffic jams.  Plus no petrol costs, and it’s a good way to get some exercise, especially during the cooler season! There are plenty of places to rent or buy a bicycle, and buying is probably the most cost-efficient option since you can always sell it later. Check out Khuang Singh Bike Shop near Khuang Singh Gate (053 226 487) or Chaitawat on Ratchapakinai Road (053 279 890). For a more detailed list of bike sellers, visit, which also features tours and trails.  For more of this, plus events, articles, and an online forum of Thailand-based cyclists to chat with, check out

2. I’ve got to ask: why do some Thai males have a really long pinky fingernail? 

Sarah (intern): Some Asian cultures believe that if you have a long pinky finger or if your fingernail is as long as or longer than the second joint on your ring finger, it signifies wealth, class and prosperity. However, the common, most practical usage of this extra long fingernail is simply to pick one’s nose, ears, etc. Lovely!

3. Where in Chiang Mai can I buy an outfit for a costume party?

Grace: Fancy dress isn’t yet as big in Thailand as it is in some western countries, so unless you are going to the party as a hill tribe villager or traditional Lanna character, you may have to think out of the dressing-up box. Many tailors do a great job on the cheap, just show them the design you like and you can dress as Peter Pan or a flamenco dancer for under 1,000 baht. I am told there is a shop off Wualai Road called Blue Diamond stocking hundreds of costumes. My friend also recommends Love ‘70 secondhand shop on Singhrarat Road. Another friend said there’s one on the Sriphum side of the moat, and a cross-dressing shop on the soi next to the Mercedes dealership. Take the left from the Northeast corner of the moat, next to the big moo ka ta, heading towards JJ Market or Tesco, then take a left at the first light. A Mercedes shop will be on the right and there’s a small soi just after it, go right into the moo baan and it’ll be on the left after a few speed bumps. You can also try searching in the markets such as Warorot Market, which has funky fabrics aplenty, or the shopping malls. Using accessories to spruce up your costume may be the key. You could even go to a tailor and get a custom made outfit, if you take a design outline. If you’re feeling creative you could check out some secondhand stores on Siping Muang Road which sell clothes for 20 baht apiece. I have also seen some secondhand, retro and other quirky styled clothing and accessories at Rincome Market on Huay Kaew road. Of course, most malls and markets sell wigs, hair pieces, hats and jewellery. 

4. Now that the National Hockey League lockout is over, are there any sports bars in Chiang Mai that will be airing ice hockey?  

Mai (intern, from Canada): There’s not a strong hockey culture in Thailand, as you can probably tell. Most sports bars in Chiang Mai will play either football or rugby but not hockey, which is too bad because hockey is one of the most fast-paced, teeth-clenching sports ever. But don’t despair hockey lovers, especially you Canadians, there’s a couple of places that will be airing the hockey tournament. The U.N. Irish Pub and Restaurant is a good spot for sports watching. They have a large selection of greasy foods and Thai favourites to go with your beer.  (24-24/1 Ratchawithi Rd., 053 214 554). There’s also the Wild Boar Bar Restaurant on Loi Kroh Rd., which is rumoured to play hockey on request. And stay tuned. Next month, I’ll be investigating an expat hockey league that plays right here in Chiang Mai!