This is Thailand

 |  September 26, 2012

1. Can I leave my car overnight at the airport?

Grace: Yes, but it will cost you, they have just brought in a new fee of 250 baht for every 24 hours, so it may be worth getting a taxi. If you are just parking whilst picking someone up from the airport, it’s a lot cheaper, around 10 to 100 baht depending on how long you park.

2. Can you tell me the going rates at pawn shops in Chiang Mai?

Bet: Pawning goods is a common method of borrowing money in Thailand. All you need is a passport and some property. It is possible to pawn anything from jewellery, a bicycle or car to a fridge or even your house. Take the item to the shop and they will give you a price for it and an instant lump sum of money. If the item you pawn costs less than 2000 baht, the interest rate is around 0.75%, if it’s more than 2000 baht the interest rate is 1%. Items costing more than 30,000 baht have a 1.25% interest rate. Beware the interest rate rises every month. When you take something to pawn, you will receive a ticket to show what you’ve pawned and how much it costs. To redeem your item, you must show the ticket and pay the money and interest back within four months or you will lose the item. Property that hasn’t been re-bought will be sold. There are many pawn shops on Maninopharat Road, look out for the shops with guitars, electrical and domestic goods stacked outside. There are also Chiang Mai Municipality-owned pawn shops: on Tha Pae Road (053 234 612), on Sanamkeela Road (near the old Chiang Mai Municipality Stadium) (053 213 066) and near Chiang Mai Gate (053 276 944). Open Mondays – Fridays (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

3. I’m going to Bangkok for the weekend, do you know any cool nightlife spots?

Grace: Whatever you are after, Bangkok has amazing nightlife. RCA, is an area with lots of clubs and bars, Route 66 being the most famous, Cosmic Café and Slim are also good. Go to Tuba in Ekamai or Coyote on Convent for happy hour cocktails, or have drink with a view at Sky Bar on top of Lebua State Tower or Moon Bar at The Banyan Tree. Thong Lor is an ultra trendy hang out spot, try Iron Fairies, Roof by Muse, Blue Velvet or somewhere near HOBS pub. Down Sukhumvit way I like Soi 11 which has lots of cool places like Nest, Bed Supper Club and Q Bar. Around the river there are some funky haunts like Jazz Happens! on Phra Athit Road.

4. Was I right in hearing there’s going to be a movie about the 2004 tsunami?

Grace: Yes, it’s called The Impossible, it is set in Thailand and stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. It looks like quite an emotional rollercoaster but has been criticised for focusing on a white family on holiday at a luxurious resort, when the natural disaster also devastated the lives of thousands of Indonesians, Sri Lankans, Thai and other people. Major Cineplex in Chiang Mai said it should come out in November.

5. Do you know any alternative therapies for food poisoning available in Thailand?

Grace: Charcoal tablets are popular for their absorption properties, soaking up gases, toxins and bacteria, you can buy them in most pharmacies. A friend of mine also recommends Huang Lian Su Pian, which is a Chinese medicine used for decreases inflammation, clearing toxins and killing pathogens, they can be bought from Chinese medicine shops in Warorot Market.

6. Where can I salsa dance in Chiang Mai?

Grace: Chiang Mai has its own salsa community. They meet every Tuesday and Thursday at 9 p.m. till midnight. The venue is called ‘The 2nd Floor Gallery and Cafe Chiang Mai’, on Ratwitti and Ratchaphakhinai Road intersection (above the Kodak shop), (see Google Maps:, 081 993 5165  ). I am told all you need to bring is your smile and comfortable shoes. There is a group you can join on Facebook, search for Salsa Club Chiang Mai.