This is Thailand

 |  October 26, 2011

1. I went to a Thai restaurant the other day, one which I haven’t been to in about 2 years, and a dish that used to cost 40 baht was 70 baht. How come many things seem so expensive these days?

I am by no means an expert, but I do know the price of many raw foods and petrol has gone up, so of course restaurateurs may hike their prices. One well known restaurateur wrote on recently that he was shocked to find the price of cooking oil skyrocketing of late. Many recent news articles talk of Thailand’s “spiralling inflation” and such. There are government regulations to keep price caps on some things – such as Coca Cola!

2. Is it me, or are we having a particular rainy rainy season in Chiang Mai? And it’s bloody cloudy all the time, I feel like I am back in Wolverhampton?

You wrote in before the floods, so I guess you now know the answer. But let’s look at the stats anyway. Chiang Mai’s average rainfall for September is about 228mm, and the average monthly sunshine is 174 hours. The Thailand meteorological department’s wesbite stated that by the end of August the rainfall in Chiang Mai for the year so far was 1,379.3mm, but also much higher in other northern provinces. September’s rainfall was reportedly 320mm for Chiang Mai. The yearly average for Chiang Mai is 1,183mm. This means that we are indeed having a very wet rainy season.

3. I’m looking to get fit and lose some weight, but it doesn’t seem like there are many activities on offer here. What can I do? I am a middle aged female.

I guess football and rugby are out. Surprisingly not many foreigners go to the 700 Year Stadium, where I go quite often. For no cost you can run around their running track, or jog around the whole perimeter of the stadium. It’s pleasant to walk around too. You can also use their gym for 50 baht. Go swimming for 60 baht (members 30 baht – and 500 baht for a yearly membership) in an Olympic sized swimming pool. Play tennis on their very good hard courts or play badminton at very little cost, about 80 baht an hour for the indoor courts. You might also try aerobics up there. Everything seems to close down about 9 p.m. If you don’t know where it is, it’s down the Irrigation Canal Road on the way to Mae Rim. Turn left at the second main intersection.

4. How much does it cost to get married? I am British.

I believe it is 35 baht to get your marriage certificate at an amphur registry office. You will need an Affidavit of Freedom to marry under Thai Law from your consulate, and of course a valid passport. If you are divorced you will need a Decree Absolute, and if you are a widower you will require a death certificate and the previous marriage certificate. When this is done, at the registry office you should only have to spend about half an hour. And you’re hitched. Then your identical wedding certificates can be translated at the Thai MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) office, necessary if you are marrying a Thai and wish to take him/her back home.

5. I am playing a lot of sports in Thailand, softball, frisbee, football, and sometimes even rugby. But as I’m old my knees kill me, whether on hard grass or artificial turf. What is the best footwear to wear in Thailand on hard grass? Boots hurt and running shoes aren’t stable enough.

A lot of people have knee problems here due to impact, potholes, stones etc, and people also go over on their ankles often because of the wrong footwear on hard ground. For hard grass, or astro-turf, Adidas have come out with a pretty cool shoe called the Adi5, which will give you comfort and grip on hard ground. I haven’t tried them though, but have heard they’d be perfect for Thai pitches before and after the rainy season. They are made for artificial turf. I called the sports shop in Central and they said they stocked them. They cost 2,600 baht.

6. I am new to Chiang Mai. I am very interested in Krav Maga or something similar (self defense, street fighting). Do you know if there is something like that here?

You can find it here: , but the place is located in Pattaya (where you’d likely most need it…) There are judo classes at CMU. Contact Nigel 081 926 4210. And there are many places to train in Muay Thai in Chiang Mai, although as yet no Krav Maga.