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• Haunted Chiang Mai
I’ve lived in Chiang Mai for 5 years now and I always wonder about the story of the house in the picture. It is inside the moat, opposite RAM hospital. I’ve heard all kind of stories about it. Some people say it is full of ghosts, others say Satan himself lives there or it was used by a satanic cult group back in the days. Do you have any info? It’s been empty ever since I saw it the first time, 5 years ago. Rumors say, everyone who tried to start a business with the building got injured or killed. Also the neighboring property seems non-salable. My Thai friend said he gets very weird feelings if he gets close to that property. It looks so beautiful and in the back there is a swimming pool and an even nicer house with loads of gold. I’m so curious but nobody can really answer my question.
Ed. Indeed, it’s a creepy place! For all the sordid details, please refer to James Austin Farrell’s article ‘Spooky Spirits’ in the December 2010 e-Citylife back issue or use the site search tool.
• Pleased with Pai
Thanks so much for the Pai issue, just in time for cool season! I visited Pai last weekend with friends and took my trusty copy of Citylife along for the ride. Checked out several of the restaurants you mentioned and was not disappointed-the Khao Soi Salad at Om Garden Cafe was delightful, and the Pirahna Fishing Park was a wonderful place to chill out. A few places I’d like to add to your list: for a cheap place to stay, I recommend the Pai-Nai-Fun bungalows just across the river. Also, if you’re looking for a fun place to party, check out Don’t Cry Bar where you can dance all night!
• Zoning Dilemma
Talking to one of the city planners in Chiang Mai, I was surprised to learn that bureaucrats in Bangkok have a final say in the matter. Their ideas are probably based on old-school modernist planning with an agenda to turn the ancient Lanna capital into a regional economic hub. The people of Chiang Mai should have a say in these matters. Did you look into the yellow-white striped area on the map of this land use plan? The Wat Ket area is a very interesting case of civil society participating in planning, started by a local community (Rak Baan Rak Mueng) successfully resisting the initial DPWCP plan. On the one hand this is a victory, but on the other hand it lengthens the process of implementing a new Chiang Mai Comprehensive Plan and thereby it may also provide more scope; private developers buy large plots of land and develop them how they see fit. Like you mentioned, the question of how to accommodate growing numbers of people in a rapidly growing city remains. Do we go up? Or lower and spread out? This is a rather painful dilemma if you ask me…on the one hand, a livable/sustainable city should retain its cultural/historical character and not resort to erecting towering buildings in the centre (don’t go up), but on the other hand spreading out and low density urban form will make Chiang Mai more dependent on the private car and motorcycles, which will not create a more livable/sustainable city either (don’t spread out)?