1. Bottled water at 7-Eleven is expensive! What other options do I have for obtaining clean drinking water in Chiang Mai?
Hilary: Have you noticed the rather complicated-looking water dispensers all over town? These are actually the cheapest way to get your drinking water – just 1 baht per 2 litres of water! All you have to do is put your coin in the slot, stick a bottle under the spout, and hit the green button. Press it again to stop the flow. Grab a reusable water bottle at your local Cheap-It shop and carry it with you at all times to stay hydrated while significantly cutting back on both your spending and your carbon footprint. For a free and handy smart phone app with a map of all the dispensers near you, search ‘Refill Chiang Mai’ in the app store and install Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures’ Water Refill app. Visit www.thailandclimbing.com/refill for more information. If you want water delivered directly to your home, call Glacier at 053 423 991 for glass bottles or Big Bell at 053 357 104 for large plastic jugs. You can buy dispensers at your local department store or at the used appliance shops on the north side of the moat.
2. Where can I get help with a possible drug addiction without leaving Thailand or paying for rehab?
Grace: Narcotics Anonymous is a group in Chiang Mai that supports people with drug problems. They meet at 7 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Raintree Resource Centre on Charoen Muang Road. Enter through the rear parking lot behind the police box at the east end of Nawarat Bridge. Alternatively, there is a meeting on Sundays, 10 a.m. at Kawila Monument Park, opposite the army base on Chiang Mai Lamphun Road. There’s also a 24-hour helpline. English: 082 811 2686 or Thai: 087 569 6969. www.na-thailand.org. If you are looking for something a bit more extreme, check out the detox programme at Thamkrabok Monastery, a.k.a. the Vomiting Temple. Detox services and accommodations are free, you pay only 200 baht per day for food, but be prepared. This is no walk in the park.
3. My two boisterous children are driving me crazy! Is there anywhere I can take them to channel this energy?
Grace: How about some martial arts? There is judo training close to the Railway Station. The children’s class is on Saturdays. Call Daron 085 605 8188 or Nigel 081 926 4210. If judo isn’t their thing, try karate with the Japan Karate Institute Wadokai. Training is at CMU Student Union Building 5.30-8p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and at Ban Wang Tan 4-7 p.m. on Saturdays. www.japankarate-cnx.net. There are also various places offering Muay Thai lessons, just look online. Just want to give them a place to play? Let them run around Buak Hard Park, located in the southwest corner of the Old City, or check out Nic’s Restaurant on Night Safari Road, where parents can relax with tapas and cocktails while kids go wild on the all-natural bamboo play structure. www.nics.asia
4. I am constantly getting attacked by mosquitoes while my boyfriend barely ever gets a bite. What gives?
Hilary: According to WebMD, about 10% of the population is very attractive to mosquitoes due to their natural odors and chemical compounds, and genetics account for 85% of our susceptibility to bites. What exactly it is that attracts them is still unclear, but it is said that people who are pregnant or have Type O blood are particularly susceptible. There are also a few exterior factors that may make a difference. For example, people who eat lots of garlic are less likely to get bitten, while people who consume alcohol or foods high in salt or potassium are more likely. Artificial sweet or flowery scents such as perfumes and lotions will bring on the bites, as will movement and body heat-the carbon dioxide you emit from heavy breathing and the lactic acid in your sweat attracts the pesky little jerks. Larger people give off more carbon dioxide, which is why adults get bitten more often than children. Natural repellents like lemongrass, eucalyptus or citronella, as well as DEET sprays will obviously reduce your risk, and if you see standing water anywhere, dump it, as this is where mozzies lay their eggs. Also, bats are one of the best natural forms of pest control – a single bat can eat over 1,000 mosquitoes per hour – so embrace the little critters! You can even buy or build a bat house on your property to draw them in. Visit www.batcon.org for more info.