1. I would like to start running again but I don’t like going to the gym. Is there anywhere in Chiang Mai I can run outdoors without being chased by dogs?
There are plenty of places to run in Chiang Mai that don’t seem to be populated with crazy dogs. One of the best spots is the Huay Tung Tao reservoir, which is about a 10 minute drive from the city centre. Head north on the Irrigation Canal Road towards Mae Rim, take a left approximately 2 km past the 700 Year Stadium and continue through the security gate (where you may be charged a 20 baht fee) towards the lake.
I have been a runner for over 50 years and Chiang Mai has as good running as anywhere (although I have switched to mostly walking nowadays). Two of my favorite places are the entrance way to the Royal Flora Exhibition and up around to the Night Safari entrance. Take the Hang Dong Road south and follow the signs. Also, in a more rural setting, but oddly even closer to the city, is the Chiang Mai University Research Fields. They go from the base of the mountains to the Irrigation Canal Road. Go south about 5 km and the entrance to the fields is to the west. There are also running tracks at CMU and various other schools and of course the 700 Year Stadium north on the Irrigation Canal Road is a great evening workout and people watching place.
Suggestions: Run early or late, before or after the heat of the day, stay hydrated, and I always run against the traffic so I can see and then jump out of the way of any crazies on the road. Also, if you would like to know my secrets to dealing with soi dogs please take a look at one of my past Citylife columns ‘It’s a Dog’s Life’, Vol 16, No. 12, December 2007.
And rest in peace my compassio-nate dog-loving friend Roshan of Lanna Dog Rescue.
2. I’m looking for some good quality but reasonably priced health foods, particularly a store or market that specialises in natural products. Do you know if any such shops exist in Chiang Mai?
Baan Suan Pak is a natural health food store located on Wichayanon Road leading from the north east corner of the moat, just past the President Hotel. They stock a large variety of organic and chemical-free fruits and vegetables and also have a small vegetarian/vegan restaurant. Each Saturday and Wednesday morning 6 a.m. – 9 a.m. locally grown produce can be purchased for farmer prices at the Organic Farmers’ Market on Srimongkol Road, close to Lotus on the Superhighway. Makro also has a good selection or raw nuts and seeds.
3. Are there any sex shops in Chiang Mai? If I want sexual aids where can I buy them? Is it legal to import them?
Unfortunately sex shops and sex toys are illegal in Thailand, making your chances of stumbling across a sex shop in Chiang Mai pretty slim. I have heard there are various street stalls set up in Bangkok selling sexual aids if you think making the trip is worth it. Importing toys can often result in confiscation, sometimes even arrest, if intercepted by immigration. Websites like ioffer and cqout provide fast air shipping of… interesting…products to Thailand for those willing to take the risk.
4. I am moving to Chiang Mai from the US. Can you please tell me if there are any good dance clubs that play electronic or dubstep music? What is a good club that many local 20s go to? Thanks and keep up the good work, I check your website info frequently!
Zoe in Yellow Garden which can be found at the back of Zoe in Yellow, Ratwithi Road (known as the old Boon Yoo Market) fills out most nights of the week around 12.30 a.m. – 1 a. m. The DJs spin quality electronic and dubstep beats. The Boon Yoo area is packed full of 20 somethings, mostly farang, so there are plenty of other places (and people) to check out before heading there, in particular the Chiang Mai Bar which also plays some super heavy dubstep. Additionally, on the first floor of the President Hotel, to the right hand side you will find the techno and trance section inside the bar Fabrique. It doesn’t usually pick up until about 1 a.m. so I would suggest starting the night at Warm Up (a 5 minute tuk tuk ride away), another really cool place that usually shuts down around 1 a.m. Café del Sol also has great live music to dance to.