Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Walled City

The original walled city was made in the 13th Century. Some 90,000 labourers were involved. This is now the ‘Old City’ and is surrounded by remnants of the original wall….much of which you can still see and a canal (Klong), which forms a very useful way of finding where you are at any one time. Bit like getting lost is a maze really….just put your left or right shoulder to the wall (in this case klong) and keep walking. Eventually you will come to the exit. There are five ‘Gates’ : Thapae (closest to my office); Chiang Mai, Suan Proong, Suan Dawk and Chang Puak. The whole area of the Old City is some four square Kilometres. The Thai word for Gate – is Pratu.Now here is a curious thing – Cassie, the Sheep Dog, is a great traveller. Any time that there is an even remote possibility of a ride in the back of the pick-up…she is the first in line. For what ever reason, and believe me..I have looked into it…there is something about the road that leads to Thapae Gate that gives her the willies. The dog howls every time that we go up Thapae Road. Put it down to dormant images of those 90,000 labourers still beavering away today or whatever but it certainly makes her unhappy.As far as you and I are concerned Thapae Gate is a treasure trove of enjoyable activity, lots of cafes and bundles of second-hand bookshops and on Sunday evening is literally your gateway to The Walking Street Market.One of the best ways of finding your way around is pop into the office and to buy what my Girls call…The Nancy Map. The actual name is the ‘Nancy Chandler Map of Chiang Mai’. It provides graphic details of both the town and nearby attractions and comes complete with a small guidebook.Someone once described Chiang Mai as the ‘Oxbridge’ of Thailand. Certainly the CMU campus is enormous with all of the Faculty’s located west of the town on the run-up to Doi Suthep.

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