Chiang Mai: Opium at Doi Pui, Thailand for Travel Photo Thursday

Welcome to week 216 (02/26/2015) of Travel Photo Thursday. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing a drug blast on my blog, but it’s true, if you go to the mountain town of Doi Pui, about a 45 minute drive from downtown Chiang Mai, you will find opium growing. It’s all in the name of tourism.

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A small fee of 10 Baht (about .30) will take you to the opium poppies.

Opium Poppy, Doi Pui, Thailand

 

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Chiang Mai: Elephant Parade House for Travel Photo Thursday

Welcome to week 215 of Travel Photo Thursday (02/09/2015). What can be more fun than a room full of colorful elephants. Join me today as I take you on a tour of Chiang Mai’s Elephant Parade House. Elephant Parade is an organization that helps elephants in need, and is funded through the sales of these beautiful creations.

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Elephant Parade House, Chiang Mai, Thailand

 

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Chiang Mai: Sticky Rice Tea for Travel Photo Thursday

Welcome to week 214 (02/12/2015) of Travel Photo Thursday. I’ve been coming to Chiang Mai for a long time, and I consider it my second home. The city is definitely my go-to place when I’m not teaching in Korea, or playing tourist in another country. I always love to find new things in the city, and that’s what I did this week with my discovery of sticky rice tea (who would have thought!) .

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I was in the mood for a new restaurant this week, and Google led me to this tiny gem. I found Farm Story in a Thai teak house on a narrow lane in the old city. They boast a menu of organic food and drink.

The quirky little sign at the entrance left no doubt that I was in the right place.

 

Farm Story Restaurant, Chiang Mai, Thailand

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Chiang Mai’s Women Prisoners Massage for Travel Photo Thursday

Welcome to week 213th (02/05/2015) of Travel Photo Thursday. . Have you ever been massaged by a female prisoner? No? Well, come to Chiang Mai, and you can do just that. The Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution vocational facility runs a popular restaurant and massage facility staffed by prison inmates. The program offers training, and I would say hope, to inmates that are soon to be released.

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Located just steps from Chiang Mai’s museum complex in the old city, this sign makes the vocational facility easy to find.

 

Chiang Mai Women Correctional Institution

 

The restaurant fronts on a lovely, shady, and relaxing courtyard. If you prefer a/c, you can eat in the dining room. The wait staff are very friendly, and the service is quick and efficient. I took this shot after eating, and you’ll notice that one of the servers is folding up the table clothes. Closing time, 4:30pm, was close at hand.

 

Chiang Mai Women's Prison Restaurant

 

I chose Pad Thai from the extensive menu of Thai and foreign dishes on offer. Delicious!

 

Pad Thai, Chiang Mai Worm's Prison Restuarant

 

This wasn’t my first visit, and since the last time, they have moved the spa facility to a 100 year old teak house right next to the restaurant.

 

Chiang Mai Women's Prison Massage Spa

 

Chiang Mai Women's Prison Spa Facility

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t get beyond the front door of the spa on this visit. They were closing, so I will have to go back another day. I really want to see the inside of this teak house. The former spa was a few doors down, and I always felt like I was walking into a cement air raid shelter! However, these women do give a good massage!

Since I couldn’t experience the real thing, I decided to try out the Women’s Massage Center by Ex-Prisoners. I wish I could say that the massage was as good as that at the Women’s prison, but sadly it didn’t come close. The staff seemed to be more interested in chatting among themselves than providing massage. Maybe it was just bad luck on my part. The facility has received some great reviews on Trip Adviser. I wouldn’t say to give it a miss, but be aware that the service here can be a bit hit or miss. I would definitely try spa run by the women’s prison first.

Women's Massage Center by Ex-Prisoners, Chiang Mai

Women’s Massage Center by Ex-Prisoners

 

The first time I had an inmate massage I was a little apprehensive. I’d never been in a prison before, so had no idea what to expect. Thankfully, the ladies are friendly and just want to do a good job. How would you feel about receiving a massage from a prison inmate?

Travelers Tip

Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution Address:

100 Rachvithi Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Hours: 8:00am to 4:30pm Cost: Traditional Thai Massage – 180 Baht; Foot Massage – 150 Baht


Chiang Mai: Somphet Market for Travel Photo Thursday

Welcome to week 212 of Travel Photo Thursday. Join me on a photographic journey of one of Chiang Mai’s smallest (but perhaps, liveliest) traditional markets; Somphet Market. Locals come to gossip, purchase local fruit and vegetables, sell their goods, and rub elbows with the tourists dropping by to experience the real Chiang Mai before heading off to cooking class.

To join in the Travel Photo Thursday fun simply post a photo on your blog.

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Somphet Market

Located at the start of Thanon Moon Mueng Soi 6, directly opposite the city’s historic moat, the market is a bustling jumble of stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables, traditional Thai food (think curry, pork, and sausage),  fish, meat, and even a few pairs of traditional Thai pants thrown in for good measure.

Popularly known as Somphet Market, as you an see from this sign, it’s “official name is Ming Muang Market. I’m not sure how long the market has been in existence, but if you wander to the back you will find a recent addition, a small museum featuring historic photos of the market and other related paraphernalia. Definitely worth a browse, and you will probably find out how old Somphet actually is!
Somphet Market, Chiang Mai Thailand

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