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What has happened to Chiang Mai, one of the best places in the world?
Who asked it? She is not a native of Chiang Mai but she can speak and read Thai. And she has been living in Chiang Mai for more than 35 years. Ask her if she joins big events in Chiang Mai city which is around 20 kilometers from where she lives and she will say no.
What makes Chiang Mai so interesting and attractive that she just loves Chiang Mai? Firstly, the location and nature: situated in the north of Thailand, around 700 kilometers away from Bangkok it has three seasons, namely, sunny or dry; rainy or wet; and cool or winter.
This is already amazing, the winter or peak season attracts tourists around the world and from within the country itself. Therefore, a native of Chiang Mai would not go to Doi Suthep and Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand (temperatures can go down to zero) during the peak season because these areas are crowded with global and local visitors. From the highest peak down to lower elevation just 30 to 40 kilometers from the city of Chiang Mai are found the Elephant Camps where elephants perform before visitors.
These huge creatures can amuse everyone and just melt one’s heart because they can play football and other games, carry logs, and paint and draw pictures. Secondly, are the local people of Chiang Mai:
When a visitor goes to the markets one finds vendors selling fresh goods like fruits, vegetables, fresh meat and fish, as well as cooked dishes and desserts. Ride a red or green or yellow or white pick-up and one will meet the locals. Go to the rice fields, vegetable farms and fruit orchards and one will meet the farmers. They speak a northern dialect called ‘kam muang’ softer and spoken slower than the Thai language.
Hospitable, friendly and sincere are some of the qualities of the locals. Lastly, the culture and that is Buddhism the religion of the majority of the population. So temples are many and scattered throughout the city and the rest of the province and some of the temples are built of Burmese or Myanmar architecture or Indian design revealing the historical significance of these countries.
Chiang Mai city, ranks as the second city next to Bangkok, gets its income from tourism. Now that a global corona virus pandemic has been declared by the World Health Organization, tourism industry is vastly affected because tourists are not coming so hotel bookings, travel itineraries canceled leading to laying off of businesses’ employees and workers. Medical staff, doctors and nurses of hospitals are on alert especially those in Chiang Mai University Hospital or Suandok Hospital as well as the Public Health Clinics in the province.
People at all social and intellectual levels had to adapt or switch to a different lifestyle to keep safe and survive. The elderly and young population categorized as vulnerable need more protection. Another problem that the people of Chiang Mai face during the hot season of is the smog from the burning of agricultural wastes uphill in preparation for growing season of crops with economic value such as corn.
These are agricultural plantations uphill that made contracts with big companies. The atmosphere has smog with dangerous minute particles causing an unhealthy to dangerous air quality index reading. Yet despite of all these calamities the people stay calm and law abiding citizens to any urgent announcements made by the Government.
Finally, to the question, what has happened to Chiang Mai; she says Chiang Mai is still one of the best places in the world. As a tourist destination, it is nice getaway and visitors will return to Chiang Mai after their first stay.
Cr.,Picture : Internet
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