Chiang Mai – the most vegetarian friendly city in Thailand

Vegetarian food in Chiang Mai

The best vegetarian guide for Chiang Mai is made by Ath (Phongsathon Kitchawet), who is a webdesigner, artist, photographer, writer and idealist.

When Ath moved to Chiang Mai in 2000, he found the Vegetarian Restaurant Guide to Chiang Mai, Thailand map by David Freyer (15 March 2000). This map showed 39 vegetarian restaurants and 8 veggie-friendly restaurants, giving a total of 47 restaurants.

Chiang Mai Municipal city’s area is 40.216 square kilometer, so in 2000 the average was almost one restaurant per square kilometer…true heaven for vegetarians like myself.

Chiang Mai definitely has the most vegetarian restaurants in Thailand.

Surveying in September 2007 by Ath, there were more than 28 vegetarian restaurants in Chiang Mai City Municipality area. Less than 2000 because of closure or change from vegetarian to vegetarian-friendly (also meat) restaurant.

However, the Chiang Mai vegetarian scene is still vibrant, with more than 18 new vegetarian restaurants opening since 2000 (half the restaurants currently open) and the average is 1 restaurant per 1.43 km2, which is still high.

Chiang Mai’s broad cultural mix also plays a large role with Thai, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indian, Muslim and western influences evident in Chiang Mai’s vegetarian restaurants.

Local culture seems to be less of an influence with some notable exceptions. The famous Northern Thai monk Khruba Sriwichai became a vegetarian in 1903. However this seems to have had only a limited effect on local people.

Even though there are more vegetarian restaurants in Chiang Mai than other Thai cities there is still only 1 vegetarian restaurant for every 5,356 people in the municipal area (population of 149,959, March 2006).When you consider the social, ethical and environmental factors, this is still very few.

Besides all of this very interesting information that Ath could give me, the website also has Thai language learning (with audio), a great map of vegetarian restaurants, and sight seeing information for Chiang Mai etc.

To visit the website – go to: http://www.geocities.com/chiangmaivegetarian/indexeng.htm

Theta Healing Courses in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Theta healing is a meditation technique developed by Vianna Stibal. It directly addresses the subconscious mind to change the subconscious “bugs and blocks” in ourselves and is a way to make changes in your life. Using the theta-brainwave it can change old beliefs and as we all know – success in every aspect of your life is determined by your beliefs.

My old girlfriend Signe is a well-known theta healer and she says that ‘instead of walking around wanting something, you should teach yourself what it feels like to have it – and attract it into your life. With theta healing you can teach your body new feelings in seconds that might have taken you a life time to learn’.

This healing technique is also known to have helped people:

"¢ Heal emotional trauma and personal relationships
"¢ Self help for financial and health issues
"¢ Personal growth and spirituality

The courses take place in Chiang Mai (in the Holiday Garden Resort) on December 8th – December 10th (Basic course – DNA2) and December 15th – December 17th (DNA2 advanced) 2007.

I will participate in the course myself and I am very excited about it because in my experience Signe is a very good healer and I think the course will be very beneficial for me.

For more information please go to Signe’s website: www.SigneFjord.com

Theta Healing Courses in Chiang Mai in December 2007

Video: Donate your hair for charity: Locks of Love

Donating your hair for charity is not only supporting a great cause, it is also a way to make sure that nothing is wasted in life and that in every act you do you are mindful. I donated 30 cm (14 inches) of my hair to charity today -for children’s wigs and in the video below you can see the event and get instruction how to donate.

One of the charities you can donate your hair to is “Locks of Love”. It is a well-established nonprofit organization dedicated to gathering donated hair for children’s wigs. The charity makes wigs for financially disadvantaged children across the U.S. who suffer from long-term medical hair loss. These children receive custom-made and fitted wigs made from donated human hair for free or on a sliding scale based on need.

Donated hair must be at least 10 inches long, clean, dry, and bundled into a ponytail or braid. Colored or permed hair is acceptable if it’s not chemically damaged. Most of the wig requests come from girls, and they want long hair. That’s why there is a minimum length. Hair as long as 14 to 16 inches is ideal. Short-haired boy’s wigs are made from shorter lengths separated from longer ponytails/braids.

“Wigs for Kids” is another nonprofit group that accepts donated hair. This organization also gives wigs to children affected by medical hair loss. Their hair donation guidelines are slightly different: hair must be 12 inches long and must not be permed or color-treated in any way.

While chemotherapy is the best-known reason for children’s hair loss, it does not cause a permanent loss of hair. After the treatment is over, hair almost always grows back within three to six months. In contrast, alopecia areata, an autoimmune skin disease, can cause patchy or complete hair loss that lasts for years. The cause of the disease is unknown, and it currently has no cure.

According to “Locks of Love” most of the children they help have alopecia areata, and the wigs are a great boost to the children’s self esteem.

Whether you have hair or money to donate, those in need will appreciate your hair and your generosity.

You can send your donated hair to:
LOCKS OF LOVE
2925 10th Avenue N
Suite 102
Lake Worth, FL 33461-3099

– My haircut was done by Khun Noi at “Your Hair” in Chiang Mai. It is located on 106/4 Sirimangkalajarn Rd, Chiang Mai 50200. Phone: +66 (0)89-5599586

Podcast: Coffee enema – do it yourself detox

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Coffee Enema bagCoffee Enemas have been used for over a hundred years as a generalized detoxification procedure. I do a DIY coffee enema every two months or so. The procedure stimulates the liver and gallbladder to release stored toxins and wastes and liver function is enhanced. The immediate benefits for me are always a relief in my stomach, a feeling of well-being and increased metabolism.

It is also a very cheap procedure because you can do it at home yourself and all you really need is a special enema bag (which costs about 130 baht or $4), purified water and some organic coffee.

It is interesting to note that drinking a cup of coffee has an entirely different effect from that of using it as a cleansing enema.

At the top is a podcast we made about coffee enemas. Enjoy I did 🙂

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San Kamphaeng Hot Springs, Chiang Mai

What is the obsession in Thailand with boiling eggs in hot springs? Today we decided to go and find out at San Kamphaeng Hot Springs, about 44 Kilometres East of Chiang Mai. Once we arrived at the main hot springs entrance we realised, with it being Sunday, that there were lots of Thai people with the same idea. We even spotted a big, pink coach outside the entrance. We therefore made the snap decison to go and investigate Roong Arun hot spring ‘resort’ next door. It proved to be a wise decision as we immediately gained access, without queuing, to 4 pristine eggs, one basket and one bit of wood with which to lower our eggs into the boiling, sulphurous water.

Tina wanted hers “soft”, I wanted mine hard-boiled, and after a bit of “I know best” between us, Tina got her way as usual and was proven right with her egg-timing.

San Kamphang Hot Springs

The hot springs around San Kamphaeng are renowed for their high mineral content and several of the near-by resorts, including Roong Arun hot springs ‘resort’ offer various health treatments, from traditional massage to mud body wraps and facial treatments. There are even bungalows available if you would like to stay a night or two.

Directions

To get to the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs, head due East on Route 11 towards San Kamphaeng (also written ‘San Kamphang’). Carry on past the turn off to San Kaphaeng about another 10-15 KM until you see the sign for the Hot Springs (they are regularly sign-posted on the way). Eventually, once you have driven down a couple of kilometres of windy country roads, you will come to a split in the road – heading right takes you to the ‘public’ springs and heading left takes you to Roong Arun hot springs ‘resort’ (also sign-posted). For a 20 THB entrance fee, (plus 25 THB for 4 ‘boil-in-the-basket’ eggs), it’s a cheap and fun day out.

Video: Rainy season (monsoon) in Chiang mai

The rainy season in Chiang Mai is fascinating and lasts from around June to about October. As opposed to most guidebooks I actually recommend people visit the city during this time of the year. There are several reasons for this: a) the rainy season doesn’t mean that it rains day and night, far from the truth. It may rain for one hour in the late afternoon and then not rain for the next 5 days or rain all night (when good children are asleep 🙂 ), b) Everything becomes green and the air is fresh after the little rain has gone. This time is beautiful, with many wild flowers around, and it is nice for trekking or visiting the mountains which is one of the main reasons people come to Chiang Mai, c) There is a very low level of pollution as opposed to the end of the cold season (from February to April) in which the levels of pollution becomes a hazard to health. During the rainy season the air is fresh in the morning, and the daytime is not too hot, d) The accommodation in the city is much cheaper than in the high season (from November until January).

All of this being said, I will have to warm you about the amounts of rain that comes down when it does rain. Within a matter of minutes it can change (and usually does) from a few drops to a torrential downpour which often leaves the streets flooded. The rain is usually heaviest in September, with an average precipitation of 250mm for that month. Another downside to the rainy season is the amount of mosquitoes in the beginning (May – June) – do put lots of mosquito repellent on.

The "rainy season" video below was taken on September 16th and shows you how much rain comes down at one time – enjoy 🙂

Swimming pools in Chiang Mai, Thailand

One of the great ways to exercise in Chiang Mai is swimming. Most of the year you can swim both in the daytime and in the evening – it is always warm and all the swimming pools I know of are outside. The only time of the year that you may prefer only to swim during the day is the winter (from November to February) when the air temperature may drop to 15 degrees in the evening.

Even for a working woman like myself, I still feel as if I am on holiday all year long when I go to my favorite pool twice a week to swim. The picture below feature my favorite swimming pool. Thomas and I swim here together. It is the pool on the 7th floor in the Lotus Hotel in Central Kad Suen Kaew on Huay Kaew road. The swimming pool which is open from 9-21 costs 100 baht to use per time and with that comes a clean towel (not sour like most laundry in the rainy season they must have the only hot water washing machine in Chiang Mai 🙂 ). In the weekends we like to spend time sunbathing here as well and if you hide yourself you can even sunbath without a top (Scandinavian style).

Tina, Lotus Hotel Swimming Pool

Another pool you might want to consider is the Olympic size pool in the 700 Years Stadium. The entrance fee is 50 baht, but you have to remember your own towel and padlock for the safe. Be warned that the showers and toilets are a bit dirty. To get to the stadium you drive north on the Canal road for about 4 kilometers (from Huay Kaew road). It is on your left-hand side. The opening hours are 9-20.

A third option is the Duangtawan Hotel (although more expensive). The hotel has a sauna and a big L-shaped pool. The cost for using the pool for one day is 200 baht, but monthly and yearly memberships are also available. The Duangtawan hotel is located on Loi Kroh road just off the night Bazaar..Lotus swimming pool, Chiang Mai, Thailand

A cheaper option is the swimming pool at Hillside Plaza and Condo on Huay Kaew road. The pool is fairly small and not really suitable for laps, but it is nice to sunbath there (although topless is not accepted). The entrance fee is 50 baht which includes free refill of ice cold water

Hence you don’t need to stay in an expensive hotel in Chiang Mai to have access to a swimming pool. It’s perfectly affordable and accessible without paying a lot for accommodation. Enjoy 🙂