Escaping the heat of Chiang Mai

One of the biggest challenges as a foreigner living in Chiang Mai is finding the balance between the “farang” tourist scene and “authentic” Thai life.  Finding tourist hotspots is easy- just follow the flock of elephant pant-wearing white folks clutching Lonely Planet guides.  Places like Wat Doi Suthep and the night bazaar are well publicized.  I have nothing against a pretty wat on top of a mountain or a market where I can find hippie pants for $3, but sometimes these places can start to feel like tourist traps.

This is why I loved this past weekend.  It began with the Lanna World Music Festival on Thursday night, which featured a lovely mix of Lanna (a region including parts of northern Thailand, Burma, Laos and probably more), Korean, African and even American artists.  I went to the festival with a few friends and was introduced to several new ones there through a mutual friend.  We ate some delicious stall food, enjoyed a few beer towers and relaxed, enjoying the music and atmosphere.  We all hit it off so well that we agreed to go out again the next night.  And again the following afternoon. Our Saturday afternoon destination? Huay Tung Tao, a lovely lake about 25 minutes outside of the city.  As a tourist, you probably wouldn’t hear about this place, or if you did, it could be a bit of a stretch to get there.  This is how we spent that afternoon…


Enjoying some snacks and cold beverages in our own personal tiki hut!

One of the best parts was that I don’t think I saw any other huts of farang, or foreigners.  Not that I’m anti-farang, obviously almost our entire gang was comprised of ex-pats, but it’s nice to find a place where you don’t feel like just another dot in a sea of tourists.  Not to mention the sunset…


Beautiful, pink sunset over the lake. No editing required.

Needless to say, it was a wonderful afternoon.  Getting out of the city is necessary when the daily average temperature is hovering just around 100 degrees. Even if we didn’t swim, courtesy of the snake David almost grabbed in the water and the bits of trash floating around, the breeze was fabulous. For only a 20 baht entry fee, it’s well worth it.  I highly recommend Huay Tung Tao to anyone currently suffering through the oppressive heat of Chiang Mai!



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