Chiang Mai is a soup bowl full of smog this time of year. The metro area with a population of over 1 million people already has enough air pollution from its traffic to put it in contention with Bangkok, but when the farmers burn their fields for the coming growing season, the smoke just turns this amp up to 11. Is it so bad? Well, that depends on one’s point of view. Do like going camping? I sure do. Think of time in the city as being camping and sitting by the campfire. All day. With your head in the smoke and forgetting to say you hate white rabbits. So really it’s like scouting without the merit badges.
We had four days to catch up with old friends and guzzle up our favorite coffee at Akha Ama just north of the northwest corner of the Old City.
We found a new hotel that we really liked. Inside the Old City on the west side, a stone’s throw from the moat is Dozy Hotel. When we checked in Jina, the manager, gave us a map and eagerly started circling things we might be interested in. We have been to Chiang Mai several times but she still managed to come up with a few things we’d check out that weekend. (Including a temple with underground tunnels.)
The rooms are quite big, brightly painted with little artsy touches and polished concrete floors with a few tiles embedded in them. TV, air-con, closet and shelf space, and comfortable beds. The policy is shoes off at the first landing of the stairs up to the rooms. We paid about $24 USD on Agoda.com
The ground floor is open-air with a small area of tables for eating or playing table games (anyone for Jenga?). Nice for parking your motorbike (you can rent them here).
There are also laundry facilities on site and a little kitchen for the guests. Coffee, tea and white-bread toast are free all day and you can grab an egg or two out of the fridge for a few baht and fry them up in the wok. Free WiFi throughout the building. The folks are really friendly and helpful.
This is also the parking spot for that peculiar Chiang Mai institution, the Sperm Drink Van. Don’t try to understand it; just accept it.