Lanna Kingdom Adventures

Feeding the gambler/sports addict in us we made our way on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to the horse track located at the Lanna Sports Center. Yes, the thoroughbreds with color clad jockeys on their back with live betting amongst the Thai locals! Gambling is strictly forbidden in this country except for the races which are run by the Thai military. There was a line up of eight races and even though the program was in Thai we picked one up for reference on the opening line. By the third race my honey had the lines and the available bets figured out as well as his own method of communication with the writers. He took a picture of each type of bet from the board shown in the picture below and he would show that to the writer and then use his fingers to indicate the horse number. This track was really similar in the money handle that would have been seen back in the days of the Les Bois track being open in Boise, near our Idaho home. Not much chance of making money but a whole lotta fun. Families were in attendance, children played on the grass, whiskey and beer were available as well as home cooked street cart style foods. There was an ice cream man ringing his bell and serving hand stuffed pound cake ice cream sandwiches. Another female cart operator was using a hand grinder to make Thai style icees available in a variety of tropical flavors sweetened with layers of canned condensed milk. They looked mighty tempting but my tastebuds were on Chang beer! The winners circle had beautiful Thai girls wearing jeans short shorts, cowboy boots and flannel shorts tied seductively at the waist who presented the floral wreath to the winning horse and jockey of each race. Live music was provided by a group of horn players. There was an air conditioned indoor area for the owners and VIP’s willing to spend 100 baht instead of the 50 baht for the pair of us including parking which got us seats in the grandstands. It was a terrific, off the beaten path outing. We saw 5 total other non Thai people at the venue, 2 of whom were likely expats attending with their Thai families. We felt totally welcomed and high fived with our fellow attendees as horses we cheered on together crossed the finish line in winning positions. It was an awesome day!

Tha Pae Gate on the east side of the old city. Three years running this staff has treated us right and this treatment goes for 160 baht. The cost rose 10 baht this year. A whopping 32 cent increase American. No problem. Totally worth it and this last time we tried “combo extra” for additional 20 baht. This was a nice addition of neck and back massage that was totally worth the price! On a side note all locations we’ve been for massage offer free WiFi. Yep, I typically sat blogging away as I relaxed. What a way to get some work done! Traditional Thai Massage is 200 baht pretty much everywhere. This is the real deal work out for your body. The masseuse manipulates your body in similar ways as yoga moves. Oil Massage runs an average 300 baht and is a more relaxing, all over body massage, using oil for a soothing relaxation. Prices can increase with use of hot oil, scented oil or aloe Vera. I really enjoy the relief and relaxation offered by a foot and leg massage. This oil massage focuses on leg muscles and the pressure points of the foot and runs 200 baht. Head, back and shoulder can be added to the one hour treatment for about an additional 150 baht. Face massage; cream facial, seaweed facial and mani-pedi treatments also fell into my budget for the stay. All services are mostly 1-2 hour treatments and none of these we partook of ran more than 800 baht. I figured if I was to do nails and toes every two weeks at home and one, one hour therapeutic massage I would outlay $165 plus tips of around $30. Unless I really go “hog wild” on the end of the trip in Bangkok I will stay well under my budget (spending $120 with tips) and I have gone for 10 services. Seriously valuable relaxation, totally worth the enjoyment. I highly recommend the cleanliness and professionalism of the Lovely Massage across from the Imperial Mae Ping and the bulk of massage services I enjoyed at this location. Dreadlock Chiang Mai around the corner from our condo was my go to for my two mani pedi gel polish indulgences where the girls were always friendly and the clientele lively. La Best Thai massage across from the Kalare market offered clean space with good quality Thai massage but little personality from the staff. The girls at Nangnoot provided excellent care in their services, especially enjoyable was the seaweed facial. Honestly, prices are comparable throughout the city and for mid range quality use your eyes and go with your gut, at these prices how bad could bad really be!