Scam…..!

Scam…..!

The Indian visas should be ready today, as I was not able to check the website (it was down) we decided to go to the office.

I went to the Gurdwara to ask the Gianiji if he knew the best place to hire a scooter. He said no, but offered to give me a lift to the scooter rental. We found one not that far from the hotel the cost was 200 Thai baht, they usually take your passport but as I did not have mine they took 5,000 Thai baht deposit.

It is amazing how confident we have become on the scooter!

We went to the Indian consulate to pick up the visas, she asked us to take a seat. 15 minutes had passed when we got up to ask why is it taking so long. The receptionist said the day we handed in our applications the price had gone up and we had to pay an extra 2250 Thai baht! I was furious, Sangeet told me to keep calm but it was impossible for me to do so! In my view Indians are just people who want to make extra money by hook or crook…….we had already booked our flights so would have been more costly to change, also I wanted to see my good friend Kapil Seth, the only Indian I trust.

I was tempted to say you can take my visa and put it where the sun does not shine! As you can see I was a bit angry!

Sangeet kept me calm and said it is no use we will have to pay the money. We paid and sat back down. I was still fuming. It took a further thirty minutes for her to pick up our passports from her tray which was in arms length to her and pass them to us!

Afterwards we ate at Taiwan restaurant. Then headed to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is a Theravada Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. The temple is often referred to as “Doi Suthep” although this is actually the name of the mountain it is located on. The temple is located 15 km from the city of Chiang Mai and is a sacred site to many Thai people. From the temple, impressive views of Chiang Mai can be seen and it remains a popular destination for tourists.

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Orange material around the tree means it would be sacrilegious to cut down
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Taking the cable car to the temple
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The original founding of the temple remains a legend and there are a few varied versions. The temple is said to have been founded in 1383 when the first chedi was built. Over time, the temple has expanded, and been made to look more extravagant with many more holy shrines added. A road to the temple was first built in 1935.

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We came back, popped into the railway station to buy one way travel to Bangkok. The journey takes 13 hours and costs around 600 Thai baht per person. A very straight forward procedure here are two windows one is information and the other where you can buy the tickets. The staff are very helpful. The train only has second class seats…not looking forward to this!

On the way back we gave the scooter to the hire company and wandered to GIVA for drinks and food.

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We had a hot chocolate at U Chiang Mae hotel, which was vey tasty.

U Chiang Mai
70 Ratchadamnoen Road, Sri-Poom
Muang District,
Chiang Mai 50200
Thailand
T: +66 53 327 000
F: +66 53 327 096

Taiwan…..

Taiwan…..

On a Sunday at 11:0 am the Gurdwara has children’s punjabi classes. The Gianiji has done a fantastic job at setting these up. Whilst Sangeet was helping the teachers, I was sat with the Gianiji and having tea. The class is a mixture of Sikh, Namdhari and Hindu students. The focus is on conversational basic Punjabi (few children in Chiang Mai speak Punjabi or English, their main language is Thai due to schooling) and also Sikhi including reciting Gurbani.

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Afterwards we popped to

Taiwan Restaurant
3/2-1 Sri Phum Road (at /btwn Ratchaphakhinai Rd and Muang Mong Rd)
Chiang Mai
Thailand
T: +66 801317718

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A vegan restaurant which does good food and at great prices. There was a Thai wedding happening over the road from the restaurant.

Stall making pancakes
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Afterwards, Sangeet went to see the buddhist temples of the old city whilst I went back to the hotel and relaxed.

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This is a waxwork
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Later as I had a wander down Charoenrat Road I bumped into Sangeet as she was returning to the hotel. We decided to pop into
The Meeting Room Art Cafe
89 Charoen Raj Rd
Wat Kate,
Chiang Mai 50000,
Thailand
T:+ 66 8-0627-9219

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where we both had strawberry smoothies and tried to avoid looking at some rather erotic art! Then on to the Sunday Night Walking Street Market where I had Durian Ice Cream! Then a final stop at

U Chiang Mai
70 Ratchadamnoen Road, Sri-Poom
Muang District,
Chiang Mai 50200
Thailand
T: +66 53 327 000
F: +66 53 327 096

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for hot chocolate which was rather more expensive than the prices we are now used to paying though very tasty.

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Visa day…..

Visa day…..

Today we hired a scooter from Peter. it cost 250 baht, as we were already staying there they did not ask for a deposit or passport. We made our way to Bosang and then on to find the Indian Consulate of Chiang Mai:

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Indian Consulate of Chiang Mai
33/1 Thung Hotel Road
Wat Kate, Muang
Chiang Mai 50000

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Open Mon – Fri 9am to 12pm

How to get to there:

You can take a Songthaw or TukTuk from anywhere in Chiang Mai. If the driver does not know exactly where the consulate is, he might know Thung Hotel Road at least, and you can look out for the white sign with plain black letters. If not, ask him to bring you to the railway station – it should only be a fifteen-minute walk from there. Alternatively, you can rent a bicycle and cycle from the Old City in 25 minutes, or walk in about an hour.

The Indian visa application is fairly straight forward. The form has to be completed online in advance at
http://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/

On the top of the electronic form you choose where you would like to present the visa application ‘Indian Mission’, once completed you are given a time and date for an appointment at the chosen consulate after which you print out two copies, take these along with your passport, a photocopy of your passport, photocopy of the departure card and immigration stamp of Thailand and a completed reference form available on the Indian high commission website to your appointment together with two passport sized photos and the visa fee (charges vary and are related to what passport you hold, whether it is a business or personal trip and the duration off the trip) we paid 2170 Thai baht. The longest visa you can get at Chiang Mai is 3 months. For a 6 month visa an application in Bangkok would be necessary. So, the following need to be taken to the consulate ;

Passport
Two passport photos
X 2 copies of visa application form
x 2 photocopies of passport, Thai visa / immigration stamp and departure card
Reference form
Visa fee

At the ‘interview’ which basically means handing your form to the receptionist and her looking through them we waited about 30 minutes for the lady to call us, take our money and tell us to come back a week later. She could have been quicker but I think she wanted to show us she was very busy. Also whilst we were waiting we could hear an Indian official just continuously shouting on the phone. Annoying Indian just wanting to show his status by shouting. The whole process was quite relaxed and easy.

Afterwards we had lunch at

Taste From Heaven
237-239 Tha Pae Road,
Chang Klan (at Muang, opposite Krung Thai Bank)
Chiang Mai
Thailand 50100
T: +66 53-208-803

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Where we booked a day at the Elephant Nature Reserve.

Later, we rode to the bus station where we booked tickets for Pai, going tomorrow. There are various operators going to different destinations, it can get rather confusing especially when most signs are written in Thai. Luckily the operators are very helpful and can direct one to the correct operator. Later we visited the train station and made enquiries about trains to Bangkok.

Bus terminal
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Inside there was a information booth, where the lady old us which bus terminal we should buy the ticket from

Walking towards the correct terminal
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The train station
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On the way back to Secret Garden we stopped at Tesco Lotus where we tried to find some vegetarian snacks.

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Having a wander at Bosang
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Then back to Secret Garden to relax use the wifi and have some soft drinks. We said goodbye to the amazing staff at Secret Garden and got the courtesy bus to

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Baan Chonpakorn
122 Charoenrat Road
T Watket
A. Muang
Chiang Mai 50100
Thailand
T: +66 53 2401612
E: chonpakorn_cm@hotmail.com
W: www.baanchonpakorn.com

In the end we got the room for just over £17 per night!

Room and hotel
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The hotel is next door to the Gurdwara, here is the Gurdwara lit up at night
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Now as I was running of my favourite ritz lemon crackers we headed to Tesco Lotus, I had forgotten how far it was. On the way we came across vicious dogs and people performing Thai karaoke, not sure which was worse the dogs or the people singing! On the way back we headed down the west bank through local fruit markets (not a tourist in sight!) where we bought satsumas and mangosteens. We walked through various other markets including the beautiful flower market. Then we went down Tae Pae Road, popped in to Taste Like Heaven for drinks and food and then went to search for the night bazaar. Well stocked and lively but not as lively as the Sunday Night ‘Walking Street’ market. After a LOT of walking, headed back to Baan Chonpakorn.

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