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To begin with, the city of Chiangmai (or "Chiang Mai") locates approx. 750 Km north of Bangkok. The current population is approx. 1.7M, it is an old ancient city which can traced its formation dating back to AD 1296. It is essentially locates in a valley , surrounded by few mountain ranges which contributes to its cooler climate. Majority of the people earn a living via agricultural related professions, handicrafts and services in tourism. Chiangmai is special. Because there is not many places in this world that can made me change my perception towards a city within such a short span of 24 hours after arrival. I would believe every country or cities (even the Sahara or Antarctica..) - regardless of how the the living condition is and will have tourists roaming around everywhere to find what they are looking for, the different could possibly be the numbers. I felt a little stomach upset when checked into the hotel (for 1st. time travelers, one little advice I can offer to you is, don't always trust any 5 stars rating for hotels...& those beautiful "demo" pictures display in their website). That first night, except for the brief few hours went outside the hotel premises for food, I have spent the whole night arranging the hotel shifting room and searching for clues & advice from others for alternative accommodation outside the nest day (another advice is, don't bother argue with them, just change another one). The next day, after physically inspected some hotels via Tuk Tuk (localized tri-wheel motorcycle), I moved to a hotel locates at the city centre. The afternoon, I booked a private cabbie (800 bahts for whole day, inclusive of gas - don't worry, there are plenty of them) and asked the drive to roam around. I noticed there was a refurbished temple at one end of the road with an old brick Pagoda behind and decided to stop by to pay a visit. I met up with the ever-smiling Chief de-Monk (abbot) and there we started a nice conversation relating to his old temple. Half way, there is a funny looking guy joined in, Weerapong Srivichai <weerapong_srivichai@yahoo.com> is his name. That is how I first got to know a few Khun Thai from Chiangmai, hehe.....

Probably Weerapong got hooked-up when he saw I presented my amulets for the monk to bless. He was a journalist attached with the local daily, Chiangmai News. He was there because his article relating to fund raising for the particular temple has just being released and delivering the clips to show the monk. Noticed he has his wife inside the car waiting for him, I invited both of them for dinner that night. He came and goohs... he brought me a present wrapped up in a newspaper - a statue that claimed aged approx. 450 years old. I rejected his good gesture. The next day, I went on private excursion (the elephant tacking, H
20 rafting, etc.. just like every tourist would like to explore in a new place. .... and we met up again for dinner where he brought along his best kept secret - his beautiful wife, Piyathida (photo shown at the top left corner). Once again, he brought a along a few beautiful antique mini-statues and asked me for 200 bahts if I insist not to accept any free-stuffs. I think I trust my own taste for good things and I would like to believe those are very "nice collectibles" but I rejected his good offer again because it is simply not my family tradition to accept things from others for nothing - even if it is great value at 200 bahts. He looked quite upset but the dinner & the rest of the night we spent together was simply splendid. Well, I must say, for the nest few days, this ever passionate guy changed my earlier negative impression on the city.

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Come to think of it - Chiangmai is a very unique place, the atmosphere in this place is different from Metro-Bangkok. The tempo is a stop slower, tolerable noise level & traffic jam, hazeless, with better air quality, greenish mountain views and hush of green everywhere that is if you stay atop at higher floors of the hotel. For anyone who intends to spend a quick 3 days 2 nights kind of visit to this city, I don't think you will ever had any chance to get a touch on the essence of the city. Actually, one significant difference of Chiangmai from other popular tourist hot spots in Thailand such as Phuket, Pattaya or even Bangkok is, the "quality" of tourist is of "higher grade". You will need to get to night falls when the famous night market begins to understand what this city prevails its another perspective on its people. Chiangmai has many talented people and it is a center exhibits all the skill labours in art & handicrafts. I have never been to other nearby towns and cities around the northern regions but I would believe the night markets is the medium for the creative people to demonstrate their talents.


Probably, combination of rich history and its creative people behind this old city of Chiangmai has a direct influence over designs of the many religious Amulets. Northern regions of this Thai Kingdom have many renowned Wat(s) ("Buddhist Temples"). Designs of Buddhist amulets and statues naturally integrated with artistry and superb craftsmanship which can be seen as tribute to the deep religious mind of the Thai public. I had the opportunity in witnessing some really top class amulets the following days when Weerapong brought me to meet up with some of his friends at a very unique place in Chiangmai called "The Hobbyist Market". Within the compound, there are probably 60-70 stores selling/exchanging amulets and statues. It was really an eye-opener and an unforgettable experience because the way how these guys operate is not entirely commercial but it was something like a gathering place for all amulet lovers - but more importantly, the friendly atmosphere makes you don't feel those people are setting up traps to nail you down with faked items - you just feel very at home to be there those honest looking faces will lead you to believe they won't cheat you except negotiating the prices. The hour-long session I as there brought me a chance to snap some photos of amulets where Weerapong introduced me to a few Gurus at the market place and I will use a few pages to show you what kind of stuffs these people have...

Pra ROD, Wat Mahawan
Front | Rear View

Phra ROD, Wat Mahawan
Front | Rear View

Phra Khong, Lampoon

Phra Kong

Pra Khong, Lampooon

Pra Perm, Krut Wat Dong Kaeo, 1200 years old

Phra Rod, Wat Mahawan, Lampoon Weerapong Srivichai®

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Weerapong's friend,
Mr. Yok's Phra Khong

Phra Berm, Lampoon,
Krut Wat Don-Kaew

           
I noticed one of the favourite image of the northern Thai people is Phra Rod "Loompoon" and Phra Khong. The few that shown here ranges from a few hundred years old to 1,200 years old - almost as old as the city itself. To me, each of these images are not just amulet - they are also an ancient art form - the enlarged view(s) is self explanatory


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Another cultural habit that I noticed is, the people in Chiangmai really treasure their possession. The craft even extends to the casing to host their amulets. Frankly, I have never seen so many dismond-clustered amulets frame in my entire life and best of all - despite the decorative glittering stones, the craftsmen seem to know how NOT to disrupt presenting the amulet form. I had my first taste of this via Weerapong's introduction to a superb craftsman in the trade by the name of Mr. Tongkam Chaisit goldsmitchlogo.gif (053-200811, 01-8816032). This handsome young man owns a shop with half a dozen skilled craftsmen specializing in amulets framing, gem stones & jewelry Tongkam also generously letting me take a shot of his beautiful Phra Khom (See above, the center picture, third from the left). As I has a WRK Medallion, a Soomdej LP Sod and a LP Ngern which I was having some difficulty getting suitable frames to case them. Our master did them handsomely for me - all within a day - so, I think he should also be mentioned with his services here since he is good at these and I appreciate his attentive and caring attitude.

| Previous | NEXT | 1/3 A few exceptional images courtesy of Weerapong's buddies

Index page - Friends in Chiangmai | Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six| Part Seven

Basic Info on Chiangmai

chiangmai_emblem.gif   Some interesting reading rereference on Buddhist images in Northern Thailand - by a foreigner
http://www.chiangmai1.com/news/statues.shtml
Useful Links and References relating to Chiangmai:
http://chiangmaivisitor.com/eng/history.html
http://welcome-to.chiangmai-chiangrai.com/01history.htm
http://www.chiangmainews.com
Maps: http://welcome-to.chiangmai-chiangrai.com/acmaps.htm
Nice places: www.dharadhervi.com-every inch a Native Thai restaurant ; Elephant Rides + Rafting|
http://www.clickanddrink.net - a cozy place at Changklan Road to sufe with wide screen PCs, drinks, eat , make cheap distance calls + an I-Mac !
Accommodation: Midrange: Royal Princess Hotel | Amari Rincome - www.amari.com | High-end: Four Seasons - www.fourseasons.com


| BACK | to Index page of personal collection
| BACK | to Main Index page of Thai Amulets/Pendants

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Chao Khun Nor   The Box - Mr. Adisak
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Raymond -Soomdej
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Credit: To all the good people who have contributed their own experience, resources or those who are kind enough in granting us the permission to use their images that appeared on this site. Mr. Wichian Phetratanamunee® (+6-012-2612207 (Malaysia);+66(0)74-421248 Thailand), my master and mentor all these years. My friend, Mr. Ho Fook Sang® from Ipoh, Perak (+06-0125388633, +605-5415433) who has been helping me all this long with wonderful source of information on Thai Buddha Imageries; my partner, Mr. Paul Lim, who shares the same passion together with me. Uncle Lim®, from TONG SOON Trading, Pudu Plaza (+06-012-9128391) who has given me some guidance relating to the background of some of the Thai amulets and lastly, Miss MaeV who helped me edit and patching some mistakes found on some of the pages in this site. Mr. Alan Tan "Arohka®" who contributes some of his excellent articles fro this site, Mr. Weerapong Srivichai®, (+6609999974) from Chiangmai News Co. Ltd. who has inspired me with so many new findings on Thai Amulets; Mr. "Ben", Col. Samay, Mdm Wannee, Mr Adisak® & many others who share so much passion towards construction of this website and not to mention all the time and effort spent by volunteered Co-Maintainers of the Message Board. Note: Certain content and images appeared on this site were taken by using a Canon PowerShot Pro-1, G2 and Sony digital cameras. Some materials appeared on this site were scanned from some leaflets, brochures or publications published in Thai and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from such dispute except rectifying them after verification. Site made with an Apple IMac.

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