August 07, 2003

Life in Chiang Mai

I did not do much lately, but one thing is sure, Chiang Mai is much better than Bangkok, life is sweeter here, less stressful and more importantly less traffic. Being the biggest second city of Thailand, it is no small village though and it is poised to become a real tourist hub with the future expansion of the airport as a truely international one (source: Bangkok Post). Thailand being such a touristy destination, you cannot walk 10 meters without bumping into a shop showing all it can do for you in the surroundings and beyond. Tuk-tuk drivers are also quite pushy here, but no as stupid as their colleagues in Bangkok.

I have been hanging in the night bazaar yesterday which is packed with street stalls selling all kinds of artifacts, tailor shops, as well as wonders of the occident: KFC, Mc Donald, Burger King, Haagen Dazs, Baskin Robbins, Pizza Hut.

After much hesitation, I stopped by a tailor shop and ordered a custom suit. I selected the best material available (imported Italian cashmere wool) to have it made at a cost of B7000 ($167) including a shirt and ties. I insisted a lot on the quality of the jacket to have something really strong instead of quick workmanship.

All prices are somewhat similar in all shops, so I'm not sure you can go down much. Beware of the material though, this is where most of the risk is. Cheap suits are made from Thailand-made tissues. Roughly they are about half the price and even less for the worse quality. You can somewhat easily see the quality of the material by burning it with a lighter. Wool will burn and smell like hair, polyester will burn and smell like plastic.

There is one tissue sold right now that I have seen in most shops that looks nicer than the Thai one. It is supposed to be made in England, its name is 'Hummerfield' or something like this, but it is made in Thailand as well and consists partly of polyester. As the tissue looks nice, the broded tag looks nice, tailor often sell it as a 'good material' while it is in reality slightly more expensive than the worse.

After several fitting I took delivery of the suit today. I'm very pleased about it. Quality is excellent and it fits P.E.R.F.E.C.T.L.Y. Concretely I never had something so perfect on me. You can feel and see the difference. Even the shirt looks like it was made for me. That's probably because it was

I will ship it to Europe ASAP.

Posted by stephane at August 7, 2003 11:37 AM