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It’s raining!

It’s raining! After all, it is rainy season and this year it seems that Chiang Mai is getting plenty. Earlier this month Tropical Storm “Nok Ten” caused limited flooding around Chiang Mai and the Ping River was at the absolute limit for breaching it’s banks around Narawat bridge. Fortunately, no serious flooding occurred in the city centre. Now the strong monsoon trough is bringing persistent rain which is expected to worsen as we head into September, statistically the wettest month in Chiang Mai.

Many of Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand’s attractions for tourists, like elephant riding, trekking, visiting mountains such as Doi Inthanon or around Chang Dao can be unappealing when it’s pouring. Even the short trip to the temple at Doi Sutep can risk you getting a good soaking (Note: it rains much more on the mountain than in the city). So we ask: what is there for visitors to do when it’s raining?

Evening Thunder Storm
Evening Thunderclouds forming

Whilst it can rain for prolonged spells, it’s usually not heavy so it’s still possible to get around town. What’s more typical is very heavy thundershowers with completely torrential rain lasting for a short period. Maybe 15 minutes or maybe an hour; the best thing to do is wait until it stops. Thundershowers tend to be more prevalent in late afternoon and evening time. With some planning there’s no shortage of places to go.

With plenty of cloud cover temperatures do not rise too high, not only does this make it comfortable for sleeping at night, but means the rainy season is not such a bad time to explore the city and it’s temples on foot. Just remember to take an umbrella! Sandals and long shorts (below the knee) are recommended attire unless you want soggy shoes and socks. Remember Thai etiquette; wearing skimpy shorts is frowned upon, and an absolute taboo if entering a temple. Sandals are also easy to take on and off, which is required when entering temples.

Wat Lok Malee
Rainy Season Sunrise at Wat Lok Malee one of Chiang Mai's many attractions (Photo courtesy Brian at Darling Wine Bar)

Just be prepared to take cover when the rain starts. Of course, Chiang Mai city has no end of bars, cafes, coffee shops and restaurants so it’s usually not hard to find somewhere pleasant to wait out the storm.

Or, if you are a coffee aficionado, just head straight to a coffee shop and enjoy. A couple of great places, though a bit off the main tourist track are: Akha Ama Coffee and Bakerista. Akha Ama sells it’s own brand of fair trade coffee grown sustainably by local Akha hill tribe farmers, and is a great little hideaway (but not so hard for our gay readers to find as it’s in the same Soi as “New My Way” bar). Bakerista, offers both an air condition lounge and outdoor garden. As well as coffee they have an excellent selection of cakes and pastries baked on the premises and are a supplier to many other shops in Chiang Mai.
Another great area to explore coffee is Nimamheminda road. Take a stroll along here and you will find many different coffee places tucked in between boutique shops and trendy restaurants. One we can recommend is Impresso at 28/1 Nimmanheamin Soi 11.

For indoor entertainment Chiang Mai has two main shopping malls: Central Airport plaza and Kad Suan Kaew. Either of these have plenty of places to go, as well as shopping there are abundant coffee shops and restaurants together with food courts selling every conceivable type of Thai food. Cinemas and other amenities, such as fitness, bowling or Karaoke give a number of options for staying occupied. Of course, if you have a Thai companion malls can be dangerous; we all know how much Thai guys love shopping!

Another great pass time for a rainy afternoon or evening is going to a massage house. For specifically gay places with massage boys offering an man to man service check out our listings or read some of our previous articles on gay massage in Chiang Mai. Most of the gay places specialise in massages with a happy ending, also known as a “rub and tug”, however, Chiang Mai also has many non sexual massage shops in the tourist areas.

For evening entertainment rainy season is obviously not the best time to go to outdoor venues. Most restaurants have at least some covered accommodation, though those with outdoor only areas may be best avoided. Outdoor beer bars can be very unpleasant at this time of year. Fortunately all the main go-go and Karaoke bars are indoors and air conditioned, so they are still viable.

Other places that are not so bad in the rain include Soho, Metro Bar, Yokka Dok and Glass Onion. Good indoor restaurants we can suggest include Lemon Tree, Beccofino, Chez Marco, The Pub, The House/Ginger Café, Nimman Grill at Kantary Hills, Moxies @ D2 and Giorgio’s N.B. These are not necessarily gay restaurants, but places which are gay friendly and have great food away from the rain!

Of course, the best option for passing the time in rainy season is what we do at Radchada: Get a few good looking guys together, fill the fridge with beer and fire up the barbecue (assuming you have a suitable porch or undercover area). And before you know it they all have their shirts off and are having fun posing for the camera:

Shirtless guys
Handsome Shan Guys take off their shirts for the rain
Topless Shan GuyCute Shan Boy
Cute Shan Boys having fun
Three happy Shan boys
After a few Leo Beers
Shan boy smokingTwo sweet Shan Boys
2 Shan guys
Topless Shan guys show off their handsome bodies
Radchada Cafe
Rainy Season Party at Radchada Cafe

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