01 November 2009

Following the Emerald Buddha's footsteps

Would you believe it ? The theme of my trip to the north was following the Emerald Buddha's footsteps ... this highly revered figure was discovered in Chiang Rai in 1434 ; it then stayed in Lampang and Chiang Mai until 1552 when it was taken to Luang Prabang. It is now in Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok where it was brought in 1784.

North Hotel gay-friendly hotel in Chiang Rai
North Hotel gay-friendly hotel in Chiang Rai
So my stay began in Chiang Rai and I visited of course the local Wat Phra Kaew as well as the countryside on a rented bicycle (the Merinda shop where Phahonyothin Road turns left to the south is a good place).

My hotel was the North Hotel in the Night Bazaar area ; 15 rooms and a guesthouse atmosphere, with really very small rooms but OK for two nights. This hotel has also a more or less advertised massage service with boys ; about 3 to 5 of them come at dusk and are available to offer their skills and more if needed.

This could provide a nice alternative should you not be able to find anyone to your taste in one of the two bars in town : Lobo Boys and Regency. Both are located in the immediate vicinity of the Wangcome Hotel and are very quiet, Lobo Boys also having a "for sale" sign in front. However the quality offered is quite decent in my opinion ; I took a guy in Lobo on the first night and he proposed a very satisfying massage in my room (for which you will have to pay the massage fee to the hotel) and could as well have taken another on the following night - but I had already used the in-home service.

I spent then one night in Lampang, a wide and green town also known for its horse carriages. Despite its not convenient location in the countryside, a visit to the Phra That Lampang Luang is a must : you should not miss an opportunity to visit this wooden wat which is said to be the oldest construction in northern Thailand. Besides this, the place (amphoe Ko Kha) where it is located is pleasant and the local population very welcoming. By the way the Emerald Buddha was not kept in this wat but in another Wat Phra Kaew in downtown Lampang.

I had very accurate information from a thai website about a house with boys. I could find the house - close to the Clock Tower in a small soi leading to the School number 4, and sure this was the place as it matched all the details except one : the house had been done up a little, whereas the information I had (dated July 2009) told about a rather old place. No boy was to be seen except the normal life of a thai family, so I guess I had arrived too late : the house had probably been sold and the owner (described as an already old man) had retired from the business.

Horse taxis in Lampang
Lampang taxis
To tell the truth I do not know if I would have dared to enter the place ; the website told about 4 or 5 boys, all of them aged 16 except one aged 19, and no room on the premises.... sounds a little bit hazardous for a lonely farang doesn't it ? Anyway this shows that Thailand has a scene that we do not know, with thai rules and thai prices (100 THB for the owner, 500 THB for the boy), and access to this information seems to be very sparse.

My hotel was the Kim City Hotel where for 600 THB you get a huge room - simple but clean. As a premium you gain the privilege to look at the waiter in the restaurant downstairs, who is probably the most charming guy in town : a dark-skinned well-built boy - about 19 y/o - with the innocent smile of someone who has still to realise how cute he is.

Next stop in Chiang Mai which seems to have a lot to offer these times... beginning with the Loy Krathong festival.

No comments: