Chiang Mai 700 Year Stadium
One of the reoccurring points while reading earlier Stickman user submissions were comments on the Thais and their non willingness to perform physical activity. I have never found this the case. If I compare the amount of physical activity an average Thai does compared to the average Westerner then I see a ratio about 1:1. This is a lick the thumb and test the airflow analysis, your mileage may vary.
When I'm in the West, I have many good adventure times with my Thai friends. In 2007 we went on biking tours as I live in a hilly/mountainous area. We would ride our bicycles around our town and visit the morning markets. The type of open air "Farmer's" and "Artisan" markets always reminded my friends of Thailand. Our more adventurous trips would take us around lakes and to other beaches 10km outside of our town. I would play the role of tour-guide and my friends, owning a restaurant, always brought some good food. My friend who I will call P'P would stay on land, pull out her sketchpad and start drawing the scenery. P'Ps husband would find some shady spot of grass and shut down his system for a while, always after eating mind you… My friend T and I would go swimming.
Other days the army of us would hit the beach courts for a few rounds of beach volleyball. Remember to call "Bpai Lao" before bumping the ball. Volleyball in Thai did not matter, we were all having fun.
One time while visiting my wife in Chiang Mai, she asked, do you want to go to the Stadium. I recalled a fitness park in Chiang Mai so I figured she meant we were to go there. So I responded that we would go to the fitness park. I love the Thainess about my wife when it comes to me not understanding. She would interject about how much I would like the Stadium… the Stadium has a large track, badminton nets… I took me a while before I realized that the place she was mentioning was not in Chiang Mai University! It took a bit but I finally made the decision that we would go to the Stadium. (Note to guys: You should always be the decision maker <grin> )
My wife knows me all too well. I loved the place.
Straight ahead on this view is a 10m diving platform and pool area. Before you reach the pool area, there is a chipping and putting course for you golf lovers. There is a user fee for the golf greens, but not having my clubs I did not check.
This area turns into a vendor concourse when special events are held. Brick drawings are created by the yellow coloured bricks depicting various sports done at the stadium. In the distance is the main stadium itself. There was one bad experience I witnessed while jogging around this concourse, which was the food refuse dropped on the bricks not being sprayed or cleaned off after a large event. The smell was quite bad towards the stadium as various molecules of Mystery Meat were sun baking into the bricks. I did not mention it to my wife or it would be suggested I do not run there!
The poster on the pool building reminds that we should do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day! There is also a small fee to use the pool.
I got a chuckle out of this sign. English signs in Thailand at their finest! Given the busy nature of the tennis courts, there is a waiting list blackboard you can sign onto for the waiting queue. I grab the chalk and attempt to write on the back of my wife. The !?! appears over her head and I point to the BACK board sign and I simply say, "I'm using the back board". She pulls out her phone ask asks, "Would you like to call the officer and fix the sign?"
"Perhaps later when I forget about it", I remark. We have our laugh and move on to the next venue.
I discovered that Thais love badminton. My wife bought a badminton kit for us to play with for when I arrived. In the evening, after work, these nets are full with people waiting in the wings.
So you want to meet some Thai women? Bring your badminton kit and show them your skill at keeping the cock in the air! (we use the term 'bird' in North America) A little bit of competition can show someones true colours. Bring a friend and do some mixed doubles with the natives!
Playing some ball hockey in luxury! Back when I was a kid, it was some rock piled into a couple makeshift goal post on the neighbourhood street. My wife mentioned if lacrosse could be played with this setup? (my girl does her research!). Given the expense of protective gear (which will mean the lack of it) and the lack of a cage to stop stray shots from decapitating the observers, I suggested that ball hockey is the best for this venue.
Boys will always have toys and the presence of a radio controlled car track is complete icing on the cake for this Sports Stadium. You can see the control house just above the sign on the left. Come here in the evening on a weekend and the guys are racing their machines with amazing precision. The skill they demonstrate navigating the track is amazing. When they see the foreigner enjoying the show, then they break out the real tricks! Wheelies, controlled spin-outs… It's a good show!
The building shown here is a dormitory for visiting athletes. From what my wife says, the rooms are rent-able when there are no sporting events. Given that the 700 Year Stadium is 2km from downtown Chiang Mai can make this a possible play to stay if one has a set of wheels and enjoys the relaxation and quiet of this area.
The 700 Year Stadium complex was built for the 18th South East Asian Games. It was finished in time to mark the 700th anniversary of the city of Chiang Mai. The South East Asian Games mascots can be found outside of the main entrance.
Here is quite an interesting critter playing fetch with her owner. My wife and I watched a couple tosses with the ball before I brought my camera to bear. The moment the dog saw my camera, she stopped and gave me this pose. The moment I moved my camera down, she returned the ball to her owner for another toss.
Other critters do exist if you would like to take your time and look for them. Given the out-of-the-way location of the 700 Year Stadium you will hear some of the jungle sounds of Chiang Mai. I always find my trips to the 700 Year Stadium a peaceful interlude to the day to day action of Chiang Mai (which is relaxed and laid back anyhow!).
There are some other notable features to the 700 Year Stadium:
- The usual stock variety of Thailand street vendors will set up in the parking areas of the stadium and around some of the popular venues between 5pm-6pm.
- There is an indoor shooting range in the vicinity of the athletes hostel.
The main drive around the stadium is in an oval shape, but the oval does not connect to itself near the main entrance of the stadium. You will have to shortcut past the pool complex to make a complete circuit of the road track.
- There is a marked running ring around the road track oval that cars or motorcycles are not allowed to use. You can run in this zone safely. Overall traffic is very low when there are no major events in session.
There is a large group aerobic dance class at one of the indoor basketball buildings at 6pm in the evenings. This building is located across the road track from the badminton courts. If you cannot find it, politely ask some students playing badminton. Thai people speak more English than credit is given, as long as you look harmless and be polite.
- Ratio of men to women at the classes I attended is about 50women to 1man. As equestrian was listed as a good way to meet good Thai women, try the aerobic dancing. The women are varied in all shapes and sizes. Also, the dance instruction is given in non-verbal commands. After a few times one can figure out the basic steps that will be used during the routine.
- The fee is THB 10/person at the time of this writing.
I would like to pass on a little wisdom; if you are in pursuit of a Thai women for relationships, then I suggest you find one that does not mind to get sweaty. Many of the normal Thai women I have talked to take great interest in making sure their man is healthy. We read in a previous article about the earning asset of a man vs. the declining asses of female beauty. A good physical fitness routine helps equalize the balance. Keep your woman fit and toned so her beauty asset is maintained as well your longevity ensure she will have a happy, healthy partner to keep her company for a long time. If your woman (any nationality) does not want to break a sweat while being physically capable of performing even a modest workout, then worry. She should also fuss about your heath as a sign of wanting to take care of you. If she fusses about your health and you take measures to take care of your health, then you are heeding her advice and giving her the "good feeling"! This is a sign of genuine interest.
Those that play together, stay together! Enjoy a long, healthy and active lifestyle!
Could not agree more about the getting sweaty part.