Covered in detail or mentioned in this blog:

Ponganes Espresso cafe, Suan Buak Hat city park, Wat Phuak Hong and market shopping costs.


A drive out in Chiang Mai never has to have just one destination. This is a mix of things we did this morning although only one of them was planned.

A visit to the dentist for a check-up had us at Pantip Plaza on Chang Klan Road mid-morning. A coffee was called for to celebrate no fillings and as we were close to the Old Town I decided to give Ponganes Espresso cafe a go based on some Trip Advisor reviews. Ponganes is rated 14 from 1,302 eating and coffee places in Chiang Mai so I was expecting something a little special. TA reviews HERE.

Google makes a valiant attempt to get the location correctly marked on the TA map and does get close – better than its average. The actual location if that was of any interest 🙂 is on Ratchapakhinai Rd but closer to Moon Muang Road Lane 5 and on the left hand side of the road!

A for effort Mr Google.

“A” for effort Mr Google “F” for accuracy.

Correctly marked here.

Correctly marked here.

This is the reference sign you want on the right hand side.

This is the cafe’s old location so don’t go looking for it down this soi.

Hanging out for a coffee hit? Then this is the sight that you are desperately looking for:

Ponganes.

An intimate setting. Tables down the left hand side.

As you can see from the photo above this is a pretty typical small western minimalist style streetside cafe. Nothing special to hold you here long time in my opinion. Ponganes offers the usual range of drinks hot and cold plus a very small selection of snacks. The hot drinks include a Flat White for those Aussies out there:

The menu.

The menu.

The prices are some of the highest I have seen in Chiang Mai. We’re talking small amounts here but 75 THB for a small milk based coffee is unusual where 45 – 60 is more the norm. I guess you have TA to thank for this or maybe they are paying for the new shop. I had a flat white and it came nicely presented with good coffee art:

A good look.

A good look.

The coffee itself was competent but nothing outstanding. Coffee is very much a personal opinion but I do wonder when a TA reviewer rates this as the best coffee in Chiang Mai what their previous experiences have been – McDonalds?

You can buy Ponganes beans here if you enjoyed their coffee and wanted to replicate it at home.

The master at work.

The master at work.

In summary Ponganes Espresso is a safe choice if you are in the area but I wouldn’t rate it especially high for either ambiance or coffee. Each to their own.

Caffeine pumped I decided to have a look at Suan Buak Hat or Suan Buak Haad, the only city park on offer in the old section of Chiang Mai, as it was just around the corner.

You can see the park marked in the lower lefthand corner of the Old Town.

You can see the park marked in the bottom left hand corner of the Old Town.

It is a shame that Chiang Mai city doesn’t have more open public green space but that’s the price of progress I guess. Suan Buak Hat is a pleasant enough place to stop off if you’ve had a hard day on the tourist route and need some quieter time and shade to recover.

The park is based around water.

The park is based around water. Fish/bird food available from the stalls at the back.

Shady spots and greenery are always welcome in a city environment.

Shady spots and greenery are always welcome in a city environment.

This is not a fancy layout. It feels very much like a well used city park. I believe it gets very busy on a weekend but when we were there only a handful of people in sight.

This display set up for photos so we took advantage.

This display set up for photos so we took advantage. No other orchids or many other sort of flowers on display in the park so don’t expect a floral extravaganza! This is a “working” park.

PLenty of pigeons however.

Plenty of pigeons however.

This felt like a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock's movie The Birds.

This felt like a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds.

I just hope someone was feeding those pigeons.

I just hope someone was feeding those pigeons.

Coffee on offer if you get caught short!

Coffee on offer if you get caught short!

A centerpoint as you enter from the main gate facing the moat.

A centerpiece as you enter from the main gate facing the moat.

The dedication.

The dedication.

Doing what you will see in any park in the world.

Doing what you will see in any park in the world. Relaxing on the grass and reading the paper.

We had parked the car next to a Wat to visit the park so the final photo stop for the morning had to include a brief time here.

Wat Phuak Hong. The Viharn or main public hall.

Wat Phuak Hong. The Viharn or main public hall.

The following words are once again supplied by the wonderful website www.renown-travel.com, who for whatever reason, provide some of the best researched historical information I have found.

The Wat Phuak Hong or the “temple of the flight of swans” is a small temple in the old walled part of Chiang Mai town. The temple comprises of a viharn, a chedi, an ubosot and a bell tower. The temple’s main attraction is its multi tiered circular chedi, built in a style very unusual to North Thailand.

The chedi.

The chedi.

The Wat Phuak Hong was built during the 16th or 17th century, its founding date is not known with certainty. The entrance to the temple grounds is guarded by a pair of Chinthe, mythological lions often seen guarding Burmese temples.

Behind the viharn is a circular chedi named Chedi Si Phuak Hong which was built during the 16th or 17th century. Its style differs from other chedi in North Thailand; It was either influenced by Yunnanese architecture or it is a circular version of the stepped Mon chedi of the Wat Ku Kut in Lamphun. We recently visited this Wat in Lamphun and you can read about it as part of this post HERE.

The chedi.

Another view. More greenery than the park.

The chedi is set on a circular base in which are several Kalasa, the golden vase, the symbol of the sun. The Kalasa is often found on top of Hindu temples. The chedi comprises of seven circular tiers of diminishing size. Each tier contains niches in which are enshrined images of the Buddha, 52 in total. The arches over the niches are adorned with intricate stucco decorations.

Gaun making an offering to the day of her birth. Many of these are electronic and play a little Buddhist chant. This one unplugged!

Gaun making an offering to the day of her birth. Many of these are electronic and play a little Buddhist chant. This one unplugged!

Monk's accommodation including satellite in case Buddha is on the air.

Monk’s accommodation including satellite in case Buddha is on the air.

Just a photo of the soi or lane beside the Wat. Pretty typical of the more character-filled back streets of the Old Town.

A photo of the soi or lane beside the Wat. Pretty typical of the more character-filled back streets of the Old Town.

So typical Thai. A good idea let down by lack of maintenance. Good effort though.

So typical Thai. A good idea let down by lack of maintenance. Good effort at adding some character to the street though.

Totally unrelated, other than it was part of our morning, but we called into the local markets on the way home. We bought a kilo of chicken thighs and half a kilo of chicken livers for 155 THB or $5.00. Veggies were good value too. Thank you Thailand from us retired folk 🙂

Bought for 150 THB.

Bought for 150 THB.

Thanks very much for reading. It was nice to have you join us for part of our day!

 

Thanks to:

http://www.chiang-mai.org/images/chiang-mai-maps.jpg; and

http://www.renown-travel.com/