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!
Hanging out for a coffee hit? Then this is the sight that you are desperately looking for:
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 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 🙂
Thanks very much for reading. It was nice to have you join us for part of our day!