You’ve got Ascot, we’ve got, erm… Chiang Mai

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I’ve been here over four years now and I had NO IDEA that there was a horse racing track here. I contacted a friend of mine and said my mum was here for a couple of weeks and he suggested that our families go and watch the horse racing. It sounded like a fun idea so I accepted the offer of a leisure activity during the weekend.

I had to go to work in the morning, so I whacked that out and counted the minutes until I could go and have some fun. Then I quickly grabbed some lunch and cycled towards the Lanna Golf Club, which was where we agreed to meet as it’s easy to find.

I weaved in and out of the traffic and soon came across a sign that said ‘Lanna Golf Club: 200m’. “Cracking!” I thought as I pedalled my way to freedom. Only I couldn’t find the entrance. I found a place called Lanna Sports Complex and rang my friend Lee, who told me to go against traffic for a couple of hundred metres. I would also like to point out that this is Thailand, so before you recoil in horror at the fact someone asked me to go the wrong way down a dual carriageway this is not uncommon, and perfectly acceptable. In fact as a cyclist the unofficial rule here is I need to be in the second lane, while people driving the wrong way are in the first lane…

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Anyway, to the horse racing. After we made the obligatory jokes about the women should be wearing big hats and laughing to ourselves thinking that we absolutely hilarious with our original jokes, we then paid 20 baht (40p) for our tickets and sat down on the terrace. There was lots of food and drink available that we gorged on throughout, and although it was possible to buy alcohol we didn’t want to partake in that. I didn’t want to get so plastered that I would bet all my savings on horse number 9, only to find out once they had started that there were only 8 horses in the race…

We stayed for about 6 or 7 races (I didn’t count) before leaving. it was a great day out and at one point during one of the races I got to get up close to the fence and took pictures of the horses galloping by, which in itself was an adrenaline rush. We then said our goodbyes and disappeared back home. As we were going back to our bikes two of the horses were being lead through where the bikes were parked, which pleased Lee’s little girl no end seeing the horses up close and personal. If anybody reading this ends up in Chiang Mai one day and wants to do something very non-touristy, then I highly recommend this as a great day out.

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