Following on from our recent Songkran post: if your $1,000 Nikon does get totally destroyed by water pistol-frenzied 5-year-olds during the festivities then the following may well be a useful address for you: Den Chai Trading, Rattanakosin Rd (T: 053 211 450). It’s the largest photographic store in Chiang Mai and possesses the most efficient service centre too. Most minor problems will be fixed on the premises and if they can’t fix it, they will send it to the manufacturers in Bangkok, be it Canon, Panasonic or whoever.
It’s a photographic and camera supplies supermarket really, and if they don’t have what you’re after in stock then they’ll promptly order it for you. They have helpful, knowledgeable staff with a decent level of English, which is more than you can say for Central Department Store! Prices are comparable to Central or Siam TV and opening times are 08:30 to 18:30 Monday to Saturday.
Den Chai is actually quite central, being a mere 10-15 minutes’ walk from Tha Pae, but it’s located in a part of town predominantly full of used car lots, and so not an area you’d usually wander through. Walk from Tha Pae down the new town side of the moat, along Chaiyapoom Rd, until you reach the northeast corner of the moat. From here carry straight on, along Atsadathon Rd, for 500m or so until you reach the traffic lights. Turn left on Rattanakosin Rd and you’ll see Den Chai on the right.
And by the way, we forgot to mention earlier that for Songkran it’s traditional to wear very bright flowery shirts (ed: really?!) — so you might want to stock up in the secondhand Hawaiian shirt stalls in Chatuchak before heading up to Chiang Mai.
By Mark Ord.
The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.