Mae Kha canal and bridge

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Ragang Road, A. Muang Chiang Mai
18.77697, 98.99568

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Scenic viewpoint of part of the Mae Kha canal (คลองแม่ข่า)


This is an interesting viewpoint, not so much for the perceived outstanding beauty of the canal, but more so to get a better understanding of the shallowness and mass behaviour of Thai culture.

This part of the so-called Mae Kha canal used to be an irrelevant dirty canal with neglected banks on both sides and houses inhabited by the poor. In 2022, the local government decided to clean up the banks and make them into something like a boulevard. You can now walk 5 min downstream and 5 min upstream, alongside with planted planted flowers. This effort of the government to embellish the canal was so successful that every single day masses of Thai people frequen the site, it often slows down traffic or causes congestion and there is a lack of parking spaces in the neighbourhood. In no-time, this neglected spot became one of Chiang Mai's most Instagrammable, and thousands flock to it every moment of the day and evening.
A similar canal in an average city in Europe wouldn't even get any attention, but in Chiang Mai it is an unicum. What it actually shows is how few real pretty scenic points the city really has. Sadly, the authorities overdo it in trying to embellish the canal and the 'boulevards', by adding too many artificial elements of 'beauty' instead of allowing the natural beauty of the water and its embankments shine. Large pompuous flowers have been put in the water, the embankment itself is made of brick stones and so on.
Most interesting is that the canal is still smelly (!) and that other parts of the canal network that the government tried to fix up terribly failed and have become even more dirty than they were, but nobody seems to notice the smell and nobody cares, as long as one can make a nice background picture for the Instagram collection. Because that is the the summit of an average Thai day tourist: to make selfies with yet another fancy background to embellish one's social media profile.

What the local authorities will achieve is to create a new Instagram hotspot that is only interesting for local Thai tourists, not really for international travellers.


Mae Kha canal and bridge photos

Mae Kha canal and bridge
Mae Kha canal and bridge
Mae Kha canal and bridge
Mae Kha canal and bridge

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