What's the best time to go there? I know it's near the weekend market but is it good to visit Or Tor Kor on weekdays? Thanks for your advice. Caroline
The Or Tor Kor Market is a long-standing fresh market and is open everyday from 6am to 8pm. It’s a lively place and always stocked with plenty of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, seafood and good grocery products. Of course, the market receives more visitors during the weekend when Chatuchak Weekend Market is also open. The best thing about going there on weekends is that it’s a great place to take a break for lunch and enjoy the real taste of Thai food - from authentic southern menus to Isaan and northern specialities. Most of the ready-to-eat stalls here have higher standards than those located inside the Weekend Market.
Founded by the Marketing Association of Farmers, the Or Tor Kor Market is a nice place to stroll around whether to browse, buy some snacks and food to take away or to eat. It features an interesting variety of Thai sweets from sticky rice and mangoes and other traditional Thai sweets that not easy to find elsewhere. You’ll find a variety of chilli pastes, a famous papaya salad stall and a popular stall selling pork barbecue with sticky rice. Just fellow the queues.
What makes the market so popular is the high quality of the products, making it popular with chefs and many Thai gourmets. It’s shopper-friendly with wide walkways and lots of parking space and it’s also cleaner than most of Bangkok’s fresh markets.
Can you tell me if there is any significant air pollution as a result of crop burning in Chiang Mai right now? We will arrive in Chiang Mai in two weeks and would like to know what to expect when we get there. Thanks a lot, Roland
You are right to ask. This is the time of the year when Chiang Mai valley and nearby Northern provinces are especially affected by haze from crop burning, and the situation worsens in March and April. For some years now, Chiang Mai residents have been putting up with haze in the hot and dry months and some local residents wear surgical masks to avoid the inevitable irritation.
As you note, the pollution comes from the burning of rice fields as farmers prepare the land for the next crops. More accurately, they burn the stubble from the last year's crop, which produces carbon that they plough back to the ground as nutrition or natural fertiliser for the next crop. How bad conditions are in the city depends on rainfall and the direction of the wind. When there’s no rain, the pollution accumulates in the atmosphere. The pollution as a result of the annual burning is yet to be fully resolved. However, the province has launched a campaign to increase public awareness of the hazards of open burning, forest fires and smoke haze. More recently, the provincial chiefs imposed strict measures on those lighting fires in farm and forest areas. But the situation is difficult to control. In the city of Chiang Mai, the moat fountains are kept on round the clock to raise humidity and dispel dust. The haze situations in Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son are no better. Airborne dust particles were recently measured at 164.8 microgrammes per cubic metre in Mae Sai district and 136.5 microgrammes per cubic metre in the provincial seat.
The last meeting between the Northern Province authorities and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives also mentioned the use of artificial rains to solve the problem if the situation gets worse.
If you are concerned about air quality in Chiang Mai, I would suggest checking for updated information at www.AQMThai.com. Provided by Pollution Control Department, the website is in Thai and updates current haze situations in northern Thailand.