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Synapticism

An experiential journal of synchronicity and connection
Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai เชียงใหม่ is the largest and most culturally significant city in northern Thailand.

Space Roller, Chiang Mai

Oblique view of the entrance to the Space Roller Club
An oblique view of the abandoned Space Roller arcade.

Space Roller is an abandoned rollerskating rink not far from the Arcade Bus Station on the northeastern outskirts of Chiang Mai, Thailand. I dropped in to check it out in January 2016 after reading about it online, possibly here, and was impressed with the scale of the place. It is big, taking up the better part of a city block, with several unfinished add-ons extending into the urban wilderness on either side. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of credible information about Space Roller in English so this post will consist primarily of photos of what I found in about half an hour of skulking around in the shadows.

White Lion House, Chiang Mai

Outside the White Lion House of Chiang Mai
Outside the White Lion House of Chiang Mai.

Last year I shared my exploration of the House of Success, an extravagant palatial ruin in the northwest corner of Chiang Mai immediately inside the old city walls. In that post I noted that there were two additional buildings of a similar style at the same site, one an active business and the other occupied by squatters. Returning this year for a second visit I was surprised to see that the squatters had left. Wasting no time, I strode into the Jangmuarinnakorn House, more generally known as the White Lion House, to document a previously missing piece of the puzzle.

Unreal Portal

Unreal window
Peering through an ornate window in a palatial abandonment in Chiang Mai’s old town.

Last year I explored the House of Success in Chiang Mai but wasn’t able to access the other abandoned building on site, the so-called White Lion House, for it was occupied by squatters. I am back for another visa run, this time with access to a scooter, so I made a point of returning to these palatial ruins in the northwest corner of the old town to see how they were doing. As luck would have it the squatters have left the building—so in I went, keen to gather material for a sequel to the original post.

This particular image immediately jumped out at me. Here you can see a pile of rubble through an ornate window on the ground floor. It looks unreal but I hardly modified the original at all. What a strange and beautiful sight in these extravagant ruins…

House of Success, Chiang Mai

An unusual sight in back alley Chiang Mai
On days like today I feel like these places find me, not the other way around.

Mere minutes after setting out from my hotel to explore Chiang Mai I stumbled upon a bizarre building in a mostly empty lot just inside the old city walls. I swear I don’t always go looking for abandoned places—sometimes they find me instead. And in this case I couldn’t very well say no, now could I? I walked up the stairs to take a closer look at this ostentatious ruin, the House of Success.

Postcards From Chiang Mai 1

Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai

I am just about to zip off to Chiang Mai for the second time and I realized—I still haven’t shared any photos from the first time I went! The reason for this is simple: I was sick every day I was there in early 2012. I made the mistake of visiting during burning season and could hardly breathe the entire time I was there. I didn’t even know what was going on at the time, a consequence of my inexperience with extreme air pollution and the lack of a cell phone (on which I would have certainly read about it in the news as I did after returning to Bangkok) a few days later. “National Haze Crisis Declared”, the headlines read. Just my luck!