Whenever I think of Thailand I daydream of sunshine, blue sky, amazing landscapes and breathtaking beaches. With that in mind, I was finally ready for my 5 days journey to Chiang Mai. The city offers a relaxed environment where people can enjoy wonderful cuisine together with challenging bargaining if you fancy a bit of street shopping. With temples, night markets and great food being the main attractions, I knew that was way too peaceful for myself. I needed to discover something unique to the place, so I started looking for the hidden gem.
It didn’t take too long time, though.
I was strolling along the road coasting the Sunday Market when a shop on a quiet lane caught my attention. A bunch of books parked outside were enough to tease me. I stepped closer. A plain black board on top was reading: Shaman Bookshop.
Intriguing name, I thought.
I decided to give it a try. When my foot touched the dusty floor I was already enchanted: hundreds of books were filling every corner of the bookshop. Old wood shelves were full with staggering piles of novels, textbooks, manuals and several other types of publications. Some looking fairly new while others were already seeing the unkindness of time, with their pages turning dark brown. Only God knows how many years they have been lying in there, waiting for a curious hand to pick them up. My hand.
Soon enough I found what I was longing for: in front of me a wide shelf was showing me an invaluable source of inspiration for my movie scripts. Books about tarots, witchcraft, UFO, aliens, any sort of mystery and occult, urban legends, mythology and all you can imagine was just standing right there.
I climbed to the second floor. Along the stairs the section about crime seemed to perfectly match with the location. Creepy faces of serial killers were staring at me from the book covers as I was progressing step by step. Are they trying to warn me? Shall I stop here? I was pondering.
Before heading upstairs I noticed a note on blue paper stating that book worms should straightly head to the upper floor. I understood why when I finally reached the second floor threshold: the room was crazily packed with books. Science fiction novels, tomes in German, French and even Nordic languages were just a part of that incredible tide of paperbacks.
I was climbing down when a voice suddenly froze me.
Anything I could do for you? Someone asked.
It was the man I barely noticed when I entered the shop, as tricked I was by the magic of all those books. He was sitting behind his desk facing a laptop. A middle aged man with grizzled messy hair and long beard. He stared at me from his round glasses, drawing a sly smile. When I looked back at him I realized there was no better name than the shaman bookshop. He was the core of the whole place, like a shaman guarding the world of good and evil spirits. He was the one granting the access to such an immense amount of knowledge.
I talked to him a bit and learned he was a Greek Italian living in Thailand for quite a while now. Then I mentioned about my life in China and I was surprises by how much stuff he knew.
I paid my books, reluctant to leave. When I stepped out I turned back, knowing for sure I missed to discover more amazing titles.
If you ever pass by Chiang Mai pay a visit to the Shaman Bookshop, you won’t regret it. It’s a place where you can easily spend an afternoon and lose yourself. At the pact you can cope with the very basic cataloguing.
And don’t forget the shaman (the owner of the store): he is a funny guy to talk with.
Address: Kotchasarn Rd – Soi Kotchasarn Lane 1, Chang Klan, Muang, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand