After a 50 minute flight from Bangkok, we were ready to immerse ourselves in a cultural feast in Thailand’s northern city – Chiang Mai. Right at the airport, we were welcomed with such a laid-back vibe that is hard to explain – It was so laid back that I started thinking how awesome it would be to retire there. This place was very relaxing; it’s topography is very hilly, green, with winding roads and fresh air. It rains a lot too.
This city stood out for many reasons. It does not try too hard. Compared to Bangkok it is less chaotic and more sleepy. Compared to the south/Phuket and the islands, it has less tourists and is much more affordable. Most of the foreigners here are either retired or expats working in Thailand.
There’s something about understated and effortless style. Stylish women. Everywhere. On scooters. With perfect manicures. Wearing high heels. Wearing sandals. Going to work. Going out. Running errands. Picking kids from school. Looking fearless. Looking perfect. Think this. I was so in awe.
The people here are hospitable. They are warm. They genuinely care if you get home safe, which was a very different from my experience in London. As it is with most of the people from Thailand, everyone is supper friendly.; and they will let you know that you are beautiful. Its crazy, I never received so many ‘you are beautiful’ comments in 10 days.
People here love to eat out. The eat out options are also quite healthy! I remember I had my first Pad Thai and sticky mango rice here. Eating will be done at the night markets or at some of the beautiful restaurants by the river e.g The Good view.
Good food will almost always be accompanied by good music. A live band will always be playing. The live music culture here is quite rooted.
I had my first sticky mango rice, Pad Thai and most Thai beers in Chiang Mai. Though the street food options are less in comparison to Bangkok, the night markets offer an eclectic range of options
Part of what makes this place culturally rich is the strong presence of Buddhism. There are several temples and you will not miss seeing monks everywhere you turn.
I had a hard time leaving this place and my only wish is that I would have stayed longer. Well, I also wish I bought a chang beer t shirt and visited Laos and Myanmar while I was there but there is always a next time right?
Hope you enjoyed my post!