We did it. We made it to Chiang Mai in one piece and with our sanity in tact. This beautiful city in the northern region of Thailand is truly one of a kind. Honestly, this city has the most incredible vibes and some of the kindest people I have ever met. Walking down each street brings a different experience and there isn’t one restaurant that we’ve tried that hasn’t been knock me off my ass delicious. Same goes for the coffee. I haven’t always been the biggest coffee drinker. Red Bulls have always been my go to but I’ve gotten into drinking coffee daily here because the taste is all I could have asked for and more. They grind the coffee beans right there in front of you and add those intricate little flourishes with the cream on top. Oh, and did I mention that the price of living here is insanely cheap? Because it is. My cafe latte that I have every morning is 6o Baht. Which is $1.72 for us US citizens. Our meals usually come out to a whopping 181 Baht – $5.16 US dollars. That’s including our two meals and a drink each. Try finding that in the US without eating off the dollar menu at your local fast food joint. My favorite meal, well actually dessert, has been the mango sticky rice! The mangoes here literally melt in your mouth and the sticky rice is soaked in coconut milk. If you are here and want to try it, your taste buds will seriously thank you. The Khao Soi, the meal that Chiang Mai is known for, is just as delicious. Try it. It’s a must as well!
I am really really glad that I did bring my Hyrdo Flask though. You can’t drink the tap water here in Thailand, like in most of Asia, so bringing an insulated water bottle is a must. I fill up my Hydro Flask with water from the liter wattle bottles that we keep in our apartment fridge and I’m on my way to the co-working space.I don’t have to worry about keeping it in the fridge while I’m working or worry that while we are exploring the city, my water is getting warm in my bag. I have left water in my Hydro Flask all day while we are hiking and it is still ice cold by the end of our day. This is always a nice surprise. Mine also holds a lot more water, 40 ounces to be exact, than most water bottles and is super easy to carry with me. My husband and I both use a carabiner to hook in to our day packs. Sometimes, I will even carry in my hand because it has a super functional handle. Dear, Hydro Flask, I love you.
I also found out that I didn’t actually have to pack as much as I did. Worrying that they wouldn’t have my favorite deodorant, mascara, or even clothing, I entirely over packed. Their 711’s carry all my essentials and they have the cutest little clothing boutiques on every street. Don’t worry, their prices are just as inexpensive as buying food here is. The clothing isn’t lacking in quality either. Basically, I never ever want to leave! Inexpensive food, clothing and essentially everything I could ask for? I probably will throw a massive two year old tantrum before I step foot into the airport.
Slowly but surely, we have been trying to pick up the small phrases and gestures that are used the most. So far, thank you, hello, I’m sorry, and no thank you, are our main ones that we need to focus on. Most of the Thai people seem to speak English very well so that has helped us in quite a few situations.
I didn’t bring any of my books, everyone gasp all together now, I know. This was huge for me. I never leave my books but I knew that lugging a 200 pound backpack full of my books wasn’t an option. So we invested in a Kindle. I never ever expected to be converted to e-readers so quickly but I freaking love my Kindle. Don’t get me wrong, I am still on the paper book game but this has really been a life saver while traveling. However, we have been to quite a few sweet little bookstores here in Chiang Mai so my love for actual books can still live on.
You should remember a rain jacket if you are planning on coming to Chiang Mai during the rainy season or at all really. Like most tropical islands, rain storms can happen out of nowhere. A rain jacket and an umbrella with really come in handy! I love my North Face Venture Jacket. If you are looking for one, this jacket happens to be one that I would buy time and time again. Our first day here, it rained until around 3pm and the streets straight up flooded. The water came up to about mid-calf on some parts of the road but apartment hunting that day was a must and so we trudged on. Honestly, it was a really entertaining experience and I wouldn’t take it back for an easy breezy sunny day.
Chase and I have only been living here for about five days now and we still have so much that we have yet to learn about this amazing city and their culture but it’s all going to be one day at a time! With every new experience we have, I will be writing it down and sharing it here.