Life in Chaingmai, Thailand
Life in Chiangmai, Thailand!
We packed up our bags and moved across the globe to experience Life in Chiangmai, Thailand.
Aside from Seoul, South Korea and obviously our home country of Ireland, next on the list of our most visited countries is Thailand. So before we even stepped foot on Chiangmai soil we had a fondness for the thai culture, cuisine and climate. One could argue that this post is somewhat bias, and to a certain extent they would be right, but we tried to be as objective as possible to give a clear picture of the city, its culture and our initial first impressions of Chiangmai. On this particular trip, our journey started in Manila, Philippines which we must admit and you would know from reading one of our latest posts: Surviving 48 hours in Manila, that it was not one of our favourites. An overcrowded, congested metropolis that we were eager to escape. Therefore arriving in Chiangmai, Thailand’s northern capital, we immediately felt good vibes.
Arriving In Chiangmai
Chiangmai has its own charm and is blissfully calm and laid-back unlike bustling Bangkok. From the moment we arrived in the airport, departed the terminal and into a rot daang (red truck), to arriving in Nimmanhemin it took all of 20 minutes. We were impressed! After three days in transit, 24 hours spent in Kuala Lumpur airport, we were happy our arrival into the city was totally stress free.
We decided to grab some food before we begun the big search for our apartment which we intended to rent for our month’s stay in Chiangmai. We chose the first little cafe we could find that served food and coffee. It wasn’t hard to find, as you will soon discover the streets of Nimmanhemin are loaded with cute cafe’s, quirky eateries and an abundance of coffee shops to tickle your fancy. We defiantly made the right choice choosing “The Salad Concept”. Not only do they serve great coffee, delicious salads, amazing fruit salads and smoothies but it’s all made with local fresh produce, definitely the kind of food you want to start your day with if you want to still fit into that holiday bikini!
Fresh food from ‘The Salad Concept’
We always tried to eat well living in Seoul anyway but we decided from the very first day of our Nomad Life we wanted to eat healthy and workout as much as possible. With our wedding approaching this year and all that it was time to get in the best shape of our lives. (or at least wish)!!! For tips on how to keep in shape while traveling see our new post “A lazy guide to staying in shape while you Travel”.
Inevitably as food lovers our mission is always to work our way through the local food scene. We are true believers in filling up on street food for an authentic experience and keeping our costs down. Chiangmai did not disappoint. The local dish in Northern Thailand specifically Chiangmai is a dish called Khao Soi ~ consisting of egg noodles, a delicious curry based broth, crunchy greens and a slice of lime, both tasty and cheap. We sampled many other street dishes like noodle soups, tender stewed pork with sticky rice, sticky mango rice and many many more all just as mouth watering as the next for a fraction of the price that you would pay at home. It’s no surprise to anyone that Thailand is much cheaper than the west, it is still a developing country after all but when your daily meals mostly consist of street food you wouldn’t believe how far your budget can stretch. Most backpackers could testify to this!
If your not into street food don’t be put off, there are an array of great eateries dotted all around the city. Some of our favorites include: ‘The Salad Concept’, Rustic & Blue or SS 1254372 Cafe all situated in the Nimman area.
Acai Bowls @ Rustic & Blue / Eggs Benedicts @ SS1254377 Cafe
Finding An Apartment
Once we filled our tummies on the day we arrived, it was time to get down to work finding an apartment in a town we knew nothing about or no clue how to navigate. This was going to be a chore, or so we thought! But the staff at the salad concept kindly agreed to store our luggage and pointed us in the right direction of the nearest scooter rental shop so within 15 minutes we were geared up and ready to rock the roads of Chiangmai.
Navigating the city by Scooter!! Beep Beep!
It didn’t take long to find a great apartment that offered monthly rentals. We asked around a few places, stopped a few expats waiting in line at traffic lights and before we knew it our apartment was signed, sealed, delivered and we were the proud renters of GreenHill Place Serviced Apartments. Gym, Pool, and balcony on the top floor overlooking the mountain all for £260 per month, we were more than ecstatic. We could get used to this! So far so good for our experience and first impressions in Chiangmai.
By the Pool @ GreenHillPlace
Meeting The Locals
As most backpackers who frequent Thailand will know, it can get a little overcrowded with motorbikes, tuk tuks, touts and tourists. Some areas are run down, bedbug ridden and can feel a little more than unsafe at night time when walking alone. But we didn’t find this the case in Chiangmai. The locals are super friendly, never seem to hassle or try to rip you off and they’ll go out of their way to help you if you’re lost and need directions. We found ourselves very settled and at home within such a short period of time and this was largely due to the hospitality we felt by the local thai people. We were only in the city a week or so and we felt totally safe wandering the streets after dark, exploring the back alleys of the old city and generally navigating the roads by bike without the fear of being ran off the road. So for safety and friendliness Chiangmai certainly gets top marks from us and we would advise anyone who can’t handle to craziness of Bangkok to venture up into the mountains and head in the direction of Chiangmai for a blissful mountain retreat.
Things To Do In Chiangmai
There seems to be something for everything here regardless of your interests. Hiking, Biking, Eating, Cooking, Climbing, Zip-lining, History, Culture, Coffee, Shopping, Sightseeing, Lazy Pool Days, Spa Days, Markets, Nightlife, Adventure, Adrenaline…..need I go on? But seriously there is so much on offer, our month long vacation was slowly sounding too short and we were just about ready to sign on the dotted line for a new life forever in Chiangmai. But the Travel must continue….and so must this post!
As far as things to do there is no shortage. We have tried and will continue for the remainder of our trip to sample as much as possible in the short month we have. We got our hands dirty in an authentic Thai Cooking Class this week, cycled around the Old City soaking up the culture, got lost in the 5 mile long night markets that seem to be everywhere, every night and promise to impress the true shopaholics. Jan got twisted and turned trying to enjoy an authentic Thai Massage while I relaxed and enjoyed my foot and leg massage. We helped out at an Elephant Care Project which was amazing, and we trekked the jungle for 2 days sleeping with a tribe in bamboo huts, eating the local food and cooling at a beautiful waterfall. All of this and it’s only been two weeks!
So for all you backpackers, flashpackers, tourists and locals alike looking to escape the chaos of Bangkok and recharge your batteries with mouth watering food, leisurely strolls or adventure, Life in Chiangmai, Thailand sure aims to offer all and more.
November 17, 2016
April 14, 2016