8 Things We Will Miss About Living in Chiang Mai
For two people that sold everything in America nearly two years ago, we’ve certainly accumulated a lot of “stuff” here in Chiang Mai. We thought we’d spend our last weeks in Chiang Mai soaking up everything we love about our “second home” in the Land of Smiles, but instead we are running around like mad people trying to clean out the apartment and go through the process of selling our stuff…again. It’s definitely not as much as the first go round, but it does take time. And since we really want to give the laptops a rest while we are home, we are trying to get as much work done and posts scheduled for our sites so we can just enjoy our one month that we have at home with our families.
However, as our Chiang Mai chapter comes to a close, we are becoming more and more aware of the things we sometimes take for granted here. These are just a few of the many things we have grown to love about our home away from home and we know we will long for them after we are gone.
1. Khao Soi
The food…of course we will miss THE FOOD and not only because we can eat for $1 each. When I first came to Thailand, I was so skeptical about trying new dishes (being the picky eater that I am) but I have grown to love so many Thai dishes that I know I will be craving weeks from now. However, our favorite dish of all and the one that we will certainly miss the most is a savory bowl of khao soi (yellow curry noodle soup), a Chiang Mai specialty.
2. Co-Working Community
I think the cafe culture in Chiang Mai is one of the biggest draws for expats and digital nomads. We spend a large majority of our day in any given coffee shop in the Nimman area or our favorite, Coffee Monster, just down the road from our apartment sucking down lattes and pounding away at our keyboards. This has opened up the doors to so many opportunities for us, allowing us to network with other like-minded individuals working hard to create a location independent lifestyle. Not only has it contributed to the success of our online business, but its allowed us to make lifelong friends with individuals that have the same outlook and goals in life. It really is the ideal environment for any start-up online business.
The Thai’s sure love their holidays as it seems every week is some sort of holiday, and let me assure you, they know how to celebrate! Some of our fondest memories in Thailand were taking part in their famous (and somewhat touristic) festivals, such as the Ying Peng Lantern Festival and Songkran, as well as the more traditional local celebrations, like the Naga Fireball Festival.
4. Honda Forza Adventures
Although we’ve already said goodbye to our beloved Honda Forza, we will always have the fondest memories of her. She took us across Thailand multiple times from Khon Kaen to Chiang Mai, off-road in the northern parts of Thailand and even into Laos. We have so many memories from our adventures on the Forza that we will always remember whenever we think of Thailand.
5. $5 Massages
I don’t take advantage of these massages nearly enough. Mark my words…in just a short time I’m going to be in the US or traveling Europe and kicking myself saying “why didn’t I get more massages in Thailand when they were just $5?!?” When my friend Hannah was in Chiang Mai, she forced me to take advantage of them more and I was grateful. Since she left for Africa, I haven’t had a single one. But I’m vowing to go for at least 2 hours before I leave. Seriously, where else in the world can you get a massage for five dollars?!
Growing up in Florida right next to the Gulf of Mexico and some of the world’s best beaches at my finger tips, I dreamed of living in a mountain town. We all want what we can’t have, right? Moving to Chiang Mai, I got my wish. We moved into Mountain View Condos and had the most spectacular views of the mountains right from our balcony (when it wasn’t smoky season). I’m completely in love with the mountains surrounding Chiang Mai and I know that’s one of the biggest things I will miss about this city.
I think it goes without saying that one of the biggest things we will miss about living in Chiang Mai is the cost of living. That was one of the big draws for us in the first place. It allowed us to take a risk, break away from the corporate life, and build our online business while traveling. It allowed us to live a pretty good lifestyle on a fraction of the cost it would back home. In the US, we were always on a budget watching every penny we spent. In Thailand, we (almost) never have to say no. We can spend more freely and live a better quality of life. When we head back to the US this summer and then onto Europe, we know that it will be back to life on a budget!
8. The People
What can I say? We will forever be grateful for the kindness and hospitality we have received in this country. It’s overwhelming to think about and emotional to even write about. We will always have a special place in our heart for the Thai people that have shared their home with us. Your acts of kindness have never gone unnoticed. Thank you for bearing with us through our jumbled Thai words and phrases. We have learned so much from you in our time here and we will carry it with us forever.
Although this chapter in Chiang Mai is coming to an end, we know its only a matter of time before we come back. It’s like a magnet that just pulls you back in. We don’t know when, but we will see you again Chiang Mai.