All posts by NewExpat

Loi Krathong

Experiencing Loi Krathong and Yi Peng in Chiang Mai for the first time was something to behold. While I am sure that pilots flying in and out of the Chiang Mai airport weren’t so keen on it, we sure enjoyed watching the progression of lanterns floating in the night sky in the days leading up the full moon. The night of Loi Krathong was a bit surreal. If I had to compare it to something in the United States, it was a bit like the 4th of July combined with the atmosphere of New Years Eve. We, along with thousands of other tourists and locals alike, spent the evening on the east side of the moat near Tha Phae Gate. If this area wasn’t the center piece to the whole event, I can’t imagine what was.

The east side gates of the moat
The east side gates of the moat

Paper Lanterns Fireworks and Lanterns

The sky was filled 360 degrees with lanterns.
The sky was filled 360 degrees with lanterns.
These could be purchased for 30 baht.
These could be purchased for 30 baht.

Considering how many floats and lanterns were let go, we were blown away at how quickly the streets and surrounding area were cleaned up the following day. What the area lacks in municipal services was sure made up for with a collective cleaning effort.

Moving Day

I think anyone would agree that moving is never fun. When we purchased our home in Washington, we sure thought that was our last move for a long time. My wife and I have collectively lived in nearly 30 different places and we “thought” we were prepared to stay put. As I shed the old programming, I’ve started to surrender to the notion that I / we may never be in any one place for very long…..and that’s ok. Sine we have scaled our lives (and more importantly our possessions) down to a minimum, I have to admit there is something very liberating about the mobility that our new life provides. No matter where we may live, our ‘HOME’ will always be wherever we are together.

We slaved for years to collect possessions....not anymore.
We slaved for years to collect possessions….not anymore.

Our 1st Visa Run

Hard to believe we’ve almost been here for 60 days already. Like most expats in the north of Thailand we headed to Chiang Rai for a few days of sight seeing and to cross into Myanmaar for a visa stamp. While we enjoyed Chiang Mai, we also wanted to look for other housing options as well.

We started out at a little hotel called Huanchandee that we found on airbnb. It was a small room,  the hosts were very nice but the bed was hard as a rock and there were no English channels on the TV. For less than $30 a night it was a good deal but after a couple sleepless nights we decided to change hotels.

For just under $2 USD we got a ride to the border about an hour away.
For just under $2 USD we got a ride to the border about an hour away.
The view from the dining area at The Legend in Chiang Rai. Beautiful hotel right on the river.
The view from the dining area at The Legend in Chiang Rai. Beautiful hotel right on the river.

Wat Phra That – Doi Suthep

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wat_Phra_That_Doi_Suthep

Unfortunately the skies were overcast the day we visited. Personally, I think the views of Chiang Mai below would be spectacular and, in my opinion, it would be worth waiting for a clear day. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is definitely a must see for anyone visiting the Northern Thailand area. I think just about every Songthaew in Chiang Mai has an advertisement for rides up Doi Suthep and you can probably get a ride much cheaper than what we paid but we had a Songthaew available at our discretion. I believe we paid 1,500 THB for the ride up to the temple (‘Wat’ in Thai) and an additional 300 THB to continue further up the mountain to the Royal Garden. (NOTE: If you are sensitive to curvy, mountainous roads, I’d suggest hiring a cab).

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Wat Phra That - Doi Suthep

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Wat Phra That - Doi Suthep 18.804896, 98.921696

Traffic in Thailand…

is unlike anything you can imagine. Most people get around by motorbike, or scooter to those of you in the west. There’s often 2 or 3 and as many as 4 people on a motorbike. Many times there is someone sitting sideways on the back (which I tried once in Bangkok). I’ve even seen people sleeping on the back of one. While I’m not surprised that Thailand is ranked 2nd in the world of “Worst Places to Drive”, it has a certain ” appeal” that I can’t quite describe, although we haven’t jumped that hurdle yet and are still getting around by Tuk Tuk or Songtail.