So, I’m a couple weeks behind on the blog (I’m actually in Udaipur, India at the moment with Aude) but don’t want to forget all of the memories from Thailand, so I’m going to continue to write about those as I attempt to catch up to the present. Here’s a bit more from our trip to Chiang Mai!
Chiang Mai Happenings
Our time in Chiang Mai was unique from all of my previous travels. The laid-back culture, friendly people, and delicious food made me feel extremely relaxed and in no hurry to really do anything aside from enjoy life. Opposed to bouncing around from place to place and attempting to jam in as many experiences and sights in as possible, we felt totally OK with simply staying in our own little soi (street) in Chiang Mai most of the time – and that was exactly what we did.
Despite few planned adventures, there were many distinct memories from the trip to Chiang Mai. I’m still trying to catch up on writing, so in no particular order or flow, I’m writing out a few memorable experiences from the trip.
As mentioned before, we found a perfect little guesthouse called Baan Jaja, and the place itself became one of the highlights of our trip. The rooms were clean, extremely cheap (~$5/day), had hot water, was very welcoming, and most importantly had a great common space to hang out and meet fellow travelers.
We met some really great people, and I’m always amazed at the stories and lifestyles I hear about when traveling. One of those interesting people we met was a fellow named Jonathon who we had met at the hostel.
Just 20 years old, Jonathon had already graduated college and was traveling in Thailand for a few months as he figured out his next moves. A fascinating fellow, he had just completed a 12-day silent meditation retreat, was a wood worker, and budding entrepreneur. He also was apparently a former gymnast of sorts.
We all hit it off quickly, and ended up hanging with Jonathon a good bit of our time in town. Jonathon had mentioned that he was able to do backflips, and Jason and I had both been meaning to learn from quite some time.
After a crazy night out, the next morning we decided it would be as good a time as ever to give it a shot. We grabbed some lunch, bought some more elephant pants, and then headed on over to the park.
Walking Meditation and Backflips
After some meandering, we finally made it over to the park. Having had some neck scares in the past while attempting backflips, Jason and I were both rather apprenehensive. To ease our minds, we decided it would be a good idea to meditate to calm our minds before we jumped in.
As Jonathon had just returned from a meditation retreat, he offered to guide us through the meditation session and taught us some new techniques. Since graduating college, I’ve begun meditating rather frequently, but this session was very unique. To start, we began with a 15 minute silent walking meditation, which I had never done before. The goal was to help you ground yourself and clear your mind before entering the sitting portion of the meditation. To do so, you would very slowly and intentionally lift your foot up, move it forward, and plant it in the ground so as to feel the earth underneath you and awaken your senses. Lift, move, plant.
It was a great way to calm the mind, and I felt a great sense of clarity and creativity throughout the walking portion. After 15 minutes, we sat down in the grass, and Jonathon guided us through the rest of the meditation.
More present and with clear minds, we began practicing roundolphs in preparation for our backflips. As we were practicing, this little Thai ninja frog of a man showed up out of nowhere, and began busting out backflips, treeflips, and pretty much every other type of flip you can imagine.
I wasn’t able to get over my mental block on moving backwards, but Jason was able to fully rotate on a couple, and I’m excited to continue learning once we’re back home. After a quick frisbee sesh, we decided to call it a day and headed back towards Baan Jaja.
Womp Womp Wallet
On the walk home, I stopped by a stall to grab some food, and as I looked in my bag for my wallet, and after some searching I couldn’t find it. Poured out everything in my bag and did it once more, and unfortunately, the wallet had disappeared. We circled back to the park, retraced our steps, and even stopped back at the store but the wallet was nowhere to be found.
It didn’t make any sense. I hadn’t taken the wallet out of my bag, we had been 5 ft away from our bags the whole time, and I had intentionally placed the bag in a way that would make it difficult to steal, and my camera was still in the bag too. The fact that I was totally sober and was unsure if it had simply been dropped/misplaced or stolen left a sour taste in my mouth, but se la vie. Fortunately, I didn’t have too much cash in the wallet, had separated a card and some cash, and was with Jason so though definitely a setback, it wasn’t the end of the world.
Wats are Cool
There were beautiful photos from around the world lining the guesthouse, and we later on found out that the guesthouse owner, Kitty, had been the one to take the photos. She was a very wise and caring person, and after years of traveling, she had decided that she wanted to create a place for travelers to come and call home while out on the road. Really wonderful and inspiring woman, and made me think that it could be fun to one day open a guesthouse myself.
Got some sweet new pants. Like many a thai woman, the girl in the middle fell in love with Jason.
Chiang Mai is fun. Went to a few awesome bars with people we met in the city and had a great time. Internet is super slow over here right now, so I’ll add some pics once I have better connection.
Food, Food, and more Food
Chiang Mai has the best food in the world (that I’ve experienced so far). Yep, it’s amazing.
Incredible flavors, tons of spice, cheap prices, and seemingly unlimited variety. Just on our street alone there were 4 or 5 restaurants that we could not get enough of.
There is a northern dish we tried called Khao Soy, and it has quite possibly been the best dish had since getting to the country.
Always separate your cards and keep some spare cash on hand – You never think about it until your wallet is gone, but without it you can be royally screwed for a couple nights. Always keep a backup card, as well as some cash to keep you afloat in case of emergency.
Roll with the punches – Even if shit hits the fan or something goes missing, don’t freak out and do not let it negatively impact your trip. It’s all just part of the adventure, and besides, life wouldn’t be nearly as exciting if everything always went according to plan.
Eat Khao Soy – Seriously, my taste buds had a minor foodgasm.
Say Hi – In my opinion, the people are the best part about traveling. Say hi, make some new friends, and say yes to new adventures.
Travel at your own pace – It’s your trip. Don’t do anything just because you feel like you should. If you want to simply laze around town and eat, go for it – but if you want to explore all day, that is totally awesome too. Just don’t feel like you should or should not do anything while traveling – it’s your trip.
There was so much to see, smell, eat, and experience in Chiang Mai that I’ve had a hard time trying to concisely write about it. Looking back, it was an unforgettable trip filled with wonderful people, delicious food, and elephant pants. It’s a charming city, and I cannot wait to get back. If you’re traveling to Thailand, it’s a must see.