5 Things I’ll miss about Chiang Mai Life

As we move into our final six weeks of Chiang Mai life, I’m trying to make the most of this city and the life we’ve built here. After failing to set down roots in Spain last year, being able to so easily slip into this lifestyle has been a huge relief. This city has given us exactly what we needed: the ability to live comfortably while focusing on our goal of building a sustainable freelance income. With that in mind, here are five of the things I’ll miss the most about our Chiang Mai life when we leave at the end of April.

Sunset view from 'my home office' in Chiang Mai

Sunset view from our apartment

Our Chiang Mai life perks

We have an incredible lifestyle here in Chiang Mai. We have a luxurious apartment where we enjoy the space to work, cook and spend evenings relaxing on the sofa with a cup of tea. I love the fact that there’s a pool downstairs and cheap vegetarian restaurants, yoga studios, spas, a cinema, co-working space and night markets within walking distance of our apartment. This amazing lifestyle comes at such a low cost too; we could never afford this quality of life in the UK.

Banana Pancakes from Angel's Secrets cafe in Chiang Mai, Thailand

The best banana pancakes in Chiang Mai!

Meeting people

Hanging out with the Norman family in Chiang Mai

Dinner with the Normans Running Wild

Chiang Mai is one of Southeast Asia’s biggest travel magnets. At some point, it feels like every traveller ends up here and many, like us, are pulled back time after time. As such, we’ve met so many interesting people during our time in Chiang Mai, from bloggers and remote workers to family travellers, backpackers and retirees. We’ve had the pleasure of making new friends and even meeting people who got in touch with us through reading this humble little blog. We will miss the easy connectivity and community here in Chiang Mai, a city where it’s hard to ever feel lonely.

Darren and Shelley at the Ping Fai Festival in Chiang Mai

Our friends Darren and Shelley from Finding Beyond at the Ping Fai Festival

Trips to the Mountains

Lun Yai viewpoint in Pai Thailand, with wild flowers

Mountain peaks fill our window panes and stretch tantalising off into the horizon. It’s so easy for us to rent a car and disappear among those peaks, up spiralling roads to villages and tea plantations, the trail laced by strawberry stalls and lush green forest. While driving the Mae Hong Son Loop, we met Thai tourists and policemen who wanted selfies with us and discovered bamboo bridges, canyons and the ‘Switzerland of northern Thailand’. Some of my best memories from the last seven months are of exploring tea plantations and watching the early-morning mist rise off the mountains in the tiny, Chinese-influenced village of Mae Salong.

Photo with Thai Tourists

Thai selfie-seekers on the Mae Hong Son Loop

The peaceful culture

No country is perfect but to me, Thailand feels like such a tolerant, welcoming place. I love the peaceful Buddhist influence in Chiang Mai, the monks and ornate temples, the smell of incense and the notes of the King’s Song floating through our windows every morning and afternoon. Although Chiang Mai is filled with tourists and people from all over the world who’ve chosen to make this city their home, I never feel any animosity towards us being here. Overwhelmingly, Thai people treat us politely and with respect. When I think of the negative attitude some people in the UK have towards migrants, I feel even luckier that Thai people accept our presence here so readily.

The Silver Temple, Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai’s Silver Temple

Fantastic festivals

After the Thai king sadly died in October, it was touch-and-go as to whether we’d get to celebrate Loy Krathong and Yi Peng, two of the city’s most famous festivals. I’m so glad we did. Despite a bit of lantern-related terror, we felt privileged to witness temples decorated with thousands of paper lanterns and filled with chanting, orange-robed monks. We released a Krathong down the river and watched as thousands of white lanterns ascended into the night sky. Next month, we will also get to celebrate our second Songkran, the Thai New Year festival, where the streets will transform into a chaos of water fights, religious parades and parties.

Monk taking photos of a lantern display at Wat Phan Tao during Yi Peng, Chiang Mai

The Yi Peng festival

As time continues to slip through our fingers, we’re battling finish work projects, refill our savings and plan our upcoming adventures in Nepal and Sri Lanka. However, we’re also trying to appreciate our Chiang Mai life as much as possible because I have no doubt that we’ll miss it sorely when we move on to the next chapter of our adventure.

 

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13 thoughts on “5 Things I’ll miss about Chiang Mai Life

  1. You have summed up Chiang Mai so well. It really is a great place to live and work and meet wonderful people 😀 The quality of living for the price is amazing, which makes it so easy to stay and really hard to leave. You have got such great things to look forward to though. Do you think you will go back?
    Finding Beyond recently posted..Why We Love Georgetown Old Town in PenangMy Profile

    • Hi guys, that’s true, we are looking forward to our upcoming adventures. It will be a bittersweet goodbye but I’m sure we’ll be back one day 🙂

  2. Sounds just perfect and we look forward to the day when we can make CM our home for a while.
    Meantime we too are planning a trip to Nepal for later this year so we will be following your posts avidly. After Nepal, India beckons 😉
    Safe travels.

    • Wow, sounds like you have some epic travel plans ahead! We’ll try and write up as much useful info about our Nepal trip as we can. I can’t quite believe how quickly the trip is coming around, we’ve got so much to plan!

    • Wow, sounds like exciting things are happening for you Gilda, I’m eager to hear more! I can’t imagine the stress and sadness involved with selling a family home but I’m sure you won’t regret it once you start on your new path 🙂

  3. Great article! I can imagine leaving Chiang Mai can be difficult.
    I spend two weeks in Chiang Mai in 2015 and two weeks in 2016 and really liked this city.
    Although I only spend two weeks there, I agree with what you wrote under ‘The peaceful culture’…..the people in Chiang Mai were really friendly.
    x
    stephanie recently posted..Travel guide: Koh Phi Phi Don, ThailandMy Profile

    • Hi Stephanie, we will really miss the peaceful life here in Chiang Mai, no doubt we will return again one day though!

  4. I am so happy that life in Chiang Mai is going well for you.My son Michael should have visit this amazing place.I am surwe he will next time.Keep all those wonderful travel blogs comming

    • Thanks so much Louisa, yes, it’s a shame Michael didn’t visit. Next time!

  5. ‘Sounds like you have had a wonderful time in Chiang Mai Amy! And it is rather a wonderful place. Quiet, serene, lots of Thai culture, safe, cheap, plenty of expats to hang out with, friendly local people, great food, and as much sushi as one wants!

    We did a Qatar-Thailand-Bail-Qatar-Korea trip a few years ago, and even though our teen son was 11 years old at the time, he declared that he would like to visit Thailand on his GAP year! He’s 15 today (Gulp!), and that time is no longer so far away. I’d better start saving for that around-the-world ticket!
    Victoria @The British Berliner recently posted..How to visit Austria: Introducing Vienna – the most civilised city. Ever!My Profile

    • Hi Victoria, yes! Thailand is such a great GAP year destination, I’m sure he’ll have an amazing time! He certainly is growing up fast 🙂 I hope we find another haunt like Chiang Mai in Europe this autumn/winter 🙂

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