25 Jun Chilling in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is our favourite place in Thailand. Over the last two years we’ve visited the city with friends and family, we’ve rented an apartment here for a month, celebrated Songkran and volunteered at the nearby Elephant Nature Park. Some of the happiest memories of our time in Asia took place right here in this leafy city nestled in the northern-Thai countryside.
Since we’ve spent a fair bit of time in Chiang Mai we know exactly where to stay and we have a list of favourite restaurants. The streets are semi-familiar to us and we don’t feel the pressure to go out sightseeing or temple hopping every day. Instead, our main goal for this trip has been to chill out and enjoy our favourite Thai city one last time before we leave Asia indefinitely.
Chilling Out in Chiang Mai
So, what have we been doing here? Not a lot, really. We’ve just been enjoying some simple pleasures; eating at our favourite restaurants, getting massages, shopping at the night markets and exploring a few temples. One afternoon we walked down to a park we’d never visited before and spent a quiet hour getting a massage, strolling around and watching people play badminton.
We’ve also been eating a lot of delicious and (mostly) healthy food. There are literally thousands of restaurants here and we’ve been busy revisiting our favourites and checking out new, highly-rated ones. We’ve gorged on fruit shakes, muesli and yoghurt, pizza, veggie meals, pub favourites and night market goodies – I have a whole post coming dedicated to our favourite places to eat in Chiang Mai.
To counter some of those less healthy treats we’ve been swimming almost daily. We discovered a huge rooftop pool at the Lotus Cat Suan Keao Hotel which is usually pretty empty; for just £2 you get an all-day pass, including towels and sunbeds. In between swimming lengths we catch up on reading, something we didn’t have so much time for with our hectic teaching schedules in Hanoi.
Countdown to Leaving Asia
There’s a big ex-pat community in Chiang Mai and plenty of language schools, which makes me wonder what living and teaching here would be like. I can imagine eating regularly at our favourite restaurants, grabbing fruit shakes and treats from the bakery, heading to the night market on Sundays, swimming at the pool, browsing the second-hand bookshops and taking weekend trips into the mountains. As tempting as this life sounds, I know it’s time to move on and leave this part of the world.
In just a few days we will board a plane back to the UK. I can hardly believe that this time next week we’ll be back in England and this leg of our journey will be officially over. After spending the last two years travelling and living in Asia it will feel strange to finally leave, especially since we have no idea when we will return to this continent. Instead, our journey will take a drastic turn and I’m sure that we’ll have a completely different experience travelling in the U.S and Europe than we have done in Asia. For now though, we will relish these final few days in one of our favourite Asian cities.