From Singapore, I’d fly to Chiang Mai in North Thailand and settle there until I would find work. Through word of mouth, I was told about a local neighborhood about 2.5 miles south of the city center not far from the airport. It proved to be a great choice after the first few days. I found myself feeling more and more content while adapting to the slower pace of life here in Buddhist country. How much time would I be fortunate enough to spend here?
Easy access to food from both local restaurants and street food vendors offering breakfast, lunch and dinner was a pleasure to make my inner fat man happy. Where else could you get BBQ (or fried) chicken (and other pieces of meat) at 8:00 in the morning?!
A routine quickly formed of applying for jobs in the mornings, taking Thai language lessons, exercising at a nearby gym, lunch, then explore the city and surrounding areas for the later afternoons and evenings. On the weekends I’d up the exploration and take a break from searching and applying for jobs, language lessons and exercise.
Id recommend renting a scooter (beware of road blocks from the police stopping those without an international drivers license to collect money) and exploring not only the city in and around the moat, but also the surrounding areas. If your a foodie, CM is food heaven as you will have many options of local and also international cuisines. There are so many markets scattered around the city. Some big, others small. Some only at night and others only during the day. You can do your due diligence a find which ones you’d like to check out for local snacks and/or to purchase ingredients, clothes, souvenirs and other goodies. My favorite market is Kom Market since it is fairly small with many locals and offers an array of cooked and uncooked food to purchase. Its not big in comparison to others and operates usually in the afternoon and early evening. Knowing how to say at least your numbers in Thai will be beneficial here.
After about 1 month, I received an opportunity and interview to teach English at a private school in Nanning, Guangxi Province in south China. Leaving myself open to whatever would present itself felt like a good way to travel, so I went with the flow and made plans to venture into China for a new experience shortly after receiving the offer.
The people, food, general relaxed and slow paced lifestyle of this Northern Thailand gem of a city had impressed upon me a feeling of wanting more. There is so much I could write about my experience in CM in this post (and will add a later post….since I did come back) but will keep it short. I felt like I could live there and join the many ex-pats who already call this wonderful place home. However, since rice field burning season was going full force, (March/April) my lungs would be appreciating a much needed change of air quality. But wait, weren’t many big city’s in China dealing with their own set of challenges in air quality? I couldn’t help but wonder; what would I be getting my self into? cough cough