Chiang Mai,Thailand-Why I Like You So Much

Chiang Mai apparently is the largest and mountainous city in the northern of Thailand.

The first time when I arrived at Chiang Mai, I fell in love with the place at the first sight. It is a city but the city not as crowded as Bangkok. It is energetic yet it can be quiet too. These are some of the reasons why I like here.

chiang mai city

It is not surprised why many expats and retirees chose to move and settle down here, because of the low-cost living yet you still could remain the good quality of life in Chiang Mai.

What to see and do in Chiang Mai?

Songthaew/ Red Pick Up Truck Taxi

In the total of 5 hours bus journey from Golden Triangle to Chiang Mai, the first transport I used was the local Songthaew where this is a  pickup and shared taxi/truck that commonly used in both Thailand and Laos.

Especially in Chiang Mai, Red Pick Up truck taxi is the shared taxi for the passengers who will travel roughly in the same direction. And of course, the price is cheaper.

sonthaewCredit

*You may read more about Songthaew on another blogger’s post, they explained it in details.

Me U2 Hostel

The Red taxi stopped me outside of my hostel and this is the place that I have stayed for two nights:

Book here

The hostel location is good where is accessible and convenient to many tourist spots within walking distance.

Chang Phuek market

Recommended by the owner of the hostel, the famous Sukiya at chang phuek market:

sukiya chiangmai

the food stall is just right in front of the Ford showroom. The business working hours starts from 6pm onwards.

Address: ฟอร์ด อเมริกัน มอเตอร์ส (เชียงใหม่) 234/19 ถ. มณีนพรัตน์ ต. ศรีภูมิ อ. เมือง, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Chiang mai sukiya food court

Morning Market

Visiting the morning market (next to the Ford showroom)  where you can find a lot of nice and fresh food there

food

Warorot Market/Kad Luang 

You can shop clothing, grocery items, foods & home goods etc. here.

Daily opening hours: 5am-11pm

Credit

Visiting Wat(s)/ Temples

There are many temples in Chiang Mai. Some of the temples are located in the city centre within walking distance.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

One of the most sacred temples where it is located on top of the mountain.

Entrance fee for the foreigner: 30 Baht per person

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

You could enjoy the peak view/ whole Chiang Mai view at the top of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Meet Up with friends

 

Food Hunting

The locals know the best! My local friends brought me to try out the famous Anchan noodles aka blue noodles:

Anchan which means Butterfly-pea flower, the color of the noodles and drinks were made by anchan. That’s why it is in blue color.

anchan noodles

Guu Fusion Roti & Tea

Many varieties of Roti here. We were greedy enough to order four plates for 3 persons. 😛

Guu Fusion Roti & Tea

Guu Fusion Roti & Tea

SUGOI BBQ

Dinner: Guess how much it costs?

SUGOI BBQ

It’s only 180 Baht for all- you- can- eat buffet!

Chiang Mai University

Do you know Chiang Mai University is also a tourist attraction?

chiang mai university

At Chiang Mai University lake -Ang Kaew reservoir

Maya Lifestyle Shopping Center

You can walk around and window shop at Maya shopping center area. The Think Park Chiang Mai is also nice to check out.

maya shopping center

chiang mai

chiang maichiang mai

Chiang Mai Brazilian Jutjitsu

If you want to practice BJJ while travel, there are many BJJ class in Chiang Mai.I went to Chiang Mai BJJ this time. Awesome people here 🙂

chiangmai bjj

chiangmai bjj

chiangmai bjj

chiangmai brazilian jujitsu

Local Night Pub in Chiang Mai

Tried out the new Thailand beer and exotic (crunchy) food here:

exotic foodUbeer thailand

I was in Chiang Mai only for 3 days 2 nights. I should have extended the stay longer.There are other many nice places in Chiang Mai such as the National Park, a trip to Pai and etc. etc. which I haven’t got a chance to visit.

In a nutshell, I like Chiang Mai very much.I will definitely  be back in one day soon.

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Golden Triangle, where the three countries meet

Golden Triangle 

According to Wikipedia:

“One of Asia’s two main opium-producing areas. It is an area of approximately 950,000 square kilometres (367,000 sq mi) that overlaps the mountains of three countries of Southeast Asia: Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.”

I only got to know about this place after joining the Workaway

It all started when I was trying and wish to stay longer in Luang Prabang, however it seems in Laos they did not need any volunteer like me. 🙁

I have texted many organizations in Laos, however, the response was slow and some even ignored me. Hence, I started to find the workaway in Northern Thailand instead. Surprisingly, many hosts responded to me just within a few hours! After confirmed with one of the hosts in Thailand, I just booked the slow boat from Laos to Thailand and to Chiang Rai.

 

I took a public bus from Chiang Rai heading to Chiang Saen (which is near to Golden Triangle). From there, I took a tuk tuk to Golden Triangle and met my Thailand host.

Everything seems went smoothly. I arrived at Golden Triangle and was greeted by the family and their two pets.

 

I managed to stay here for 2.5 weeks for homeschooling.The people here were so nice and friendly. All of them know each other and helping each other in the area. Most of them are doing travel businesses because Golden Triangle is well known for the tourist spot.

What to see here?

Below were the things I have done :

  • Golden Triangle viewpoint
  • Take a boat to Laos (just across the river)
  • Try out Mekong pizza – apparently, it’s famous here

  • Visit many temples
  • Enjoy Coconut drinks
  • Buy and Grab some Roti
  • Visit Old Opium Museum
  • Visit Hall of Opium Golden Triangle – this exceptional museum ranks as one of the best in the region. 

  • Every Tuesday night, there is a small night market
  • Visit the border of Myanmar – 500 Baht visa fee to enter into Myanmar

What else?

  • Play together with the kids

 

  • Eat together with the family
  • Exercise and cook together with my host

  • Ride a motorbike together with the kids

  • And the family took me to the church and temples visit
  • Got to know more local people
  • Walk around in Chiang Saen

I do miss the people over there even I have back from the trip. The people over there are living life simple and happy easy going. If there is any chance in the near future, I would definitely go back and visit them again. 

What’s good about workaway? >> Get to know more new friends

Met up with another volunteer who is currently based in Malaysia. He was the one who stayed at Golden Triangle for about 3-4months just to do homeschooling and teaching English to the local kids.

And one of my friends, she is currently at my previous host place for voluntary service now. Nice people are everywhere indeed. If you like kids and would love to play with them, please let me know. I will try to refer you to meet this nice family 🙂

It feels like I have another family in Thailand now. Looking forward to meeting all of them again!

Upcoming Post- Journey continues to Chiang Mai, Thailand

 

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Chiang Rai Thailand, My itinerary

This post is sharing my itinerary to ChiangRai, the north of Thailand (I went to visit 3 places here: Chiang Rai, Golden Triangle, and Chiang Mai)

Photo credit: here

The journey continues from the slow boat- Laos to North of Thailand  When I’ve arrived in the border of Thailand, it was already evening time and the sky was dark. I have to make a quick decision either to take the mini-van by myself and to meet my workaway host in Golden Triangle. The second was to follow the other travellers to Chiang Rai for one overnight.

After getting the advice from them, I followed the group to Chiang Rai instead (since the cost to go alone to Golden Triangle was rather expensive).

Photo credit: Here

CHIANG RAI

What have I seen there?

The minivan arrived around the late evening time and it stopped right next to the night bazaar. We were checking out and walk in randomly to any hostel.Eventually, we managed to find a nice and affordable hostel: Sabaijai Hostel which I liked it a lot (clean, spacious and having own privacy) :

The spacious dormitory room

Lovely breakfast and free herb teas!

Click here to book

CHIANG RAI NIGHT BAZAAR

It is rather easy to find the night market aka night bazaar. You can shop for food, souvenirs and the clothing item etc.

WHITE TEMPLE ~Wat Rong Khun

The next morning after we had our breakfast, five of us went to visit this beautiful temple.

It is a must see and to-do list in Chiang Rai. Wat Rong Khun was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, who known for his use of Buddhist imagery in his art.

The entrance fee is 50 Baht for foreigners and Thai citizens will still be able to access the contemporary temple for free.

During the time we went, it was crowded with people because it was a public holiday in Thailand.

White temple -crowded with people

I tried hard to get some nice pictures :

How to get to the white temple?

Just right next to the night bazaar, there is a bus station where you can take the public bus to the white temple which costs 20 Baht only. Below is the bus timetable to the temple:

After visiting the temple with the four gentlemen, it is the time to farewell with them and heading to Golden triangle to meet my localhost.

It was my pleasure to meet all of them and travelled together from Laos to Thailand. Wishing all the best to them and hope our paths cross again someday.

What else to see in Chiang Rai?

Black Temple a.k.a  Baan Dam Museum / Black House

It is near to White Temple, which takes about 30 minutes driving distance.

This is the major landmark in the city centre, where it also serves as a traffic roundabout.

It was designed by the same person, Chalermchai Kositpipat who created the city’s famous White temple.

You may sign up the one-day sightseeing package tour with the local travel agent (which will cover most of the tourist spots in Chiang Rai):

chiang rai tour package

Next post:  Chiang Saen, Golden Triangle Thailand where the 3 countries meet.

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Slow boat from Laos to Thailand

In my previous post, I have shared my Luang Prabang, Laos trip and today I will write something about the slow boat border crossing from Luang Prabang to the border of North Thailand, Huay Xai.

Image Credit: here

There are many ways to go from Laos to Thailand including taking the bus (which takes shorter time). However, you will miss many parts of Mekong river scenery view.

Where to get the slow boat ticket?

It is definitely not hard to book and purchase a ticket. In the downtown centre, there are many travel agents who can arrange the boat ticket for you.

There are two options:

a) You can either buy the boat ticket until Pak Beng (which is the small village allowing travellers like us to rest for one night after 8 hours journey). From there, you may decide to either continue to buy another ticket to continue the slow boat journey or taking a bus to Thailand in the next morning.

b) Book the full ticket to the border of North Thailand. You will still stopover one night at Pak Beng village and the ticket is valid for the next day morning journey to Huay Xai.

Suggestion: I will recommend and suggest to go with the second option as the boat journey is definitely better than a bus trip.

What to prepare before getting on to the boat?

Food is the key!  I have to emphasize that you must shop and buy a lot of food at Luang Prabang Night Market before your next early morning boat journey.

Buy some banana, tomatoes, canned meat, cakes, sandwiches, packaged drinks, Maggi noodles, bread, butter, milk, chips and snacks (whichever food can be stored and last for 8 hours)

Because for the next 8 hours, you will only stay on the boat and everything will be done on the boat.

You may buy some food (cup noodles) and coffee on the boat, and of course, the price is slightly more costly. Since that was my first experience, I only managed to grab two banana and chocolate cakes during my travel time.

And I had to buy a Maggi Cup Noodles on the boat, which cost me around USD2 for just a noodles cup. So guys, just remember to prepare and get ready before getting on the boat!

What to do on the slow boat?

There is neither Wifi nor data signal on the boat. So yeah! It is the best time to get rid of the outside for a while!

Rest &Relax 

You can choose to take a nap on the boat (even though there was no bed there, but the seat is good enough to rest and relax). In fact, I slept a lot on the boat because of the relaxing journey.

Eat: Yah! You tend to get hungry easily and eat a lot of food and snacks!

Chat with other travellers

There are many travellers who will travel together to the same destination. You get to meet and share different stories with people from different countries.

Glad to meet the four gentlemen (another gentleman was sleeping) and we got travelled together to Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Got the chance to try out the mate tea from Argentina.

Reading books

It is also another good option to read some books on the boat.

Movie time

If you can’t get rid of modern life, you may watch some downloaded movies.

Enjoy the Mekong River view

It was great to get to enjoy the scenic view along the whole journey. The boat stopped at certain points and you may greet the local with smiles! 🙂

PAK BENG

After a long half day journey, you will arrive at Pak Beng. This is a village which allows travellers to rest for a night before continuing the next morning journey.

Once you have arrived there, you will get to approach by the local for the accommodation. On average, the cheapest one room per night is around 100,000 which is around USD 12. You may share with another person for one room.

When you arrive there, it is about evening time. You get to clean up yourself and have some dinner at the restaurant in Pak Beng.

For the next morning, you may get to walk around at the village in the early morning. And get yourself ready to buy some food (sandwich and banana etc) and go on the boat again!

The journey will take another 8 hours, that’s where you will arrive at the border of Laos-Thailand. It is almost evening time again.

You can either take the tuk tuk to Huay Xai and stay for another night. Or straight taking the tuk tuk to arrive at the border and taking the minivan to Chiang Mai / Chiang Rai, Thailand

By the time, when you arrive at the border it is already evening time. Hence there was no more public bus. Instead, you have to carpool (minivan)with other travellers who want to go to the same destination.

It was indeed a long long journey, however, I did enjoy myself and my time for the slow boat journey. It gets to relax my mind and away from the modern city life a while.

Hope you will try this journey yourself on next time!

Tips: Remember to change all your Laos Kip at Laos or at the Thai-Laos border. It is hard to exchange Laos Kip to Thai Baht in Thailand. Almost none of the foreign exchange shop accepted Lao Kip.

Alternatively, you may just use Thai Baht currency in Laos because it is accepted in almost everywhere in Laos: click here for proof

For the next post, I will share about Chiang Rai, Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai trip in Thailand. Stay tuned!

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17 Things that every Solo Traveller can totally relate to

This is the post that I like it so much, it is absolutely related to all solo backpacker like us.

If you have ever done solo backpacking before, these are the things that you may be related to yourself:

All images credit to TripZilla:

I just carried the bag with valuable things into the toilet.

It is fun to ask the stranger to take photos for you. Some of the strangers took me nice pictures though.

That is why do not shy to talk with other travellers (who might be going to the same destination).

I enjoyed this part. Got to enjoy and observe the surroundings.

It is the best time to talk to yourself.

I will write it down and perhaps share with others later on.

I’m kinda enjoying it!

I don’t choose in the hotel alone unless it’s a business trip.

Hmmm…not necessary.

Sort of.

Indeed.

I control and do what I like.

Aha aha.

Indeed. Too many foreign friends now 😛

And forgive yourself.

Deeply.

Get to understand yourself  better. Forgive others. Improved EQ. Better life direction. More brave and confident. Be a better you and many many more!

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Luang Prabang, Laos Itinerary

Kanchanaburi Thailand Itinerary, close to Bangkok

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Luang Prabang, Laos Itinerary

Luang Prabang was the former capital of Laos. As described by Travelfish:

“The charming city of Luang Prabang, once the capital of Laos and still considered to be its spiritual heart, breathes a rich meld of French Indochinese architecture, Theravada Buddhist temples and a magical atmosphere.”

Image credit: here

I totally agreed with the above statement. A “magical kind atmosphere” is the key term to describe Luang Prabang.

This is the place where you could find peace of mind and stay calm.

The local people remains humble, laid back and enjoying their own way of lifestyle. This is how the Laotion works.

I fell in love with this country at the first sight.  The feeling is hard to describe but you have to go there once to feel it yourself.

When to go?

November to February – this is the best season to go because it is the cool and dry season. I went during the month of December, it was lovely and chill weather. I liked it very much.

March to May – Hot season, temperature might up to 40℃

June to October – Wet season,  good to do some water rafting /kayaking during this period of time.

What to see in Luang Prabang?

Kuang Si Waterfall

I would say this is one of the must-see waterfalls in whole South East Asia trip! The water is clear and the view was spectacular:

Tips and how to go: It requires transportation to arrive at the waterfalls destination.  If you need a public transport, my advice is that do not shy to ask the other travellers in hostel whether they would want to share a “Tuk-tuk” transport fee together.

It will cost cheaper if compare you book a tour from the travel agency at the shop lots.

Tak Bat – The monks’ morning Alms 

“In Luang Prabang, this tradition manifests as a morning ritual where monks silently line the streets while locals (and interested tourists) put gifts of food into the bowls carried by the monks.”

Every morning at 530am, the Buddhist Lao’s monks will start the ceremony of food collection in Luang Prabang.

The Korean monks waiting for the Lao’s monks.

Don’t be surprised to meet and see a lot of travellers (some tourists even came by bus or minivan) waiting in the centre of the town, and people start selling and buying the snacks/food on the street.

This came up to be one of the To-do and to see lists in Luang Prabang.

Mount Phousi for sunrise

After the alms session, you may choose to go and climb up to the mount Phousi which is in the centre of the town.

The height of the mountain is 150 meters by walking the staircase and it requires to pay an entrance fee to go up.

Image credit: here

I skipped this (because have to pay to see the sunrise) instead I went to the morning market:

Morning market

The food, vegetables and fruits look really fresh and clean. I liked their market.

Volunteer at Big Brother Mouse  & Big Sister Mouse

If you want to do something meaningful during the trip, you may visit Big Brother Mouse (at the centre) and Big Sister Mouse (at the countryside- transportation is provided to go).

These two places are the place where you could help the local people to practice their English. Some of the Lao’s monks also came to the place for practising English.

Big Brother Mouse Info

Big Sister Mouse Info

Lao Red Cross

They provide traditional Lao body massages, steams, reflexology and aromatherapy.

I went to try out the full body massage, it was nice and the price is slightly cheaper than other places.

All the donations will go directly to improve the lives of the poorest villages in Laos.

Handicraft Night Market

You would not want to miss the night market. You can everything here. Food, fruits drink, silk scarves, t-shirt, bags, shoes, local clothing over here.

Do not miss out the vegetarian buffet at the night market. You may take as much food as possible in one bowl which costs around USD2 per bowl.

Yoga at Utophia

“Utopia’s zen-like garden restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy morning yoga, eat a healthy breakfast, and relax during the day. At night, Utopia becomes Luang Prabang’s most popular night venue… EVERY night!

Utopia’s attractions: yoga, tiki huts, beach volleyball, great menu, relaxing atmosphere, river view garden, great music, and community projects.”

 Photo credit: here

Where to stay?

Yaya Guest House aka Savanna Restaurant & hostel 

I stayed here for four days three nights. The location is great and the owner of the hostel was so friendly and helpful. Of course, the price for the hostel is cheap which breakfast included.

Reviews from the other guests:

” Nice staff, free breakfast, good location, easy to find, clean”

As a lone female traveller, I felt safe, welcome and very happy with all hostel facilities. Very affordable and staff very sweet! Would definitely recommend!!

The owner was really helpful and flexible. He allowed me to check-in earlier and take care of my luggage while I was out.”

You can book the stay via booking.com 

There are many many things to check out in Luang Prabang: Wat(s) , museum, national library, events, festivals etc.

And you could plan your trip to the countryside which is near to LuangPrabang. I heard Nong Khiaw is really worth to check out but I did not manage to go this time.

As usual, it gives a reason to come back to this country.

Next post, I will be talking about how to go from Luang Prabang to North of Thailand which is one of my favourite journey during the whole Southeast Asia trip. I will share with you more on next time!

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