I can see how people get stuck here.
I’ve barely been in Chiang Mai for a full week and I’m already plotting my return. Maybe it’s the loss of my Asian country virginity, but this jewel of Northern Thailand had a way of instantly drawing me in. It’s vibrant but peaceful, foreign but comforting, ancient but modern. And delicious.
After waking from my jet-lag daze mid-afternoon, I wandered through the quieter, greener backstreets trying to get my bearings. Starving, I finally sat on a plastic stool and a smiling woman brought me a leg of barbequed chicken and some sticky rice for less than a dollar. The perfect welcome – and this was just the start.
While here, I’m working remotely and staying at Hub53 – a coworking and coliving space in the heart of the Nimmanhaemin area. Chiang Mai is well known as a “digital nomad” hot spot and Hub53 offers a perfect little slice of that eclectic community. From those here for the long run, to those of us just passing through, it’s filled with people lucky enough to work through their computers and see the world while they do so.
The day after I arrived, fellow Squamish-ite Winston met me at the bus station. He was visiting his Thai family in Chiang Rai about 3 hours away and he vowed to show me how locals do some things, starting with my first songtaew ride and eventually leading to the Night Bazaar ladyboy cabaret show , much to Winston’s excitement. If you’re ever in Chiang Mai, go. Don’t question it, just go.
The days following have been a whirlwind of fabulous new people, exciting food, beautiful sites, and even productive work days. The locals are warm, proud, and welcoming (“The Land of Smiles” stands true). The foreigners are creative, fun, and adventurous.
Amazing temples, music, two cabarets, never-ending markets, a day at the Elephant Nature Park, yoga, and all the cheap delicious food my heart can hold are just the beginning. Soon the Loy Krathong festival will be starting and there is still a cooking class on the horizon. In Chiang Mai, who knows what another next week will bring.