TheLoneRider
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Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai's Amazing Peoplescape Apr 9-23, 2016

Chiang Mai's Amazing Peoplescape

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

If I were to state the highlight of Chiang Mai, it would be the kaleidoscope of people that went in and out of my orbit like people in a revolving door. Some were passing blurs while others left me inspired. It would range from a fleeting Hi and Hello with a few drinks to one of hanging with for a couple of days with a lingering feeling of connection. As travelers, these friendships had a limited shelf life, usually from a few hours to a few days...and the cycle repeats itself.

Chiang Mai's Amazing Peoplescape

Mikey ChongMike Singapore
One guy that impressed me the most in Chiang Mai is Mike. He's only 40 years old and he already owns a string of businesses - hotels, cafe, massage parlour, travel and tours, and looking to expand even more. No, his being rich is not what impressed me. He has no air about himself. He's like the guy next door you want to have beer with. He knows what he wants and makes quick decisions without being bogged down on trivial details. He's not the kind to nickel-and-dime you. He's a perfectionist and understates what he offers. You just get blown away because you get more than what you expect. With his obsession to have consistency with his coffee, he purchased the top-of-the-line fully programmable Victoria Arduino VA388 Black Eagle espresso coffee maker - the most expensive in all of Chiang Mai (according to him - and he wasn't bragging...it's not like him). I looked it up, it's about $26,000. Who would spend that kind of money just to get a good cup of coffee? He very seldom makes mistakes. In my 4-day stay in his hotel, I was impressed. The only flaw I saw was a slow drain in the shower. He was quick to fix it. In fact, he lavishes you. He kills you with kindness and generosity to a point where the only reciprocity is to go the whole 9 yards with your very best with what you have to deliver. I resonate with such people. Before I left, I told him I don't want his money but I'll give him carpet coverage on all his enterprise...my way of saying 'Thank You' in my own currency.

SamanthaSamantha
Increasingly, I see more and more intrepid lone lady Chinese travelers - beautiful ones at that! I met Samantha in one of the temples, had an extended conversation with her at a cafe and later rode her bike with her in tandem as we searched for the best Khao Soi dish around town in the middle of the night. It was spontaneous adventure. She brought me back to my hotel and I never saw her again. All that happened within a few hours - short but memorable. As travelers, you live in a world of impermanence as detachment is forced upon you.

Eva Popoluska Dora GutaiEva and Dora
2 beautiful Hungarian ladies I met while enjoying a local dish in the market eatery. We spent a few times together having breakfast at my Nawa Sheeva Hotel, taking a dip in its salt-water pool, an exploration of Warorot Market and discovering Thamel Coffee in the area. I'm sure our paths will cross again.

HelenaHelena
Helena and I go back to the monastic retreat at Thai Plum Village in Pak Chong. We hung out and did yoga there together with an Austrian traveler, Sabrina. It was great seeing her again in Chiang Mai. We spent time over coffee, at the pool in Nawa Sheeva and enjoyed extended talks.

MalinaMalina
Malina and I met while enjoying our fruit shakes during Songkran, and braved getting wet during the festivities. We had sporadic coffee conversations in the days that came by. We even met at the bus station where she headed out for Laos, while I went ahead with my Tachileik border crossing.

Ana KostakosAna
Ana is perhaps the friendliest I met. A wonderful Greek lady now residing in Australia, she was my neighbor in Chiang Mai before I moved to Nawa Sheeva Hotel. We would share breakfast coffee talks and enjoy city walks over beer and eats. She was a kindred soul. Safe travels Ana!

TonTon
Ton, from the way I saw things, was the overall manager of Nawa Sheeva and Nawa Saraan. He was on the ball who went the distance for me. When I would casually tell him something, he would be quick to suggest something better. If he is not sure, he would even make the trip to ascertain the information and come back to me with a map. He was prompt and alert. When I left the hotel, he even had a to-go sandwich for me. What a guy! I wish we had a picture together.

Pareena ArsirawajanaPareena
Like Helena, I met Pareena in the retreat at Thai Plum Village. She resides in Chiang Mai so we met up for coffee at Thamel Coffee in Warorot Market. It was a relaxed and leisurely conversation that took us back to Plum Village and to the prospects of tomorrow. Too bad that meeting wasn't followed-up. Next time perhaps.

Uyen NhiNhi
I'd been crossing paths with Nhi since I met her in Kho Rong (Cambodia). We met again in Ho Chi Minh City and enjoyed a night meal with Phung, a common Vietnamese friend. Now we meet again in Chiang Mai. Always good to be catching up with her.

JinJin
We met inside a minivan in Siem Reap en route to Chiang Mai. I thought that was it. Then we bumped into each other during Songkran...then accidentally met again on several occasions, up until she was boarding the red taxi for Bangkok. It was uncanny how we would keep bumping into each other. I'm sure I'll be surprised again.

Ending Thoughts
This is the first of many chapters to come!

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider



Reader Comments:

Eva PopoluskaEva Popoluska
(April 24, 2016) It was a pleasure to meet you Gigit! Enjoy Myanmar

Honey GoodeHoney Goode
(April 25, 2016) there's a great digital nomad meet up there Git, I recommend it. I love CM

Ana KostakosAna Kostakos
(April 25, 2016) Safe travels Gigit.

Camille VenturinaCamille Venturina
(April 24, 2016) Read your blog Gigit and just a happy surprise to see Tui Pavinee Khemphet n your photo, cheers! I'm jealous of you both. Wish I were in Thailand now haha

Erica BoucherErica USA
(April 24, 2016) This is great, Gigit. I miss you so much! Your light is palpable even in your writing, just as it was the very moment I met you. I just KNOW our paths are going to cross again soon, my dear friend.

Ayn LatonioAyn Latonio
(April 24, 2016) Chiang mai always seems to work its magic

Chiang Mai Peoplescape blogs

  1. The Conscious Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Aug 31, 2019
  2. Kaleidoscope of Chiang Mai's Peoplescape July 27, 2019
  3. The Outsiders (people you need to push out of your sacred circle) May 31, 2019
  4. Fascinating Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 22, 2019
  5. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24 - Mar 13, 2019
  6. Chiang Mai's Amazing Peoplescape Apr 9-23, 2016

Next story: A First Timer in Chiang Mai


Google Map

Chiang Mai, Thailand

important places in Chiang Mai IMPORTANT PLACES
Chiang Mai Bus Station Bus Station
Chiang Mai Train Station Train Station
Chiang Mai airport Chiang Mai International Airport
Nong Buak Hard Park Nong Buak Hard Park - free yoga classes daily

hotels in Chiang Mai HOTEL
Chiang Mai Arun Dara Villa Arun Dara Villa - 7 exclusive rooms, 1 swimming pool for every room, grand opening
Chiang Mai Nawa Sheeva Hotel Nawa Sheeva Hotel - big rooms, high ceiling, salt-water pool, restaurant, cafe
Chiang Mai Nawa Saraan Hotel Nawa Saraan Hotel - low density (4 spacious rooms), stone garden setting, Koi fish pond, Old City location
Arun Suite, Chiang Mai Arun Suite - 3 bedrooms in a 3-storie guesthouse within Old City, ideal for families

birds nest restaurants in Chiang Mai RESTAURANT
La Pizza Chiang Mai La Pizza Chiang Mai - Italian pizza, pasta, wine, dessert, coffee
Chiang Mai birds nest restaurant Natural Bird Nest by Burapa - authentic bird's nest soup

Thai massage in Chiang Mai WELLNESS
ITM  International Training Massage School ITM - International Training Massage School - Chiang Mai's most prestigious massage school
Float Chiang Mai Float Chiang Mai - sensory deprivation float pod
Chiang Mai, Royal Thai Lanna Massage Zira Spa - upscale authentic Thai massage and spa treatment

motorcycle rental in Chiang Mai MOTORBIKE RENTAL
Chiang Mai birds nest motorcycle Tawan Bike - motorcycle rental | +66 91 635 2863 | Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200



USEFUL INFORMATION

Chiang Mai FYI / Tips
  • crop-burning season in Chiang Mai is between late Feb to early April. But laws change everytime. This year, 2019, there is a 61-day ban on burning so the farmers started burning early. When my plane was approaching Chiang Mai on Jan 24, 2019, there was already a thick blanket of smog covering the entire city (and beyond). But within the city itself, you won't feel it (but that doesn't mean the air is healthy). To monitor air conditions in real time, refer to site: Chiang Mai Air Pollution: Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI)
  • hot season begins March and lasts until June
  • wet season begins July and lasts until September
  • best time to visit Chiang Mai is mid-September to mid-February - after the monsoon and before the burning
  • you have to try Khao Soi, this is north Thailand's culinary staple
  • the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is located in the Old City
  • to exchange your dollars to Thai Baht, the Super Rich Money Exchange give the best rates. There are many branches scattered around Chiang Mai
  • get a red cab (songthao) outside the train station for Baht 50 (instead of paying B100 if inside the train station) to Old City - if you haggle nicely enough...I did!
  • shared red taxi (songthao) - B30 standard fare plying all over Old City
  • for only B50/day, best to rent a bike to go around the Old City - it's a 2.5km2 with lots to discover
  • FREE daily yoga classes from 9:00am to 10:15am at Nong Buak Hard Park (southwest corner of Old City). Resident and passing-through teachers take turns conducting yoga classes.
Blues/Jazz Bars in Chiang Mai
  1. North Gate Pub - at Chang Phueg Gate, great Tuesday jam session, Blues on Sundays by the 11pm band
  2. Taphae East - 88 Thapae Rd. (just north of Night Bazaar). Fridays at 9:30pm by Chiang Mai Blues Band
  3. Boy Blues Bar - at the Night Bazaar. Mondays at 9:30pm is open mic
Chiang Mai Cost Index
  • B60 Chiang beer
  • B250 1 hour drop-in yoga session
  • B200 one hour Thai body massage at WAYA Massage (highly recommended)
  • B50 noodle soup with meat
  • B50 coffee
  • B40 pad thai
  • B30/kilo wash-only laundry
  • B50/kilo wash+iron laundry
  • B100-150 dorm bed/night
  • B250 fan room/night
  • B30 internet cafe/hour
  • B170-190 Movies Sat-Sun and public holidays
  • B130-150 Movies weekdays
  • B100 Movies Wednesdays (movie discount day)
  • B750 1/2 day Thai cooking lessons
  • B900-1000 1 full day Thai cooking lessons
  • B400 Muay Thai boxing ticket
  • B2500 starting room rate at the luxury hotel, Nawa Sheeva (highly recommended)

  • Transportation
  • B450 bus, Chiang Mai to Bangkok
  • B160-180 bus, Chiang Mai to Pai
  • B1250 bus, Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang
  • B1650 slow boat, Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang
  • B210 bus, Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, 3-4 hours
  • B360 Green VIP bus, Chiang Mai to Mae Sai (Thai border town for visa run to Tachileik, Myanmar)
  • B50 bicycle rental, 24 hours
  • B200 motorbike rental, 24 hours
  • B273 #51 sleeping train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
  • B638 #7 a/c train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
  • B50 red taxi fare from point to point
  • B100 red taxi fare from train terminal to city

  • Tours
  • B2000 full day elephant sanctuary
  • B750 Chiang Rai one-day tour
  • B1500 mountain biking scenic ride
How to Get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok by Train from Bang Sue Train Station

For more train info: Bangkok to Chiang Mai trains - departing from Hua Lamphong - MRT (Bangkok)

(I'm using Bang Sue as a starting point because I was closer to it, but you may be closer to the Hua Lamphong station)

  1. take the MRT train to Bang Sue Station. Take the #1 Exit to the north provincial trains
  2. Proceed to Counter 2. You will see an information booth, a train schedule chart and the ticket counter. Choose the train and pay at the ticket counter.
  3. daily train schedule:
    • 8:48am - #7 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 7:30pm, not sleeper, B638
    • 2:06pm - #109 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 4:05am, sleeper
    • 6:31pm - #9 Premium Train, arrive Chiang Mai 7:15am, sleeper, B938 upper deck, B1038 lower deck
    • 7:56pm - #13 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 8:40am, sleeper, B768 upper deck, B838 lower deck
    • 10:22pm - #51 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 12:10pm, sleeper, 3rd class B270 (non sleeper), 2nd class B438, B728 upper deck, B798 lower deck
Chiangmai Blogs by TheLoneRider
  1. Vayu (Pranic Wind) Sep 20, 2019
  2. Apana Mudra Sep 20, 2019
  3. Varun Mudra Sep 19, 2019
  4. Surya Mudra Sep 18, 2019
  5. 2-Week Yoga Challenge by Agnese Erba Sep 17, 2019
  6. Prithvi Mudra Sep 17, 2019
  7. Movie Review: Farewell Song (2019) Sep 16, 2019
  8. Shunya Mudra Sep 16, 2019
  9. Akash Mudra Sep 15, 2019
  10. Gyana Mudra Sep 15, 2019
  11. The Mudra Project Sep 13, 2019
  12. Movie Review: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) Sep 12, 2019
  13. Sunday Vinyasa Flow with Marina Forster Sep 8, 2019
  14. Shamanic Breathwork by Rachel Constantino Sep 4, 2019
  15. Movie Review: Yesterday (2019) Sep 3, 2019
  16. The Conscious Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Aug 31, 2019
  17. Movie Review: Midsommar (2019) Aug 28, 2019
  18. Of Winos and Yogis Aug 26, 2019
  19. Movie Review: Ready or Not (2019) Aug 22, 2019
  20. The 9 Jhanas of Buddha Aug 22, 2019
  21. Full Moon Ceremony at Heart Space Aug 15, 2019
  22. Yin Yoga - Water Element by Martina Barabas Aug 15, 2019
  23. Movie Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019) Aug 14, 2019
  24. Hatha Mix Yoga with Christin Aug 13, 2019
  25. Boy Blues Bar Rocks Chiang Mai Aug 5, 2019
  26. Back to my Beloved Chiang Mai Aug 1, 2019
  27. Kaleidoscope of Chiang Mai's Peoplescape July 27, 2019
  28. Secret Sunrise: Nelson Mandela International Day July 17, 2019
  29. Movie Review: Anna (2019) July 15, 2019
  30. Farewell Picnic with Alan and Nicola July 15, 2019
  31. Movie Review: Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019) July 4, 2019
  32. Secret Sunrise: Water July 3, 2019
  33. Hotel Review: Arun Suite June 27, 2019
  34. Movie Review: Rocketman (2019) June 25, 2019
  35. Bruce Lipton: Epigentics to Transcend Genes June 24, 2019
  36. Optimizing Life thru Heart Math May 8, 15 and 22, 2019
  37. Movie Review: Aladdin (2019) June 13, 2019
  38. Connective Cacao and Sound Journey June 12, 2019
  39. Movie Review: X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) June 6, 2019
  40. Chiangmai BLUES June 6, 2019
  41. Movie Review: John Wick 3 - Parabellum (2019) June 4, 2019
  42. Hatha Slow Flow with Neil Jefferson June 3, 2019
  43. Meditating with One Million Meditators Movement June 1, 2019
  44. Vinyasa Happy Flow Series by Vaida May 31, 2019
  45. Muay Thai at the Chiang Mai Boxing Stadium May 30, 2019
  46. Yoga Flow Through the 7 Chakras May 30, 2019
  47. The Outsiders (people you need to push out of your sacred circle) May 31, 2019
  48. Fascinating Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 22, 2019
  49. World Meditation Day at Heart Space May 21, 2019
  50. Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame (2019) May 14, 2019
  51. Movie Review: Arctic (2018) May 13, 2019
  52. Abs Yoga May 12, 2019
  53. Kundalini and Vinyasa Yoga with Nicola Symons May 10, 2019
  54. Secret Sunrise Interactive Dance May 9, 2019
  55. Tok Sen Massage from Ying May 8, 2019
  56. Bruschetta: Nawa Saraan Style Apr 22, 2019
  57. Thai Cooking at Pra Nang Thai Cookery School Apr 20, 2019
  58. Movie Review: Hellboy (2019) Apr 15, 2019
  59. Bonding with the Elephants in Chiang Mai Apr 11, 2019
  60. Ziplining in Chiang Mai with Eagle Track Zipline Apr 10, 2019
  61. Movie Review: Shazam! (2019) Apr 4, 2019
  62. Movie Review: Captive State (2019) Mar 27, 2019
  63. Getting Thai Massage from Chiang Mai's Best (Lar Thanakrit Khamtanong) Mar 21, 2019
  64. Movie Review: Captain Marvel (2019) Mar 19, 2019
  65. Being the Soul of Nawa Saraan Hotel Mar 18, 2019
  66. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24 - Mar 13, 2019
  67. Movie Review: Vox Lux (2018) Mar 2, 2019
  68. Movie Review: The Favourite (2018) Feb 25, 2019
  69. Curing Cancer with Yoga? Feb 21, 2019
  70. Movie Review: Alita Battle Angel Feb 19, 2019
  71. International Training Massage School (ITM): Level 1 Feb 11-15, 2019
  72. Sandesch Album Launch by Christoph Joerg Feb 13, 2019
  73. Movie Review: Spider-Man - Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Feb 3, 2018
  74. Movie Review: Green Book Jan 30, 2019
  75. Meditation in a Sensory Deprivation Tank at Float Chiang Mai Jan 29, 2019
  76. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Jan 27, 2019
  77. Movie Review: Aquaman Jan 26, 2019
  78. Reiki Share at the Mastermind Brain Spa Jan 26, 2019
  79. Resuming Life in Chiang Mai Jan 24, 2019
  80. 4 Days in Chiang Mai at Nawa Saraan Hotel Jan 2-6, 2019
  81. Mike Chong Aug 8, 2018
  82. An Intimate Conversation with my Universe in Chiang Mai Aug 8, 2018
  83. Kneaded and Pampered at Zira Spa Aug 4, 2018
  84. Savoring a Baht 3,500 Birds Nest Soup at Natural Bird Nest by Burapa Aug 3, 2018
  85. Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot Aug 1, 2018
  86. Laughter Yoga with Saffiya Arnous July 31, 2018
  87. Yoga with Adam at Hidden House Yoga, Chiang Mai July 29, 2018
  88. 2 Weeks in Chiang Mai July 25 - Aug 7, 2018
  89. A First Timer in Chiang Mai Apr 9-23, 2016
  90. Chiang Mai's Amazing Peoplescape Apr 9-23, 2016
  91. Dance Mandala in Chiang Mai at The Yoga Tree Apr 19, 2016
  92. Songkran Waterfight Festival in Chiang Mai Apr 13-15, 2016
  93. Border Crossing from Siem Reap (Cambodia) to Bangkok (Thailand) to Chiang Mai April 9-10, 2016

Travel Tips for Thailand

How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days

    60-Day Thai Tourist Visa

    NOTE: There is no need to go back to your country to get the Thai tourist visa. Any major city with a Thai Embassy will do. Apparently there is also no need to have an invitation from a Thai establishment to justify the visa.

  1. Bring the following to the Thai embassy:
    a) proof of money (bank statement will suffice)
    b) flight booking to Thailand
    c) onward flight back to your country from Thailand
    d) filled-in tourist visa form
    e) 2 passport pictures
    f) hotel booking in Thailand (they didn't ask me for this but better be safe)
    g) passport with at least 6 months validity
  2. After handing over all the documents, they will ask you to come pick your passport with the visa the following day from 4 to 5pm. That's it!
  3. NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.

    30-Day Extension

    NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.

  1. bring the following to the Immigration Office:
    a) passport (make sure your Tourist Visa hasn't expired yet)
    b) Baht 1900
    c) photocopy of your passport + visa duration date stamp + TM6 card (white immigration card) and sign all the copies
    d) completed TM7 visa extension form (available at the Immigration Office)
    e) one 4cmx6cm passport picture
  2. submit the above to the Front Desk. They will give you a stub with your number on it. Take a seat and wait for your number to be called
  3. when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
  4. when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
  5. when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes
General Travel Tips
  1. arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
  2. put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the journey...you just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
  3. avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
  4. power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!

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