TheLoneRider
a nomad in search of life's Easter Eggs
Chiang Mai, Thailand

Savoring a Baht 3,500 Birds Nest Soup at Natural Bird Nest by Burapa Aug 3, 2018

Savoring a Baht 3,500 Bowl of Birds Nest Soup at 'Natural Bird Nest by Burapa'

Location: Natural Bird Nest by Burapa, Chiang Mai, Thailand

$2,425/kilo Birds Nest Soup
The closest thing I've ever come to a birds nest soup was from a Knorr instant soup package. The real thing is outrageously expensive, it's worth a king's ransom. The most expensive I've seen from Burapa is B80,000/kilo (US$2,425/kilo). B3,500 seems like a lot of money for soup, but for authentic bird's nest, all we could get for that kind of money was a medium-sized bowl - trippy! If you talk about food for the gods, this might as well be it. But I'm jumping ahead of myself. How did all this come to happen when I struggle to find a decent B30 meal on the streets of Chiang Mai?

Just Wanna Say Thank You
It all started with intention. Mike, my host in Chiang Mai, has been killing me with kindness and all I wanted was to say 'thank you' in my currency - not money because I have none. The intention puts things in motion behind the scenes - even from me.

Nick of Natural Bird Nest by BurapaNick
The next moment, I was inside this resto, Natural Bird Nest by Burapa, talking to traditional Bangkok-based Chinese Thais serving/selling authentic birds nest in Chiang Mai. I met Nick - young (22 years old), grounded, US-educated, smart and forward-thinking. I explained to him my proposal. He was interested, consulted with his Mom (who I initially thought was his girlfriend - seriously!), and we shook hands on the barter deal - one year ad placement in exchange for bird nest soup dinner worth B3,500.

Mike and Bee
I'm glad Mike brought his wife, Bee. I've heard so much about her. Now, I finally met this special woman whom Mike gave up his gallivanting life as a bachelor for. And yes, for good reason! Bee is lovely with a disarming charm. The 3 of us met at Chiang Mai's popular Hand-Made Pizza. Mike had the foresight that a small bowl of soup cannot feed 3 grown-ups. He brought out brandy and I joined him - my first drink in 6 months. The 3 of us had synergy. I enjoyed watching the couple play their dynamics. It felt like a ringside seat to a play. There is something theatrical about them when they are together. After 2 pizza pies, we headed out to Natural Bird Nest by Burapa where Nick welcomed us.

The Tour
After the proper introduction, Nick was kind enough to give us a tour of the shop/resto. He showed us partially prepared bird's nest and shark fin in jars soaked in ice. Bird's nest soup ranged from B100 to B4,000 per bowl! The bird's nest in elegant dry packages reached a staggering B8,000/100 grams. It was mind boggling for me how some people can fork that kind of money for a soup. But just before we arrived, the place was packed full!

I failed to ask Nick what the difference is between the B100/bowl soup and the B4,000. Will the B4,000 soup cure your cancer? Will it keep you young forever? Will it give you a 24/7 hard on? Or is it just a taste difference?

The Soup Ritual
Instead of us choosing what's on the menu, Nick graciously offered to prepare everything for us in a way he saw fit. Wow! You don't get that kind of service everyday. Apparently you just don't gobble down such a prized soup. There is a reverential ritual to it. First, an intro birds nest soup (not the main deal yet) was given to us to which honey was added together with a yellow fruit. It was supposed to enhance the taste. Halfway through our individual bowls, a 6-min soft boiled egg was mixed into the soup before it was finished. That alone was richly satisfying already. But the main dish has yet to be savored.

The Main Deal: B3,500 Bowl
While we were enjoying the intro portion, the main dish was being heated in front of us. Finally, it was ready and we took turns to ladle it onto our soup bowls. I was waiting to hear to a drum roll before I took the first spoonful. I rolled it inside my mouth, allowing it to mantle all the taste receptors, pretty much like tasting vintage Bordeaux. The texture was slimy with the gelatinous and stringy fiber-like strands of the bird nest. Taste? It was heavenly delicious - maybe if you die and go to heaven, this is all you eat. The experience? Pure bragging rights!

Savoring a Baht 3,500 Birds Nest Soup at Natural Bird Nest by Burapa
divine moments over a hearty soup with Mike, Bee and Nick

Mike and Nick
What grabbed my attention (aside from the price tag of the bird's nest) was the dynamics of Mike and Nick. It was like having a ringside seat to an animated encounter. I would liken Nick to be a prim-and-proper British gentleman who can effortlessly blend in any major capital's polite society with his social grace. On the other hand, Mike is like a blazing gun-slinger exploding out from the rough-hewn annals of the wild wild west! These are two people on the extreme opposite ends of a broad spectrum. However, they do have common ground - they both perfect their game and both enjoy playing with their grown-up toys (a string of hotels and top-of-the-line birds nest). I was surprised to see Mike hold his own talking about birds nest. He even knows how a Chinese can buy 100 kilos of birds nest within China - which is a near impossibility given the tight restrictions. They were talking in Chinese so I couldn't fully understand what was being said except for the few English words being thrown around. From what I could discern, this is how the conversion was going:

Nick: my hotel has 200 rooms! (I have a big dick!)
Mike: my newest hotel has 7 rooms with a swimming pool inside every room! (my dick is harder!)

I was laughing on the floor as they compared notes - in their own mildly-subtle Chinese way. At the end of it, I found them more similar than they were different - I think they felt the same way. It was fascinating and hilarious! It was the highlight of the evening together with the B3,500 bowl of soup in front of us!

Ending Thoughts
For a guy who struggles finding a decent B30 meal on the roadside eateries of Chiang Mai, I was able to host and treat Mike and Bee to a special dinner. I'd been wanting to thank Mike for all his kindness, but didn't know how, until my universe stepped-in. Even a magician would be hard pressed to pull a rabbit out of a hat like that. Indeed, the universe works in mysterious ways to manifest my deep-seated desires.

Of course I am grateful to be savoring such expensive delicacy. Who knows if I ever get this opportunity again?

Thank you Nick for being such a wonderful and gracious host. You didn't have to, but you went the whole 9 yards making us feel welcome and at home. This is one experience I'll be committing to memory.

--- TheLoneRider
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Reader Comments:

Chai MateoChai Philippines
(Aug 11, 2018) That was funny! Haha and I can imagine Nick and Mike's comparing notes 🙂 Amazing how the universe makes things happen for you! Tama, setting intentions din talaga which is what I am experiencing din 🙂 (Right, setting intentions, really, which is what I am experiencing as well). I envy you for having tried authentic bird's nest!! I might try that 100B next time but maybe that's the very diluted version! Maybe 99% is water LOL

Mikey ChongMike Singapore
(Aug 5, 2018) I almost died laughing reading what u wrote. hahahhahah

Next stop: Kneaded and Pampered at Zira Spa


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. Tataka Mudra Nov 14, 2019
  2. Movie Review: Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) Nov 11, 2019
  3. Sakti Calana Mudra Nov 10, 2019
  4. Vajroli Mudra Nov 9, 2019
  5. COFFEEMATES and BREADMATES Oct to Nov 5, 2019
  6. Yoni Mudra Nov 1, 2019
  7. Movie Review: Judy (2019) Oct 31, 2019
  8. Viparita Karani Mudra Oct 31, 2019
  9. Khecari Mudra Oct 30, 2019
  10. Mahadeva Mudra Oct 28, 2019
  11. Movie Review: Roger Waters - Us + Them (2019) Oct 27, 2019
  12. Sacred Cacao - Chakra Dance Journey Oct 26, 2019
  13. Movie Review: Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) Oct 24, 2019
  14. Partner Healing with Natascha Oct 24, 2019
  15. Maha Bandha Mudra Oct 24, 2019
  16. Movie Review: Liam: As It Was (2019) Oct 23, 2019
  17. Mula Bandha Mudra Oct 21, 2019
  18. Hugfest at Thapae Gate, Chiang Mai Oct 19, 2019
  19. Anushasan Mudra Oct 18, 2019
  20. Ling Mudra Oct 17, 2019
  21. Movie Review: Official Secrets (2019) Oct 15, 2019
  22. Jalandhara Bandha Mudra Oct 15, 2019
  23. Learning Thai with Cee Oct 13, 2019
  24. Uddiyana Bandha Mudra Oct 10, 2019
  25. Nabho Mudra Oct 9, 2019
  26. Movie Review: Joker (2019) Oct 8, 2019
  27. Maha Mudra Oct 7, 2019
  28. 20 Essential Mudras by T. Krishnamacharya Oct. 6, 2019
  29. Mindfulness Gong Bath by Vee (Veerayuth Pongsiri) Oct 3, 2019
  30. Cuddle Party by Abundant Love CM Oct 1, 2019
  31. Vayu Mudra Oct 1, 2019
  32. Movie Review: Hail Satan? (2019) Sep 29, 2019
  33. Visa-Run to Tachileik, Myanmar Sep 28, 2019
  34. Sankalpa Mudra Sep 27, 2019
  35. Surya Pradarshini Mudra Sep 26, 2019
  36. Movie Review: Ad Astra (2019) Sep 25, 2019
  37. Movie Review: Rambo 5 Sep 22, 2019
  38. Eye-Gazing at Heart Space Sep 20, 2019
  39. Vayu (Pranic Wind) Sep 20, 2019
  40. 2-Week Yoga Challenge by Agnese Erba Sep 17, 2019
  41. Movie Review: Farewell Song (2019) Sep 16, 2019
  42. The Mudra Project Sep 13, 2019
  43. Movie Review: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) Sep 12, 2019
  44. Sunday Vinyasa Flow with Marina Forster Sep 8, 2019
  45. Shamanic Breathwork by Rachel Constantino Sep 4, 2019
  46. Movie Review: Yesterday (2019) Sep 3, 2019
  47. The Conscious Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Aug 31, 2019
  48. Movie Review: Midsommar (2019) Aug 28, 2019
  49. Of Winos and Yogis Aug 26, 2019
  50. Movie Review: Ready or Not (2019) Aug 22, 2019
  51. The 9 Jhanas of Buddha Aug 22, 2019
  52. Full Moon Ceremony at Heart Space Aug 15, 2019
  53. Yin Yoga - Water Element by Martina Barabas Aug 15, 2019
  54. Movie Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019) Aug 14, 2019
  55. Hatha Mix Yoga with Christin Aug 13, 2019
  56. Boy Blues Bar Rocks Chiang Mai Aug 5, 2019
  57. Back to my Beloved Chiang Mai Aug 1, 2019
  58. Kaleidoscope of Chiang Mai's Peoplescape July 27, 2019
  59. Secret Sunrise: Nelson Mandela International Day July 17, 2019
  60. Movie Review: Anna (2019) July 15, 2019
  61. Farewell Picnic with Alan and Nicola July 15, 2019
  62. Movie Review: Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019) July 4, 2019
  63. Secret Sunrise: Water July 3, 2019
  64. Hotel Review: Arun Suite June 27, 2019
  65. Movie Review: Rocketman (2019) June 25, 2019
  66. Bruce Lipton: Epigentics to Transcend Genes June 24, 2019
  67. Optimizing Life thru Heart Math May 8, 15 and 22, 2019
  68. Movie Review: Aladdin (2019) June 13, 2019
  69. Connective Cacao and Sound Journey June 12, 2019
  70. Movie Review: X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) June 6, 2019
  71. Chiangmai BLUES June 6, 2019
  72. Movie Review: John Wick 3 - Parabellum (2019) June 4, 2019
  73. Hatha Slow Flow with Neil Jefferson June 3, 2019
  74. Meditating with One Million Meditators Movement June 1, 2019
  75. Vinyasa Happy Flow Series by Vaida May 31, 2019
  76. Muay Thai at the Chiang Mai Boxing Stadium May 30, 2019
  77. Yoga Flow Through the 7 Chakras May 30, 2019
  78. The Outsiders (people you need to push out of your sacred circle) May 31, 2019
  79. Fascinating Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 22, 2019
  80. World Meditation Day at Heart Space May 21, 2019
  81. Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame (2019) May 14, 2019
  82. Movie Review: Arctic (2018) May 13, 2019
  83. Abs Yoga May 12, 2019
  84. Kundalini and Vinyasa Yoga with Nicola Symons May 10, 2019
  85. Secret Sunrise Interactive Dance May 9, 2019
  86. Tok Sen Massage from Ying May 8, 2019
  87. Bruschetta: Nawa Saraan Style Apr 22, 2019
  88. Thai Cooking at Pra Nang Thai Cookery School Apr 20, 2019
  89. Movie Review: Hellboy (2019) Apr 15, 2019
  90. Bonding with the Elephants in Chiang Mai Apr 11, 2019
  91. Ziplining in Chiang Mai with Eagle Track Zipline Apr 10, 2019
  92. Movie Review: Shazam! (2019) Apr 4, 2019
  93. Movie Review: Captive State (2019) Mar 27, 2019
  94. Getting Thai Massage from Chiang Mai's Best (Lar Thanakrit Khamtanong) Mar 21, 2019
  95. Movie Review: Captain Marvel (2019) Mar 19, 2019
  96. Being the Soul of Nawa Saraan Hotel Mar 18, 2019
  97. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24 - Mar 13, 2019
  98. Movie Review: Vox Lux (2018) Mar 2, 2019
  99. Movie Review: The Favourite (2018) Feb 25, 2019
  100. Curing Cancer with Yoga? Feb 21, 2019
  101. Movie Review: Alita Battle Angel Feb 19, 2019
  102. International Training Massage School (ITM): Level 1 Feb 11-15, 2019
  103. Sandesch Album Launch by Christoph Joerg Feb 13, 2019
  104. Movie Review: Spider-Man - Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Feb 3, 2018
  105. Movie Review: Green Book Jan 30, 2019
  106. Meditation in a Sensory Deprivation Tank at Float Chiang Mai Jan 29, 2019
  107. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Jan 27, 2019
  108. Movie Review: Aquaman Jan 26, 2019
  109. Reiki Share at the Mastermind Brain Spa Jan 26, 2019
  110. Resuming Life in Chiang Mai Jan 24, 2019
  111. 4 Days in Chiang Mai at Nawa Saraan Hotel Jan 2-6, 2019
  112. Mike Chong Aug 8, 2018
  113. An Intimate Conversation with my Universe in Chiang Mai Aug 8, 2018
  114. Kneaded and Pampered at Zira Spa Aug 4, 2018
  115. Savoring a Baht 3,500 Birds Nest Soup at Natural Bird Nest by Burapa Aug 3, 2018
  116. Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot Aug 1, 2018
  117. Laughter Yoga with Saffiya Arnous July 31, 2018
  118. Yoga with Adam at Hidden House Yoga, Chiang Mai July 29, 2018
  119. 2 Weeks in Chiang Mai July 25 - Aug 7, 2018
  120. A First Timer in Chiang Mai Apr 9-23, 2016
  121. Chiang Mai's Amazing Peoplescape Apr 9-23, 2016
  122. Dance Mandala in Chiang Mai at The Yoga Tree Apr 19, 2016
  123. Songkran Waterfight Festival in Chiang Mai Apr 13-15, 2016
  124. Border Crossing from Siem Reap (Cambodia) to Bangkok (Thailand) to Chiang Mai April 9-10, 2016
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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