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

2019: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2019

2019: A Year in Review

Countries: Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar

Backgrounder: Asking my Universe
Late in 2018, after struggling the entire year for lodging, money and the solitude, I finally asked my benevolent universe for 3 things:

  1. home - since I had been traveling for 8 years already, I was too tired from packing, moving, unpacking and packing-up again. I wanted to settle down but there was no place for me to do that - I had been homeless all those years. Where do I go?
  2. money - for most of my 8 years, I never had enough money but at least, I had about 1 month to 2 months lead time before money would run out. But 2018 was a horribly tight leash on money. Often, I would land in a country with only $100 and I would have to wing my survival for the remaining days of my visa. At one time in Bangkok, I was down to my last B80 with no prospect of money on the horizon. F%$#k, that was 2 meals away from starving in a foreign country that speaks a different language, worships a different God, with a culture and tradition alien to me! That's how bad it went. Sure, my poverty was by choice, but it was also taxing my sanity. I couldn't get my mind to stop racing to ensure my survival. I was living, breathing, dreaming and waking up to just surviving another day.
  3. partner - I love my independence - doing what I want to do, being what I want to be and going where I want to go. But after traveling alone too long, I was getting lonely. I wanted to wake up in the morning with someone I like to be with. But as a drifter, a partner was hard to come by...especially when you struggle with the cheapest meal on a side street. Instead of asking for specific qualities, I simply asked my universe to find me the right girl.
2019: A Year in Review
at a hugfest in Chiang Mai's Thapae Gate

Mikey ChongMike Singapore
When I reconnected with an old friend, Mike, in Chiang Mai in Jan 2019, he asked me if I wanted to be the 'soul' of his 4-room boutique hotel, Nawa Saraan. Without asking what the job really entailed or if I would get money for it, I just said yes. From then on, life took an amazing turn for abundance, ease and reprieve. The 3 things I asked from my universe, simply manifested:

  1. home - as soul of Nawa Saraan, I defaulted to staying at a modest room within the hotel. It had the basics I needed - a bed, bathroom, table and cabinet. My needs are meager. Nawa Saraan became home in a plush garden hotel setting. I didn't have to keep packing and unpacking anymore. I had a home! Not only that, there was a team of staff who looked after the upkeep of the hotel - Housekeeping, Maintenance, Laundry, etc. I didn't really have to do any housework (something I'm not good at anyway). I didn't have to pay for rent or utilities either. Not only did I have a home, I also had the hotel grounds to invite friends over for coffee and bread. Nawa Saraan became my slice of paradise on God's green earth.
  2. money - Me and Mike never talked about money. I never asked for any either. But every once in awhile, he gives me some. I don't even bother to count. I just say, "thank you". With money in my pocket, I didn't have to worry where the next meal comes from. I could even go to restaurants where 'farangs' (white foreigners) eat, but I don't. I immensely enjoy street food at B30-50/meal - why pay more? But I do have money to pay for pricey meals when invited to a group gathering in farang eating places. I even had money to buy 2 bicycles - for me and a friend! I felt so relieved not to worry about money anymore or where the next meal comes from.
  3. partner
    Suzi SuchiThe NewYorker USA
    I found her and she found me - let's call her "The New Yorker". Together, we were seamless. I saw my role as an enabler for her, empowering her and supporting her with whatever she wanted to do (not financial). Most women I'd been with can't handle that (and take my support as entitlement). But she gets it. That's why we get along well.

    Even though I just did the 'boyfriend' duties (nothing extraordinary), I was surprised at what she wrote me after she left, "You have been the best 'boyfriend' I ever had. (I want you to) realize how good you've made me feel emotionally, physically, spiritually, and whatever other levels there are. In a way, you have restored my faith in humanity." Whoa! I didn't see that coming.

    Because I didn't really do anything special (I didn't donate my other kidney to her), maybe I got those praises for the things I did not do. I did not control her, didn't deceive her, didn't take her money, didn't use her. And this probably says a lot about relationships nowadays.

    We were together for 2 months until she had to leave for greener career pasture. Sure, I got what I prayed for, but I didn't think it would be so short-lived. Anyway, I was grateful. We both decided we would break up because long distance is not viable, but we agreed to continue being a part of each other's lives.

    Towards yearend, she came back to Chiang Mai for the yuletide season. I got a break from hotel duties and traveled a bit with her. We were together for two weeks until she had to leave again. 2019 started right for me. With The New Yorker around, 2019 ended equally as great.

    The New Yorker Blogs

    1. 2019: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2019
    2. Friends, Coffeemates and Breadmates (Dec 2019) Dec 31, 2019
    3. The Conscious Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Aug 31, 2019
    4. Kaleidoscope of Chiang Mai's Peoplescape July 27, 2019


Traveling
2019 was definitely not a year of traveling for me. The only reason I left Thailand was for my visa run. I went to Tachileik, Myanmar twice, but only for visa run. I also went to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City for the same purpose. I did however, enjoy the 2 nights I stayed in Chiang Rai. Somehow, travel does not seem as exciting as it used to be. I'm simply happy to be settled here in beautiful Chiang Mai.

On the expiration of my visa run, instead of leaving the country, I simply paid for the B1900 30-day extension. But Thai Immigration has been shaking down hard on people who have stayed too long or visited too frequently. Statistically, my days are numbered. I was lucky to survive 2019 intact. 2020 will be challenging given this immigration Zeitgeist.

Soul of Nawa Saraan
My main task was to ensure the well-being of the hotel guests - something natural for me to begin with. And I make that clear to the guests as well. I tell them that my job is to ensure they keep that smile on their faces. I still see myself as a traveler and I treat them like travelers - they feel that. Unsolicited hotel reviews say it all, often citing "the hotel manager" in good light.

As acting manager, I also enjoyed perks. All 3rd-party tours were complimentary to me for guest recommendation. I tried a few: elephant tour, zip-lining, cooking class, and a Muay Thai fight. They are all expensive and fun, but there's only so much I could take.

Blues Music Scene
Blues music is rare in Asia. But in Chiang Mai, it's fair game. There are a few bars playing Blues on certain days of the week. Almost nightly, I would nurse my beer at any of Chiang Mai's bars for my Blues fix - Boy Blues Bar, Thapae East, My Bar, Lost Hut, CU Corner, Mohawk Bar, etc. One of my favorite past times is exploring the bar scene. Many obscure hole-in-the-wall bars with unique atmosphere and community.

Conscious Community
Chiang Mai is a haven for the conscious community - people who are aware of their existential circumstance and pursue a life of purpose and spirituality. Granted, they are mostly hippies. Many such events are catered to them by teachers with different modalities. I've done secret sunrise, cacao ceremony, full moon ritual, cuddling party, eye gazing and a hugfest.

Thai Massage
I was lucky to have a barter-deal with the International Thai Massage School. Web review and blog advertisement in exchange for a Level-One Thai massage certification course. Too bad I didn't get the chance to use it. I still have the manual and Youtube video. Once I get a model to practice on, I should be back on track.

I think the best way to experience Thai massage therapy in Chiang Mai is to get it from any of the numerous Thai massage rock stars. You need to sign-up ahead of time since they are fully booked weeks in advance. You pay more, but they'll play you like a violin. I had one such treatment from Lar Thanakrit Khamtanong - massage teachers go to him for treatment.

Peoplescape
Because I wasn't traveling anymore, and since I have a gathering space at the hotel, I just immersed myself in Chiang Mai's peoplescape, inviting interesting people I meet for coffee and bread. Some have become regulars. I'd have them over for breakfast, lunch or dinners. I was liking it too much, it was beginning to be a fix. I had to hold back a few times to get my bearings right. By nature, I'm a very giving guy. Most appreciate it, but there were some oddballs who got through my filter and took it as entitlement. You get all kinds. On rare occasions, I get invited too - that rare reciprocity is greatly cherished.

Chiang Mai Peoplescape blogs

  1. Shifting Peoplescape of Chiang Mai July 2020
  2. Friends, Coffeemates and Breadmates (Dec 2019) Dec 31, 2019
  3. Coffeemates and Breadmates (Nov 2019) Nov 30, 2019
  4. Coffeemates and Breadmates (Oct 2019) Oct to Nov 5, 2019
  5. The Conscious Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Aug 31, 2019
  6. Kaleidoscope of Chiang Mai's Peoplescape July 27, 2019
  7. The Outsiders (people you need to push out of your sacred circle) May 31, 2019
  8. Fascinating Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 22, 2019
  9. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24 - Mar 13, 2019
  10. Chiang Mai's Amazing Peoplescape Apr 9-23, 2016

Chiang Mai Woes
2019 has been hard for Chiang Mai. The burning season has been the worst ever. It was judged the most polluted place on the planet during the height of the burning. Many hotel bookings were canceled. Although the burning only lasted for 2 months, many travelers were left with the lingering impression that Chiang Mai is always polluted. They probably won't come back. If that's not bad enough, the Euro has fallen in value, making Chiang Mai a more expensive place for the European currency. Many other places outside Thailand have opened up adding more destinations for tourists. Vietnam is particularly aggressive with its tourism initiative. In fact, Danang is being touted as the new digital nomad capital of Southeast Asia. Chiang Mai has to compete with those places as well. Overall, hotel occupancy has been on record low. It hurts Nawa Saraan and of course, it hurts me as well.

Yoga
Because the hotel business was slow for the most part of the year, I had time on my hands to deepen my yoga practice. I read, practised and wrote about hand mudras (Hasta Mudra). In parallel, I also delved into T. Krishnamacharya's 20 essential mudras and prana vayu. I integrate mudra, bandha, pranayama and kumbhaka into my practice. Every morning upon waking up, I would do 20 minutes of breathing exercise followed by another 20 minutes of Vipassana. Since I hardly do any asanas anymore in my practice, I frequent Yoga in the Park - Chiang Mai for my dose of asanas. I could feel my body, spirit and mind getting stronger and integrated. Now, I can understand why someone who needs to immerse in spirituality needs to abandon life as a householder and be a monk. I am lucky to span these 2 worlds.

Since my yoga is already a bio-mind hack, what's my validation that my practice is still sound and healthy? Simple. I use my body as a benchmark. Am I strong or weak? Am I sickly or vibrant? Am I unlucky or lucky? Everything from every angle points to the positive. I could sometimes feel the strength of a raging locomotive. I hardly ever get sick, not on any kind of medication, and I feel a bounce on my stride. I always find myself in the right place, at the right time meeting people I need to meet. Additionally, I'm hardly getting old. Forever young? Maybe! That's why I am supremely confident my brand of yoga is sound and powerful.

Hacking my Biology
I need dental work. 8 years of traveling means 8 years with no dental insurance to pick-up the tab. While I enjoy having some money now, it's not enough to cover dental work. One crown is allready B15,000. Need I say more? I am left with one alternative - an ambitious one. What if I hack my biology? I had been hacking my body and my mind already, so what's the big deal? With all my deepening yogic practice, and the seeming benefit I get from it, why not level up and transcend the limits of my biology? And that's what I had been doing for the last few months. I had been doing everything I could imagine with all the mudra, bandha, pranayama and kumbhaka that I could muster, controlling the vayus, and generating heat in my Jhatara Agni with one single-minded focus - defy the limits of biology. The yogis of Tibet and India have done it. In theory, I already know how to do it. In reality, I am already doing what it takes to make it happen. Perhaps one day, it will just click and everything will fall into place. If that actually happens, the ramification is profound. Almost frightening. If I can hack my biology, then I can hack reality. If reality is indeed a simulation, then it can be hacked.

Movies
Because I was able to work out a barter deal with SXF Cinema at Maya Mall for free movies in exchange for a review, I have been a cinemaphile with roughly 40 movie reviews to my credit. Whenever it's a slow evening, I could always default to Maya Mall for a movie. Thank you, Fui!

Ending Thoughts
2019 is a Thank-U-Mike year for me. Through his kindness and friendship, I enjoyed this whole-year abundance. When shit hits the fan, Mike seems to always be there to save the day for me...even if he's in Chiang Mai and I'm somewhere else in Asia. Corollarily, I also see that by being here, I'll be around if shit hits the fan for him too. Quantum entanglement? I don't see it any other way.

I cannot say I'm optimistic about 2020 about my stay in Chiang Mai. Immigration is a looming dark cloud hovering over my head. I can be refused entry on my next visa run. Furthermore, the burning season is just around the corner - Feb to Mar. I don't think I want to be here when the air gets too polluted. It doesn't make sense for me to do all that cleansing practice, only to be breathing-in bad air. Additionally, I feel the increasing need to go to a Vipassana course again. Maybe do a 20 or even a 30-day course. Things are up in the air. But whatever 2020 holds for me, I will forever remember 2019 as a year of abundance and ease. I am profoundly grateful for that.

--- 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



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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
Bus from Loei to Chiang Mai
  1. From Loei town center, take a tuk-tuk ride to the bus station, B30. There is only one bus station.
  2. As of June 28, 2020 (still on Covid schedule), there are only 3 night trips: 8:30pm, 9:30pm and 12 midnight. 9 hours, B470.
  3. The bus makes the following stops at the following times from a 9pm Loei departure: Phu Ruea (9:50pm), Phitsanulok (12:40am), Uttradit (2:20am), Lampang (4:35am)
  4. Final bus stop is at the Red Bus Arcade, Chiang Mai, 9 hour-trip, arriving 6am (from 9pm Loei departure).
  5. Take a red songthaew to Old City, B50. They'll try to charge you B100, but they'll take B50 (just assure the driver you won't tell the other passengers).
Chiangmai Blogs by TheLoneRider
  1. Shifting Peoplescape of Chiang Mai July 2020
  2. Conducting Prana Vayu Yoga Classes in Chiang Mai July 11-12, 2020
  3. Movie Review: Jojo Rabbit (2019) July 11, 2020
  4. Movie Review: The Kingmaker (2019) July 8, 2020
  5. Anahata (Heart Chakra) July 5, 2020
  6. Coming Back to Chiang Mai Jun 29, 2020
  7. Goodbye Chiang Mai Jan 23, 2020
  8. Movie Review: Underwater (2020) Jan 19, 2020
  9. Prasnopanishad: Understanding Prana Jan 17, 2020
  10. Hiking the Monk's Trail Jan 15, 2020
  11. Chaturanga Jan 10, 2020
  12. Movie Review: Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019) Jan 7, 2020
  13. You Spooned Me Jan 3, 2020
  14. 2019: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2019
  15. Friends, Coffeemates and Breadmates (Dec 2019) Dec 31, 2019
  16. Visiting Mae Sot Dec 27-30, 2019
  17. Let's Make it About You - an Epiphany Dec 17, 2019
  18. Movie Review: Knives Out (2019) Dec 12, 2019
  19. Shut-Up! Dec 7, 2019
  20. Movie Review: Ford vs Ferrari Dec 5, 2019
  21. Roasted Red Bell Pepper Puree Dec 3, 2019
  22. Coffeemates and Breadmates (Nov 2019) Nov 30, 2019
  23. Bhujangini Mudra Nov 25, 2019
  24. Mathangini Mudra Nov 24, 2019
  25. Kaka Mudra Nov 23, 2019
  26. Movie Review: The Cave (2019) Nov 23, 2019
  27. Movie Review: Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis (2018) Nov 22, 2019
  28. Pasini Mudra Nov 20, 2019
  29. Aswini Mudra Nov 18, 2019
  30. Sambhavi Mudra Nov 16, 2019
  31. Manduka Mudra Nov 15, 2019
  32. Movie Review: Midway (2019) Nov 15, 2019
  33. Tataka Mudra Nov 14, 2019
  34. Movie Review: Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) Nov 11, 2019
  35. Sakti Calana Mudra Nov 10, 2019
  36. Vajroli Mudra Nov 9, 2019
  37. Coffeemates and Breadmates (Oct 2019) Oct to Nov 5, 2019
  38. Yoni Mudra Nov 1, 2019
  39. Movie Review: Judy (2019) Oct 31, 2019
  40. Viparita Karani Mudra Oct 31, 2019
  41. Khecari Mudra Oct 30, 2019
  42. Mahadeva Mudra Oct 28, 2019
  43. Movie Review: Roger Waters - Us + Them (2019) Oct 27, 2019
  44. Sacred Cacao - Chakra Dance Journey Oct 26, 2019
  45. Movie Review: Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) Oct 24, 2019
  46. Partner Healing with Natascha Oct 24, 2019
  47. Maha Bandha Mudra Oct 24, 2019
  48. Movie Review: Liam: As It Was (2019) Oct 23, 2019
  49. Point-Of-Failure Birthday Workout Oct 22, 2019
  50. Mula Bandha Mudra Oct 21, 2019
  51. Hugfest at Thapae Gate, Chiang Mai Oct 19, 2019
  52. Anushasan Mudra Oct 18, 2019
  53. Ling Mudra Oct 17, 2019
  54. Movie Review: Official Secrets (2019) Oct 15, 2019
  55. Jalandhara Bandha Mudra Oct 15, 2019
  56. Learning Thai with Cee Oct 13, 2019
  57. Uddiyana Bandha Mudra Oct 10, 2019
  58. Nabho Mudra Oct 9, 2019
  59. Movie Review: Joker (2019) Oct 8, 2019
  60. Maha Mudra Oct 7, 2019
  61. 20 Essential Mudras by T. Krishnamacharya Oct. 6, 2019
  62. Mindfulness Gong Bath by Vee (Veerayuth Pongsiri) Oct 3, 2019
  63. Cuddle Party by Abundant Love CM Oct 1, 2019
  64. Vayu Mudra Oct 1, 2019
  65. Movie Review: Hail Satan? (2019) Sep 29, 2019
  66. Visa-Run to Tachileik, Myanmar Sep 28, 2019
  67. Sankalpa Mudra Sep 27, 2019
  68. Surya Pradarshini Mudra Sep 26, 2019
  69. Movie Review: Ad Astra (2019) Sep 25, 2019
  70. Movie Review: Rambo 5 Sep 22, 2019
  71. Eye-Gazing at Heart Space Sep 20, 2019
  72. Prana Vayu (Pranic Wind) Sep 20, 2019
  73. 2-Week Yoga Challenge by Agnese Erba Sep 17, 2019
  74. Movie Review: Farewell Song (2019) Sep 16, 2019
  75. The Mudra Project Sep 13, 2019
  76. Movie Review: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) Sep 12, 2019
  77. Sunday Vinyasa Flow with Marina Forster Sep 8, 2019
  78. Shamanic Breathwork by Rachel Constantino Sep 4, 2019
  79. Movie Review: Yesterday (2019) Sep 3, 2019
  80. The Conscious Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Aug 31, 2019
  81. Movie Review: Midsommar (2019) Aug 28, 2019
  82. Of Winos and Yogis Aug 26, 2019
  83. Movie Review: Ready or Not (2019) Aug 22, 2019
  84. The 9 Jhanas of Buddha Aug 22, 2019
  85. Full Moon Ceremony at Heart Space Aug 15, 2019
  86. Yin Yoga - Water Element by Martina Barabas Aug 15, 2019
  87. Movie Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019) Aug 14, 2019
  88. Hatha Mix Yoga with Christin Aug 13, 2019
  89. Boy Blues Bar Rocks Chiang Mai Aug 5, 2019
  90. Back to my Beloved Chiang Mai Aug 1, 2019
  91. Kaleidoscope of Chiang Mai's Peoplescape July 27, 2019
  92. Secret Sunrise: Nelson Mandela International Day July 17, 2019
  93. Movie Review: Anna (2019) July 15, 2019
  94. Farewell Picnic with Alan and Nicola July 15, 2019
  95. Movie Review: Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019) July 4, 2019
  96. Secret Sunrise: Water July 3, 2019
  97. Hotel Review: Arun Suite June 27, 2019
  98. Movie Review: Rocketman (2019) June 25, 2019
  99. Bruce Lipton: Epigentics to Transcend Genes June 24, 2019
  100. Optimizing Life thru Heart Math May 8, 15 and 22, 2019
  101. Movie Review: Aladdin (2019) June 13, 2019
  102. Connective Cacao and Sound Journey June 12, 2019
  103. Movie Review: X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) June 6, 2019
  104. Chiangmai BLUES June 6, 2019
  105. Movie Review: John Wick 3 - Parabellum (2019) June 4, 2019
  106. Hatha Slow Flow with Neil Jefferson June 3, 2019
  107. Meditating with One Million Meditators Movement June 1, 2019
  108. Vinyasa Happy Flow Series by Vaida May 31, 2019
  109. Muay Thai at the Chiang Mai Boxing Stadium May 30, 2019
  110. Yoga Flow Through the 7 Chakras by Sabrina Pilz May 30, 2019
  111. The Outsiders (people you need to push out of your sacred circle) May 31, 2019
  112. Fascinating Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 22, 2019
  113. World Meditation Day at Heart Space May 21, 2019
  114. Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame (2019) May 14, 2019
  115. Movie Review: Arctic (2018) May 13, 2019
  116. Abs Yoga by Gigit May 12, 2019
  117. Kundalini and Vinyasa Yoga with Nicola Symons May 10, 2019
  118. Secret Sunrise Interactive Dance May 9, 2019
  119. Tok Sen Massage from Ying May 8, 2019
  120. Bruschetta: Nawa Saraan Style Apr 22, 2019
  121. Thai Cooking at Pra Nang Thai Cookery School Apr 20, 2019
  122. Movie Review: Hellboy (2019) Apr 15, 2019
  123. Bonding with the Elephants in Chiang Mai Apr 11, 2019
  124. Ziplining in Chiang Mai with Eagle Track Zipline Apr 10, 2019
  125. Movie Review: Shazam! (2019) Apr 4, 2019
  126. Movie Review: Captive State (2019) Mar 27, 2019
  127. Getting Thai Massage from Chiang Mai's Best (Lar Thanakrit Khamtanong) Mar 21, 2019
  128. Movie Review: Captain Marvel (2019) Mar 19, 2019
  129. Being the Soul of Nawa Saraan Hotel Mar 18, 2019
  130. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24 - Mar 13, 2019
  131. Movie Review: Vox Lux (2018) Mar 2, 2019
  132. Movie Review: The Favourite (2018) Feb 25, 2019
  133. Curing Cancer with Yoga? Feb 21, 2019
  134. Movie Review: Alita Battle Angel Feb 19, 2019
  135. International Training Massage School (ITM): Level 1 Feb 11-15, 2019
  136. Sandesch Album Launch by Christoph Joerg Feb 13, 2019
  137. Movie Review: Spider-Man - Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Feb 3, 2018
  138. Movie Review: Green Book Jan 30, 2019
  139. Meditation in a Sensory Deprivation Tank at Float Chiang Mai Jan 29, 2019
  140. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Jan 27, 2019
  141. Movie Review: Aquaman Jan 26, 2019
  142. Reiki Share at the Mastermind Brain Spa Jan 26, 2019
  143. Resuming Life in Chiang Mai Jan 24, 2019
  144. 4 Days in Chiang Mai at Nawa Saraan Hotel Jan 2-6, 2019
  145. Mike Chong Aug 8, 2018
  146. An Intimate Conversation with my Universe in Chiang Mai Aug 8, 2018
  147. Kneaded and Pampered at Zira Spa Aug 4, 2018
  148. Savoring a Baht 3,500 Birds Nest Soup at Natural Bird Nest by Burapa Aug 3, 2018
  149. Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot Aug 1, 2018
  150. Laughter Yoga with Saffiya Arnous July 31, 2018
  151. Yoga with Adam at Hidden House Yoga, Chiang Mai July 29, 2018
  152. 2 Weeks in Chiang Mai July 25 - Aug 7, 2018
  153. A First Timer in Chiang Mai Apr 9-23, 2016
  154. Chiang Mai's Amazing Peoplescape Apr 9-23, 2016
  155. Dance Mandala in Chiang Mai at The Yoga Tree Apr 19, 2016
  156. Songkran Waterfight Festival in Chiang Mai Apr 13-15, 2016
  157. 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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