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

4 Days in Chiang Mai at Nawa Saraan Hotel Jan 2-6, 2019

4 Days in Chiang Mai at Nawa Saraan Hotel

Hotel Check-in: Nawa Saraan Hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Location: 37/1 Sinharat Rd Lane 2, Tambon Si Phum, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, 50200, Thailand
Phone: (+66) 061.272.8885

60-Day Thai Tourist Visa
After Pai, Mike and I headed back to Chiang Mai where he checked me in at his luxurious Nawa Saraan Hotel. With 4 days before my Thailand visa expiration, I had to plan out my next move. Mike suggested I apply for a 60-day tourist visa with Thai Embassy in Hanoi and I could stay at a room in Nawa Saraan upon my return. Whoa! Being tired from 6 years of traveling non-stop, 60 days without worrying where I sleep for the night was extremely appealing.

Free Yoga at Nong Buak Hard Public Park
Free yoga is one of Chiang Mai's endearing features. Traveling yoga teachers and resident yoga teachers alike take turns conducting free yoga classes at 9am daily at the Nong Buak Hard Public Park. I saw some familiar faces from my last stay in Chiang Mai in August 2018.

I only planned to participate on the yoga classes, but on one occasion, the teacher didn't show up. I had to step-up to the plate and conduct the class myself. Ann and Bridgette were even there. I introduced the group to my own brand of yoga which consisted of asana, pranayama and meditation. I got a few thank-you hugs after the class. One guy even complimented that he learned yoga but he also learned about life - that was flattering.

Post-yoga is usually followed by a sumptuous Khao Soi breakfast at the nearby eatery.

Acro Yoga at Nong Buak Hard Public Park
This park is perhaps one of the hidden secrets of Chiang Mai. In the morning, a lot of group activities are already happening - yoga, tai chi, etc. A few people are also doing their own private practice. But a compelling presence are the acro-yoga guys. There is a whole community of practitioners who coach and assist everyone willing to learn. It's an animated scene that only adds flavor and dimension to Chiang Mai. Just being there in the late afternoon to watch them do their thing is both inspiring and motivating.

4 Days in Chiang Mai at Nawa Saraan Hotel
acro-yoga at Nong Buak Hard Public Park

Mikey ChongMike Singapore
In an unexpected token of generosity, Mike gave me a wad of down-payment money for the website I would be developing for Arun Dara, his most ambitious hotel project todate. I already told him I'd do it for friendship, but he could not be swayed otherwise. Whoa! This new fusion of money adds sanity to my overheated mind - at least while it lasts, I won't have to be frantic about marketing pitches or pounding the pavement for a deal.

On a different scene, when he learned I lost my phone in DaNang, he gave me a brand new Xiaomi A2 Lite phone that still came in a box! He even added a power bank, but I had to refuse it already - it would seem like taking advantage.

Mike has saved my skin in more ways than one in more than one occasion. I wonder where I would have ended up if he weren't there. Not too many people have a "Mike". I am truly fortunate to know of this remarkable man.

Bridgette and AnnBridgette and Ann
In Chiang Mai, I was hanging out with two wonderful souls I met at the Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery - Ann and Bridgette. We would do yoga together in the morning, eat Khao Soi post-yoga and sometimes just hangout in the park to do some acro-yoga. It was good vibe being with them. But expectedly, since we were all travelers, we all left Chiang Mai to continue our journey. I'm just glad to have met them.

Ending Thoughts
With enough money to start my travel out of Thailand, I feel optimistic that this year holds the much elusive abundance for me. Add a new phone to that and a roof over my head awaiting for me on my return, I feel calm and at ease. I haven't felt this way in a very long time. Thank you, Mike!

--- TheLoneRider
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Next stop: Hanoi Revisited

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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


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 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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