TheLoneRider
a nomad in search of...
people of Chiang Mai, Thailand

Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24 - Mar 13, 2019

Peoplescape of Chiang Mai

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

A Gathering Space at Nawa Saraan Hotel
I'm a people-person and a place's peoplescape remains one of the highlights for me. What makes it unique this time around, is I have the serenity of Nawa Saraan Hotel's stone garden/Koi pond to invite new friends to. Here, I can whip-up my coffee concoction, offer freshly grated turmeric or ginger tea, toss a pizza or experiment on piadina to celebrate looming friendships - without the expense of meeting up in cafes or trendy restos.

Peoplescape of Chiang Mai

Mikey ChongMike Singapore
From Day 1 I met him, Mike has always been my benefactor - from accepting my barter offer 3 years ago, all the way to now, where he offered me a dream job - to be the soul of Nawa Saraan Hotel. He has been very supportive in my efforts to play that role. Now, I am officially a part of his organization. Mike is tough as nails but fair and generous - even when no one's looking (so it's not for show). I've already lost track of how many times he has helped me in my journey. I keep finding ways to express my gratitude. With Nawa Saraan, I now have that option (despite the obvious benefit to me as well).

Suaykee NantaBee Thailand
During my previous visit, Mike introduced me to his lovely wife, Bee, where we all had pizza and bird's nest soup. This visit, I got to know her a little more. She tagged me along the furniture mall and Makro as she bought hotel supplies/furniture for the 4th hotel the couple will be opening up - Arun Hostel. I consult with her about local life and where to source things in the city. She is helpful and gracious about her ways.

Karen NewloveKaren USA
Burningman buddy, Hanka, gave me a heads-up about her friend visiting Chiang Mai - Karen. It was spot-on connection with Karen. We spent the evening over vegan food and Blues at Northgate. Lots of sharing. I thought we'd be hanging out a lot, but I had my massage course and she had her out of town trips. She was a free spirit who loved life and welcomed it with open arms. Before I knew it, she was gone for BKK. But it was all good while it lasted.

Wenyuan LiWenyuan China
We were introduced by Mike and the three of us gelled, with Mike joining us if he could squeeze time out of his busy schedule. Wenyuan and I were practically inseparable during her 4-day stay in Chiang Mai. We both stayed at Nawa Saraan and Chiang Mai became our playground - coffee talks by the stone garden, yoga, long walks to the movie house, cheap eats, etc. She is smart, grounded and anchored in character. She had long term plans for Chiang Mai with her vision of a tea house, but pressing matters constrained her to go back home. We keep in touch across the ocean...and I miss her company as I write this.

Irene HerodotouIrene Greece
Irene was perhaps the most endearing guest teacher from the Thai massage course at ITM. I liked her vibe and energy. After the course, I invited her to join me for morning coffee. Spending time with her is like having the ease of a comfortable glove - there's just an earthly warmth and fit to our headspace. She reciprocated by inviting me for breakfast at Satiphan. She is generous in sharing what she knows as she is gracious in her ways. She would be a regular at Nawa Saraan for lazy coffee talks and reconnection.

Vesna Milosavljevic DeleonVesna Serbia
Vesna was one of ITM's Level 5 students who wanted to train and certify Thai massage therapists. That's how we met. She had a gentle persuasion as much as a keen eye for subtleties. I liked her muted but anchored presence. I invited her for brunch (serving my pizza French toast) and had a fun and insightful conversation. Her friend joined us and together, they took me to an art exhibit by Rushdy at Mimme where I met more of her friends. It was a wonderful time but short-lived - as she was on her way back to Serbia. We continue to keep in touch.

AnastasiaAnastasia Russia
In the first 7 weeks I'd been in Chiang Mai, despite due diligence in seeing her again, it never happened. I had to walk away and attend to other looming possibilities on the horizon. But in a surprising comeback, my universe had us reunited, only to be separated again - it was such an emotional drain. Anastasia has an imposing but fleeting presence. Strong but vulnerable, loving yet aloof, worldly yet insulated, amalgamated and at the same time fragmented. Yes, she's a blurred dichotomy of contrasts on a broad spectrum where she oscillates within the varying shades of gray. I've always likened her to be wind that flows around you...don't grasp it, don't own it, don't even try to comprehend it. I had to learn that the difficult way. Just let it be and enjoy the breeze...while it lasts...then move on.

    Anastasia blogs:
  1. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24-Mar24, 2019
  2. Peoplescape at the Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery Dec 12 - Jan 1, 2019

Ryan ShermanRyan USA
I met Ryan at the Reiki-share event at BrainSpa - his disarming smile caught my attention. As a general rule, anyone with good energy, I reach out to. We had a long share over coffee as he talked about his journey and where it is taking him. Currently, he is Reiki Master at Focusing Love where he deepens his practice. Ryan has many modalities under his belt, not just Reiki. His daily practice lasts up to 7 hours! That's like being a monk. Like me, he approaches spirituality with critical thinking.

Sarah McCarthy-SitthiketSarah USA
Like Ryan, I met Sarah at the Reiki-share - another presence that stood out. She finally accepted my coffee invite where we talked about our journeys. She runs the Chiang Mai Intuitive Center, a living arts studio providing the community with arts, education, and wellness programs. Sarah is at her best teaching teachers how to teach intuitively. She's devoted to her practice of counseling people...perhaps too devoted as it takes its toll on her. When not in the service of humanity, she's into meditation, painting, singing a new song daily, or watching the sky out the window to self-inquire. And yes, she can sing! Her integrity serves as her moral anchor. Subsequent coffee talks added dimension to a brewing friendship where I glimpsed layers to her spiritual grounding.

Hanka StratmannHanka Germany
I met Hanka at the airport from Burningman in 2003 and I've invited her a few times to my pizza nights in Toronto. We've remained connected through the years across the oceans but it's only during this visit that we got to sit down and talk at length about matters-that-be.

Her message about the exponential doomsday timeline brought about by climate change was nothing less than alarming. I knew it was coming, but I didn't know it was going to happen that fast - extinction level within our lifetime! Had I heard that from someone else, I may have dismissed it as alarmist thinking. But with Hanka, it's serious business. She knows better. She's been up to speed with the issues for the last 2 years with the leading experts and has radically changed her life in anticipation of the inevitable. She's not an alarmist...just a pragmatist who deals with facts without the sentimentalist baggage and does what needs to be done.

It wasn't all doom-and-gloom talk, we talked about so many other things under the sun. I've had conversations with many intelligent people but talks with Hanka take on a different level - facts are discussed with analysis, insight and call-to-action. I can only be glad she stopped by Chiang Mai on her global travel and shared time with me. Love you, Hanka . My merits and affection go with you.

    Hanka blogs:
  1. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24-Mar24, 2019
  2. 2018: A Year In Review Dec 31, 2018
  3. Revolving Peoplescape of Bangkok Oct 8 - Nov 8, 2018

Aysenem AndicLuna Turkey
I met Luna in Penang in June 2016, and somehow, we'd been bumping into each other here in Chiang Mai. A wonderful soul who has been traveling for the longest time like me as well, we sink into a comfortable niche talking about our travels and the conscious path. I hope her motorcycle injury heals well and restores her functionality back. I'm sure our paths will cross again.

    Luna blogs:
  1. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24-Mar24, 2019
  2. Resuming Life in Chiang Mai Jan 24, 2019

Alan StrydomAlan South Africa
I met Alan during Chris' album launch at Heart Space. I got a sense of his positive energy and invited him over for coffee. A conscious soul who builds community of like-minded people, we found ourselves along similar paths. As lead trainer and master coach, he conducts workshops on HeartMath, an esoteric science using biofeedback to activate your Intuitive Heart. He's a man of intelligence and dimension, much like most of the people who join me for my coffee talks. He also holds ecstatic dance sessions, attends yoga classes and has his fingers on the local ongoings of Chiang Mai's conscious community.

Ending Thoughts
Some of them have left, some will come back, but those who are still around are more or less regulars to my coffee talk gathering. I'm still in Chiang Mai, still crossing paths with wonderful lives who will soon grace Nara Saraan's gathering space. Chiang Mai's peoplescape continues to fascinate.

--- 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:

Saffiya ArnousSaffiya France
(Mar 13, 2019) Cool one Gigit! I'll be back for turmeric/ginger infusion after Vietnam 🙂

Vesna Milosavljevic DeleonVesna Serbia
(Mar 3, 2019) My warm recommendation! Breakfast at Gigit's at Nawa Saraan...the best in my life! Thank you dear Gigit, always in my heart!🙂

Ryan ShermanRyan USA
(Mar 3, 2019) It was great to swap stories with you Gigit!

Next stop: Being the Soul of Nawa Saraan Hotel


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

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
  • visit Chiang Mai between October and April - best time, without the monsoon rains
  • 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. Road House - in front of Porn Ping Hotel
  3. Boy Blues Bar - at the Night Bazaar
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. The Outsiders (people you need to push out of your sacred circle) May 31, 2019
  2. Fascinating Peoplescape of Chiang Mai II May 22, 2019
  3. Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame (2019) May 14, 2019
  4. Movie Review: Arctic (2018) May 13, 2019
  5. Secret Sunrise Interactive Dance May 9, 2019
  6. Bruschetta: Nawa Saraan Style Apr 22, 2019
  7. Thai Cooking at Pra Nang Thai Cookery School Apr 20, 2019
  8. Movie Review: Hellboy (2019) Apr 15, 2019
  9. Bonding with the Elephants in Chiang Mai Apr 11, 2019
  10. Ziplining in Chiang Mai with Eagle Track Zipline Apr 10, 2019
  11. Movie Review: Shazam! (2019) Apr 4, 2019
  12. Movie Review: Captive State (2019) Mar 27, 2019
  13. Getting Thai Massage from Chiang Mai's Best (Lar Thanakrit Khamtanong) Mar 21, 2019
  14. Movie Review: Captain Marvel (2019) Mar 19, 2019
  15. Being the Soul of Nawa Saraan Hotel Mar 18, 2019
  16. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24 - Mar 13, 2019
  17. Movie Review: Vox Lux (2018) Mar 2, 2019
  18. Movie Review: The Favourite (2018) Feb 25, 2019
  19. Curing Cancer with Yoga? Feb 21, 2019
  20. Movie Review: Alita Battle Angel Feb 19, 2019
  21. International Training Massage School (ITM): Level 1 Feb 11-15, 2019
  22. Movie Review: Spider-Man - Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Feb 3, 2018
  23. Movie Review: Green Book Jan 30, 2019
  24. Meditation in a Sensory Deprivation Tank at Float Chiang Mai Jan 29, 2019
  25. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Jan 27, 2019
  26. Movie Review: Aquaman Jan 26, 2019
  27. Reiki Share at the Mastermind Brain Spa Jan 26, 2019
  28. Resuming Life in Chiang Mai Jan 24, 2019
  29. 4 Days in Chiang Mai at Nawa Saraan Hotel Jan 2-6, 2019
  30. Mike Chong Aug 8, 2018
  31. An Intimate Conversation with my Universe in Chiang Mai Aug 8, 2018
  32. Kneaded and Pampered at Zira Spa Aug 4, 2018
  33. Savoring a Baht 3,500 Birds Nest Soup at Natural Bird Nest by Burapa Aug 3, 2018
  34. Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot Aug 1, 2018
  35. Yoga In The Park - Chiang Mai July 31, 2018
  36. Yoga with Adam at Hidden House Yoga, Chiang Mai July 29, 2018
  37. 2 Weeks in Chiang Mai July 25 - Aug 7, 2018
  38. A First Timer in Chiang Mai Apr 9-23, 2016
  39. Dance Mandala in Chiang Mai at The Yoga Tree Apr 19, 2016
  40. Songkran Waterfight Festival in Chiang Mai Apr 13-15, 2016
  41. 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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