TheLoneRider
a seeker in search of Easter Eggs
CHIANG MAI RECOMMENDATIONS


Chiang Mai, Thailand

2020: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2020

2020: A Year in Review

Location Google Map: Chiang Mai, Thailand

2020 in a Nutshell
2020 is a hallmark year for global destabilization brought about by the Covid 19 pandemic - international borders were shut-down, people were quarantined, schools were closed, busy streets became empty and businesses were closed, some never to open again. Trump lost the election to Joe Biden, but he wouldn't leave office, the killing of George Floyd ignited what has now become the Black Lives Matter movement, sparking global social unrest. China geared-up its global expansion - annexing Hong Kong, fortifying the contested islands in the South China Sea, leaning against Taiwan and killing 20 Indians in a border dispute.

On a personal level, I was constrained to leave Chiang Mai during the burning season and resumed my travel, thinking that I would no longer come back. This took me to Myanmar and Laos, but thankfully, I made it back to Thailand just in time before the pandemic lockdown. I was essentially stranded in Nong Khai - no bus for Chiang Mai. After 3 months, I decided to inch my way back to Chiang Mai through the small towns. It was a great eye-opener to discover the obscure but charming destinations lined-up along the Mekong River. In Loei, I found a bus for Chiang Mai. Luckily, Mike still offered me to stay at Nawa Saraan even though the hotel was closed due to the pandemic. This boutique hotel essentially became my home.

2020: A Year in Review
every means of transportation was fair game
Best Year Ever

Best Year Ever
I've had many episodes in previous years where life was abundant. But this year, 2020, despite the pandemic and global mayhem, I wouldn't be too far off the mark to qualify this to by my BEST YEAR EVER.

  1. love life - I'd been alone too long traveling solo all these years, and being with someone again was a big blessing. Some were fleeting episodes that went nowhere while others were well-intentioned conscious relationships that were great while they lasted. Of course, no guarantees - you always take a chance. It doesn't always work out, but if it's a good fit, it's a homerun feeling.

    The nice thing about having a love life is that small mundane things get amplified. An innocent 'no' becomes rejection. A simple 'yes' becomes a euphoric triumph. The peaks get steeper and the valleys get deeper. "Driving Miss Daisy" becomes a white-knuckle roller coaster ride. It's a thrill. But the ride ends at some point, and you get off. Price of admission? Sometimes, your sanity. Rarely, but it still happens, you find a good fit and the wild ride morphs into something magical where both of you come out enriched and evolved. Still, the ride ends and life resumes. If there is anything that can be learned, it's impermanence. It's actually a good thing. Makes you treasure the moments while they last.
  2. money - I didn't have a lot of money, but what I had was enough for my metaphorical 'khao soi' need and beer (for Blues music) money. It already meant a lot to me not to think of money when in previous years, I could arrive at a country with only $19 and have to wing my survival. There was even a point I made a tidy sum and gave it away - but it wasn't accepted.
  3. shelter - often, I would stay on a bunk bed in a dorm room - putting up with snorers, people to talk on the phone at 2am, or people having a loud conversation in the wee hours. Here in Chiang Mai, Mike gave me one of the rooms at his boutique hotel, Nawa Saraan. However way I tried to pay him, he wouldn't take my money. Not only shelter, I had the use of a fully functioning bakery, the garden and the yoga space. This was just unreal!
  4. no specific task - before Covid when I was officially the 'soul of Nawa Saraan', I had responsibilities to ensure the well-being of the hotel guests. Now, with the hotel being closed due to the pandemic, I had no specific task to do. Mike could have given me tasks, but no, he didn't. Of course, I took it upon myself to ensure the well-being of the hotel - watering the plants, feeding the fish, doing minor repairs, etc. I could wake up in the morning asking myself, "What excites me today?".
  5. yoga - with no real work, I had all the time to deepen my yoga practice without becoming a monk. Yes, it was yoga every day - either attending yoga classes at the park or teaching classes here at Nawa Saraan Healing Space, or even doing both. On top of that, I still had time to devote to reading, research, biohacking and blogging about new epiphanies. I weave everything together into a seamless singularity and push the limits of body and mind. Together with James (a competition break-dancer and yoga teacher), who attends my Abs class and Prana Vayu class, we push the boundaries until we wipe out - it's good to have someone strong you can push limits with. I sometimes reach a threshold where I no longer feel fatigued - the energy just keeps gushing through. I can even say I am at the peak of my practice - physically and mentally, I am strong. I am resilient from disease, I live harmoniously with my surrounding, and I hardly age anymore. These are my benchmarks for an evolving practice. What's next? As taboo as it may sound, I'm working on activating siddhis. For a curious explorer of life and reality, this (for now), is holy grail.
  6. friends - with a cafe by the hotel and a full bakery at my disposal, I invited select friends to come celebrate life and friendship over bread and coffee. I usually have different friends come over almost daily after my morning yoga. Freshly brewed coffee and fresh-baked bread without the cafe price.
Challenges

Challenges
At this point, I don't think I still have any survival challenges. I'm thriving. What I would consider challenges would be 'next level' - hacking my biology. Developing siddhis and transcending the visible limits of reality. I know, it's lofty. But I have no doubt that these realms exist. Let's just say I'm skimming the surface. Maybe one day, I get to dive deep into it - and come back to tell the tale.

Highlights

Highlights
Hmmm...seriously, the entire 2020 was a highlight. Having a love life was a highlight. Coasting through 2020 with no struggle, no stress, no need for money, no need for lodging, and simply basking in abundance is a definite highlight.

  1. Wim Hof method - reading up on the Wim Hof breathing changed my pranayama practice. I feel stronger and indefatigable. My students also intimated that they were not feeling tired anymore, despite the tough sequences we were doing.
  2. ice bath - this is part and parcel of the Wim Hof method but it was hard to find an ice bath in a tropical country. But I stumbled upon a group who do this. Given my yoga practice, I lasted 12 minutes in the ice bath when newbies are only expected to last 30 seconds.
  3. online yoga class - a fellow member of the UP Mountaineers messaged me from the Philippines asking if I can do an online yoga class for his staff who were still Covid-quarantined. More importantly, the yoga has to address physical and mental fitness. A one-session trial extended to a 13-week program. My program addressed mental fortification as much as physical fitness.
  4. Mothership tribe - it was Gabriella's birthday bash. She invited select friends to spend overnight on a mountain resort (Mothership). We barely knew anyone, but when we left Mothership to resume our lives back in Chiang Mai, we were already a tribe.
Lowlights

Lows
As a general rule, whatever lows there were, were deterministically meant to take place - a part of the karmic process that needed to happen. I may not even know the purpose - I don't really have to. Having made that clear, I can only think of one low - my altruistic effort to help was misconstrued as a vain attempt to glorify my ego. Hurtful words were hurled. I didn't deserve that. At the very least, a polite 'thank you' would have sufficed. Well, I can only be glad I'm not in that person's shoes - not exactly a place I'd call ideal. At the end of the day, I'm walking away with my health, my well-being and my peace of mind.

Lesson learned:

  1. good intentions can backfire even with no wrong action. Continue doing the right deed, just expect the unexpected.
  2. desperate people are like drowning people - they'll grab-on to whoever they can, risking drowning to both. Love these people from a distance, but keep them at arm's length.

Peoplescape
Chiang Mai is just a stop-over for travelers - some longer than others. Some leave a mark, others, just a passing blur.

2020 Peoplescape


Mikey ChongMike Singapore
What else can I say about Mike that I haven't said before? Chiang Mai would have been a passing destination from years ago if not for him - no Nawa Saraan home, no coffee gatherings with friends, no free time to 'follow my excitement'. I would be back to my usual routine of surviving on my wits on a day-to-day basis like I've always done in the many years I'd been traveling.

Financially, he's hurting - of his hotels, only 1 is open for business, but he pays rent on all three. Right now, I represent a 'liability' on his balance sheet - occupying one of the luxury rooms, using up electricity and water, but he wouldn't charge me rent. Not only that, when I offered to pay him a little of what I make, he said, "Fuck you" - his term of endearment. When I made a tidy sum teaching online yoga, I offered to give him the entire amount, and again, his affectionate reply was, "Fuck you". I love this guy!

I don't see him as often as before, but not a day passes without me thanking him for all this abundance. Thank you Mike 🙏.

Mike blogs:
  1. Chiang Mai Peoplescape Aug 31, 2021
  2. Continuing Friendships in Chiang Mai Jun 30, 2021
  3. On the Brink of Hunger, the ENABLERS Come to Light Jun 21, 2021
  4. Morphing Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 31, 2021
  5. Coffeemates, Breadmates and Yogamates in Chiang Mai Jan-Mar 2021
  6. 2020: A Year In Review Dec 31, 2020
  7. Shifting Peoplescape Of Chiang Mai July 2020
  8. 2019: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2019
  9. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24-Mar24, 2019
  10. Resuming Life in Chiang Mai Jan 24, 2019
  11. Overnight in Pai with Mike Jan 1, 2019
  12. 2018: A Year In Review Dec 31, 2018
  13. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Dec 12, 2018 - Jan 1, 2019
  14. Mike Chong Aug 8, 2018
  15. Kneaded and Pampered at Zira Spa Aug 4, 2018
  16. Savoring a Baht 3,500 Birds Nest Soup at Natural Bird Nest by Burapa Aug 3, 2018
  17. Chiang Mai's Amazing Peoplescape Apr 9-23, 2016


Suzi SuchiThe NewYorker USA
We spent time again in early 2020 but like always, someone has to say goodbye. Although we're no longer together, we continued to be a part of each other's lives - through Messenger, through Covid times and despite my clumsy snags.

The New Yorker blogs:
  1. 2020: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2020
  2. 2019: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2019
  3. Friends, Coffeemates and Breadmates (Dec 2019) Dec 31, 2019
  4. The Conscious Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Aug 31, 2019
  5. Kaleidoscope of Chiang Mai's Peoplescape July 27, 2019


Alan and NicolaAlan & Nicola South Africa
Alan: + HeartMath SA | Ecstatic Dance
Nicola: Nicola Symons Yoga
With the ever-shifting peoplescape of Chiang Mai, Alan and Nicola have become an endearing constant to me - the dynamic duo as I call them. Like me, they push their practice and explore looming possibilities. Alan is solid with his Heart Math coaching while Nicola is deep in her Kundalini yoga practice. Together, we dive deep into conscious talk. They are the ones I'm most comfortable with. Coffee and bread gatherings have become our comfortable go-to default. We now have a weekly Monday Bread gathering, and a Tuesday Secret Cafe meet-up. I would always be invited to Alan's gigs whether it be an ecstatic dance or a DJ gig at Goodsouls. I defer to them for counseling whenever I question my judgment or wary of my blind spots. With the 3 of us, money doesn't change hands.

Alan and Nicola blogs:
  1. Continuing Friendships in Chiang Mai Jun 30, 2021
  2. Morphing Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 31, 2021
  3. Coffeemates, Breadmates and Yogamates in Chiang Mai Jan-Mar 2021
  4. Guess Who's Coming to Bread Day? Mar 1, 2021
  5. 2020: A Year In Review Dec 31, 2020
  6. Shifting Peoplescape Of Chiang Mai July 2020
  7. The Podcast Series: Alan "Heart Math" Strydom Jul 17, 2020
  8. Secret Sunrise: Nelson Mandela International Day July 17, 2019
  9. Farewell Picnic with Alan and Nicola July 15, 2019
  10. Optimizing Life thru Heart Math May 8, 15 and 22, 2019
  11. Fascinating Peoplescape Of Chiang Mai II May 22, 2019
  12. Kundalini and Vinyasa Yoga with Nicola Symons May 10, 2019
  13. Secret Sunrise Interactive Dance May 9, 2019
  14. Peoplescape Of Chiang Mai Jan 24 - Mar 13, 2019


Christine ThielChristine Germany
Christine and I have a long and funny story in Chiang Mai, and 2020 added an interesting twist to it. With her movie-star looks, it was crush at first sight for me (early 2019). She knew that, showed no interest romantically, but showed keen interest in the friendship. I wanted more, but had to settle for the crumbs (namely the friendship). So even though we'd hang-out as friends, there was sexual tension on my part. Everything changed when I finally had a girlfriend. Being devoted to my new love, I stopped feeling attracted to all the beautiful women around me - Christine included. And I told her so. She was relieved! LOL. When I broke up with my girlfriend, I met Christine again, and realized that I remained unattracted to her. I told her so again. And again, she was relieved. This started a new phase in our friendship that somehow included her boyfriend (whom I didn't like before for 'getting the girl'). Now, Christine and I hang-out together as good friends, both finding newfound comfort and dimension with it. And yes, I'm now Facebook friends with her boyfriend and we even hug when the occasion calls for it 🙂.

Christine blogs:
  1. Chiang Mai Peoplescape Aug 31, 2021
  2. Yin-Yoga & Hypnosis with Christine Thiel Jul 20, 2021
  3. Pizza Brunch with the Yogis July 1, 2021
  4. Continuing Friendships in Chiang Mai Jun 30, 2021
  5. Morphing Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 31, 2021
  6. Coffeemates, Breadmates and Yogamates in Chiang Mai Jan-Mar 2021
  7. Guess Who's Coming to Bread Day? Mar 1, 2021
  8. 2020: A Year In Review Dec 31, 2020
  9. Shifting Peoplescape Of Chiang Mai July 2020
  10. Friends, Coffeemates And Breadmates Dec 31, 2019


James TuckerJames United Kingdom
Instagram JammyJamesss
James showed up at Yoga in the Park with all his body-ink. He later became a teacher and we attended each other's classes. Two unique things he puts on the table are freedom of movement and a childlike wonder. They both resonate with me and we somehow formed a friendship based on those. As a competition-level breakdancer, he puts many innovative moves into his gentle-stretch yoga class. He is strong and he loves to push it - my kind of fitness paradigm. When he attends my abs class or prava vayu class, we push our limits until we both collapse (I don't do this if there is another student). We'd hang-out for coffee after my class, go on hikes with other yoga friends, and we become 2 kids at play - no grown-up shit.

James blogs:
  1. Pizza Nite with James and Nat July 19, 2021
  2. Morphing Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 31, 2021
  3. 2020: A Year In Review Dec 31, 2020




Traveling

Traveling
Myawaddy MM | Hpa-an MM | Mawlamyine MM | Mae Sot TH| Umphang TH | Sukhothai TH | Phitsanulok TH | Udon Thani TH | Vientiane LAO | Nong Khai TH | Chiang Khan TH | Loei TH | Chiang Mai TH

With the onslaught of the burning season in Chiang Mai, I packed up and headed south in late January, not really knowing where to go. I left with the assumption that I wouldn't come back any more - that life would take me somewhere else. I had a little cash left from work at Nawa Saraan, which took the edge off traveling.

Myanmar: I thought about doing the Goenka-Vipassana meditation course in Yangon, but visa snags made it impossible. I just drifted to places I haven't been to before. Myanmar was a bit of a struggle - only designated hotels for foreigners are available. They are usually too pricey. It's also a dusty place - very third world, much like the rural countryside of my country, the Philippines. Everything there is just a blur now except my Pa-Auk-Vipassana stay at Mawlamyine.

Thailand: From Myanmar, I headed back to Thailand and stayed a bit in Maesot. It was eventful. I taught marketing English to hotel staff, made friends with the owner of Sleep Nest Hostel where I taught yoga to its guests, and almost had a teaching stint at a prestigious all-Chinese school. I headed east and stayed a few nights in Sukhothai, Phitsanulok and did a longer stay in Udon Thani where abundance rained again.

Laos: With my Thai visa expiration, I crossed into Laos and stayed a few days in Vientiane. I'd been there before and it never resonated. I used my time to dabble in an online job, writing software review for a Poland-based company. With no training provided and a tight deadline to meet, it was a pressure cooker - I bailed.

Thailand: Timing was perfect that when I crossed back into Thailand, the Covid lockdown happened - thank God! It would have been a nightmare to get stuck in Vientiane. I defaulted into Nong Khai where I became friends with the owners (Julian, Pao and Benny) of Mut Mee Guest House. I stayed there the entire 3 months I was stranded in Nong Khai. Desperately wanting to get back to Chiang Mai (no bus service), I inched my way, town by town, towards Chiang Mai, discovering the wonders of these quaint sleepy charming towns. I finally reached Chiang Mai and Mike was there to offer me continued stay at his lovely Nawa Saraan Hotel, which by that time was already closed due to the pandemic. In short, I had the whole hotel complex as my home. Again, thank you Mike! My stay during this time marked the best time ever in my life!

Covid Pandemic

Covid Pandemic
The pandemic has caused so much havoc - the first time ever that a pandemic has put everything to a screeching halt on the planet. Schools were shut-down, people were quarantined, businesses were closed, international borders were sealed-off and flights were canceled. Home became a prison cell.

My view is controversial (because I talk about conspiracy) and even insensitive (because others lost loved ones), but I doubt if there is really a pandemic. Why? Because mainstream media (Fox, CNN, Washington Post, NY Times, etc.), social media (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc.) and mainstream institutions (WHO, CDC, etc.) launched a concerted effort to sell a narrative - that there is a pandemic and that everyone should be vaccinated. Deaths are wrongly (and deliberately) labeled a Covid-death. It's too aggressively done to a point where social media posts by individuals were pulled-down if it contradicted the proposed agenda - even something as widely accepted as getting Vitamin D from the sun to boost the immune system. There is massive censorship happening. People still think there is free speech, but it's only free speech if you echo the popular narrative.

I've seen this before. There is a massive public brainwash if the powers-that-be want to sell something to the public. They've done this in invading Panama, Iraq, Sudan, Vietnam, etc. They are extremely clever at doing this - the compliant public stood no chance to exercise critical thinking.

Moreover, reputable molecular biologist and immunologist, (Dolores Cahill, Phd, etc.) and many other well-respected health specialists have risked lives and careers exposing the cover-up and statistics purporting that there is a pandemic. The resulting deaths are roughly the same as the annual predictable deaths from the common flu. Global death statistics say fatality is 1% (same as the common flu) - this is not a pandemic.

I don't know how all this pans out, but as of this writing, there is a race on which vaccine is out - China, India, the US and other countries are all cashing-in on this. With the hyped propaganda, you don't even have to twist the public's arm - they'll beg for the vaccine. Not sure about you, but I will NOT take that vaccine. I don't know what they put in it, and I certainly don't trust them.

Covid 19 Blogs

Tourist Visa

Tourist Visa
Since the Covid lockdown, staying in Thailand has become unpredictable and precarious. There wasn't any set immigration policy in place to allow travelers to plan ahead. It was always at the last minute when something official comes out of Immigration. It was nerve-wracking to be in the dark, not knowing if you have to leave the country or not. What if there was no extension and all international borders remain closed? Would I now have to return back to my country and face quarantine? Luckily, the Thai Immigration remained benevolent by giving 2-month extensions for a reasonable B1900 and even free for the first extensions. In these Covid times, the best place for me is Chiang Mai. I am lucky to be 'stranded' here. I don't mind growing roots here and calling this beautiful place, a permanent home.

Teaching Job

Teaching Job
This came out-of-the-blue when I was in Mae Sot. I met a former principal who took exception to my English and the way I regard teaching. She set me up to be an English teacher in a prestigious Chinese school. Snags made it not viable. But the teaching specter followed me in Udon Thani and other places. It got me excited but despite pursuing it, nothing came of it. C'est la vie.

Long Hair

Long Hair
I had a clean-shaven head for the last 20 years because I couldn't come to terms with my grays. But the paradigm changed. My last shave was Dec 31, 2019. Now, my hair is a full one-year-old. I like it. I like my shaggy gray. I'll grow it some more. Maybe take on a hippie look 🙂.

2020: A Year in Review
Happiness

Happiness
Everybody wants to be happy, but very few are. Am I? Despite 2020 being the best year ever for me, I don't really know if I am happy - it still remains abstract. Is happiness simply the absence of suffering? Or the presence of joy? Alain Boton, philosopher and provocateur, dissects the thinking of the greatest philosophers on how happiness can be attained. At the end of it, I still don't know what it takes to be happy.

Renegade Thinkers

Renegade Thinkers
Stranded in Nong Khai over the pandemic, instead of being consumed by the madness around me (madness on the news, madness on social media, madness with people around me), I decided to focus on something productive - listen to podcasts about magnificent lives and see what I could learn from them. It became a fascinating journey and discovery with many lessons I could glean from. Some lessons I've already woven-into my daily yoga practice, most notably, the Wim Hof breathing method.

On the Horizon

On the Horizon
Usually, at the end of the year, there are looming prospects for the new year. But with all the uncertainties out there, any plan is merely wishful thinking. International borders are still locked for the casual tourist (me), no telling how long Thai Immigration will keep extending the visa exemption (mine ends Dec 30), with the burning season already starting in Chiang Mai, I will have to leave soon, but where?, with my passport expiring in 2021, will I have to leave for the Philippines? The immediate future is too unpredictable it pays to just wing the moment by making sound decisions.

Ending Thoughts
Despite the turmoil and chaos this year, I maintain that this is a very exciting year to be alive and take ringside seat with all this madness. 2020 is bound to be a pivotal year that will define the way things are done in the coming years and the coming generations. At the very least, I can tell my grandkids, "I was there when shit hit the fan!"

--- 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
Chiang Mai Trains by Train36.com
  1. Chiang Mai trains for Bangkok - 2 day trains, 3 night trains, daily schedule
  2. Train 14 to Bangkok - departs 5pm daily, arrives BKK 6:15am, 1st class and 2nd class sleeping accomodation, Special Express
  3. Chiang Mai trains to other destinations -
Bangkok to Chiang Mai 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
Loei to Chiang Mai by Bus
  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. Pizza Nite with Nut, Simona and Malee Sep 23, 2021
  2. Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep) Sep 23, 2021
  3. Making Cornbread Sep 15, 2021
  4. Kombucha: 2nd Batch Sep 11, 2021
  5. Making German Stollen Bread Sep 9, 2021
  6. Pizza Nite with Jackson, Goi and Paapu Sep 6, 2021
  7. Chiang Mai Peoplescape Aug 31, 2021
  8. Making Homemade Kombucha Aug 30, 2021
  9. Wrong Question to Ask This Crowd Aug 29, 2021
  10. Pizza Nite with Tom, Chunyah and Goi Aug 20, 2021
  11. Pizza Nite with Moms and Kids Aug 15, 2021
  12. Bahya Kumbhaka (breath-hold on the exhale) Aug 14, 2021
  13. Everybody's Only Friend Aug 13, 2021
  14. Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies) Aug 11, 2021
  15. Fighting Infection through Yoga Aug 3, 2021
  16. Too Close for Friendship Aug 2, 2021
  17. Manifesting: Epicurus' Pursuit Jul 31, 2021
  18. Homemade Rum Raisin Ice Cream Jul 30, 2021
  19. Ice Bath at Nawa Saraan Healing Space Jul 25, 2021
  20. Pizza Nite + Slack Line + Hammock Jul 23, 2021
  21. Yin-Yoga & Hypnosis with Christine Thiel Jul 20, 2021
  22. Pizza Nite with James and Nat Jul 19, 2021
  23. Antara Kumbhaka on Nadi Shodan Pranayama: Yogic Breath-Hold on the Inhale Jul 17, 2021
  24. Moving and Cashing-Out Bitcoin Jun 2 - Jul 11, 2021
  25. Hatha Yoga: Controlling the Switch Jul 7, 2021
  26. Yoga Classes with Calum Mar 27 - Jul 4, 2021
  27. Hike to Wat Pa Thammachat Waterfall Jul 2, 2021
  28. Pizza Brunch with the Yogis July 1, 2021
  29. Continuing Friendships in Chiang Mai Jun 30, 2021
  30. On the Brink of Hunger, the ENABLERS Come to Light Jun 21, 2021
  31. Hatha Vinyasa Yoga with Katharine Day Jun 17, 2021
  32. Pranayama Basics II Jun 16, 2021
  33. 36-Hour Love Life Jun 11, 2021
  34. Pranayama Basics I Jun 9, 2021
  35. Biohackers Meetup in Chiang Mai Jun 6, 2021
  36. Learning How to Breathe Jun 2, 2021
  37. Not the Usual Day-to-Day Life May 31, 2021
  38. Morphing Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 31, 2021
  39. Breathwork & Ice Bath with Jason Ryer of Zen Strength May 23, 2021
  40. It's Raining Bell Peppers May 7, 2021
  41. Yoga Classes with Nana Apr 20, 2021
  42. You Want to be Wonder Woman? Apr 8, 2021
  43. Kunjal Kriya / Vamana Dhauti (induced vomiting) Apr 1, 2021
  44. Coffeemates, Breadmates and Yogamates in Chiang Mai Jan-Mar 2021
  45. Varisara Dhauti (cleansing of the entire digestive tract) Mar 26, 2021
  46. Spiritual Backpacker Interview by Napasorn 'Cherry' Suvarnapradip Mar 23, 2021
  47. Private One-on-One Yoga Classes with Doriana Feb 17 - Mar 14, 2021
  48. Transformational Life Events Mar 13, 2021
  49. Guess Who's Coming to Bread Day? Mar 1, 2021
  50. Mula Shodhana (anal cleansing) Feb 27, 2021
  51. Are You My Queen? Feb 25, 2021
  52. Breaking the 5-Minute Breath-hold Barrier Feb 25, 2021
  53. Kirtan with Chiang Mai's Khun Thai Seekers Feb 7, 2021
  54. Breaking the 4-minute Breath-hold Feb 7, 2021
  55. Pranayama Primer Feb 2, 2021
  56. Heartbreak in every Song Jan 24, 2021
  57. The Silent Killer is Baaack! Jan 12, 2021
  58. Learning the Thai Language Jan 9, 2021
  59. 2020: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2020
  60. Reversing/Slowing Down the Aging Process Dec 30, 2020
  61. Hike to Huay Keaw Waterfall Dec 20, 2020
  62. Yoga Mat Dec 19, 2020
  63. Hiking to Wat Pha Lat along the Monk's Trail Dec 19, 2020
  64. Are You Psycho? Dec 9, 2020
  65. Muffin Man Dec 8, 2020
  66. Polyamory Dec 4, 2020
  67. The Wim Hof Ice Bath Dec 3, 2020
  68. RSVP Nov 25, 2020
  69. High Intensity Interval Yoga (Yoga + HIIT) Nov 14, 2020
  70. Cleansing the Nadis (Energy Pathway) Nov 13, 2020
  71. Yoga for a 360-degree Core Nov 6, 2020
  72. Edward Witten: 'the smartest living physicist' Nov 4, 2020
  73. Srinivasa Ramanujan: Mathematician of the Divine Oct 27, 2020
  74. Bashar as Channeled by Darryl Anka Oct 26, 2020
  75. Vinyasa Krama and Ashtanga Yoga with Aida Yoga Oct 18, 2020
  76. Deepak Chopra: author, lecturer, healer Oct 12, 2020
  77. Facebook Friends Oct 1, 2020
  78. Chiang Mai Peoplescape Aug-Sep 2020 Sep 30, 2020
  79. Siddhis (yogic super powers) Sep 30, 2020
  80. Learning the Import/Export Trade Sep 4, 2020
  81. Music and Magic at Justin's Birthday Bash Sep 3, 2020
  82. Biggest Stone in his Shoe Sep 1, 2020
  83. Abandoned Aug 25, 2020
  84. Intelligent Romantic Break-up Aug 25, 2020
  85. Dad-Zoned Aug 18, 2020
  86. Public Display of Affection Aug 9, 2020
  87. Gabriella's Birthday Bash at Mothership Resort Aug 8-9, 2020
  88. Shifting Peoplescape of Chiang Mai July 31, 2020
  89. Yoga Class for Strength and Muscle Jul 30, 2020
  90. Yoga Class for Optimum Digestion July 29, 2020
  91. Yoga Class for Healthy Eyes Jul 27, 2020
  92. Hippie Night at Nawa Saraan Healing Space July 24, 2020
  93. The Podcast Series: Alan "Heart Math" Strydom Jul 17, 2020
  94. Prana Vayu Adhitthana Yoga Class July 11-12, 2020
  95. Coming Back to Chiang Mai Jun 29, 2020
  96. Goodbye Chiang Mai Jan 23, 2020
  97. Prasnopanishad: Understanding Prana Jan 17, 2020
  98. Hiking the Monk's Trail Jan 15, 2020
  99. Chaturanga Jan 10, 2020
  100. You Spooned Me Jan 3, 2020
  101. 2019: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2019
  102. Friends, Coffeemates and Breadmates (Dec 2019) Dec 31, 2019
  103. Visiting Mae Sot Dec 27-30, 2019
  104. Let's Make it About You - an Epiphany Dec 17, 2019
  105. Shut-Up! Dec 7, 2019
  106. Roasted Red Bell Pepper Puree Dec 3, 2019
  107. Coffeemates and Breadmates (Nov 2019) Nov 30, 2019
  108. Bhujangini Mudra Nov 25, 2019
  109. Mathangini Mudra Nov 24, 2019
  110. Kaka Mudra Nov 23, 2019
  111. Pasini Mudra Nov 20, 2019
  112. Aswini Mudra Nov 18, 2019
  113. Sambhavi Mudra Nov 16, 2019
  114. Manduka Mudra Nov 15, 2019
  115. Tataka Mudra Nov 14, 2019
  116. Sakti Calana Mudra Nov 10, 2019
  117. Vajroli Mudra Nov 9, 2019
  118. Coffeemates and Breadmates (Oct 2019) Oct to Nov 5, 2019
  119. Yoni Mudra Nov 1, 2019
  120. Viparita Karani Mudra Oct 31, 2019
  121. Khecari Mudra Oct 30, 2019
  122. Mahadeva Mudra Oct 28, 2019
  123. Sacred Cacao - Chakra Dance Journey Oct 26, 2019
  124. Partner Healing with Natascha Oct 24, 2019
  125. Maha Bandha Mudra Oct 24, 2019
  126. Point-Of-Failure Birthday Workout Oct 22, 2019
  127. Mula Bandha Mudra Oct 21, 2019
  128. Hugfest at Thapae Gate, Chiang Mai Oct 19, 2019
  129. Anushasan Mudra Oct 18, 2019
  130. Ling Mudra Oct 17, 2019
  131. Jalandhara Bandha Mudra Oct 15, 2019
  132. Learning Thai with Cee Oct 13, 2019
  133. Uddiyana Bandha Mudra Oct 10, 2019
  134. Nabho Mudra Oct 9, 2019
  135. Maha Mudra Oct 7, 2019
  136. 20 Essential Mudras by T. Krishnamacharya Oct. 6, 2019
  137. Mindfulness Gong Bath by Vee (Veerayuth Pongsiri) Oct 3, 2019
  138. Cuddle Party by Abundant Love CM Oct 1, 2019
  139. Vayu Mudra Oct 1, 2019
  140. Visa-Run to Tachileik, Myanmar Sep 28, 2019
  141. Sankalpa Mudra Sep 27, 2019
  142. Surya Pradarshini Mudra Sep 26, 2019
  143. Eye-Gazing at Heart Space Sep 20, 2019
  144. Prana Vayu (Pranic Wind) Sep 20, 2019
  145. 2-Week Yoga Challenge by Agnese Erba Sep 17, 2019
  146. The Mudra Project Sep 13, 2019
  147. Sunday Vinyasa Flow with Marina Forster Sep 8, 2019
  148. Shamanic Breathwork by Rachel Constantino Sep 4, 2019
  149. The Conscious Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Aug 31, 2019
  150. Of Winos and Yogis Aug 26, 2019
  151. The 9 Jhanas of Buddha Aug 22, 2019
  152. Full Moon Ceremony at Heart Space Aug 15, 2019
  153. Yin Yoga - Water Element by Martina Barabas Aug 15, 2019
  154. Hatha Mix Yoga with Christin Aug 13, 2019
  155. Boy Blues Bar Rocks Chiang Mai Aug 5, 2019
  156. Back to my Beloved Chiang Mai Aug 1, 2019
  157. Kaleidoscope of Chiang Mai's Peoplescape July 27, 2019
  158. Secret Sunrise: Nelson Mandela International Day July 17, 2019
  159. Farewell Picnic with Alan and Nicola July 15, 2019
  160. Secret Sunrise: Water July 3, 2019
  161. Hotel Review: Arun Suite June 27, 2019
  162. Bruce Lipton: Epigentics to Transcend Genes June 24, 2019
  163. Optimizing Life thru Heart Math May 8, 15 and 22, 2019
  164. Connective Cacao and Sound Journey June 12, 2019
  165. Chiangmai BLUES June 6, 2019
  166. Hatha Slow Flow with Neil Jefferson June 3, 2019
  167. Meditating with One Million Meditators Movement June 1, 2019
  168. Vinyasa Happy Flow Series by Vaida May 31, 2019
  169. Muay Thai at the Chiang Mai Boxing Stadium May 30, 2019
  170. Yoga Flow Through the 7 Chakras by Sabrina Pilz May 30, 2019
  171. The Outsiders (people you need to push out of your sacred circle) May 31, 2019
  172. Fascinating Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 22, 2019
  173. World Meditation Day at Heart Space May 21, 2019
  174. Abs Yoga by Gigit May 12, 2019
  175. Kundalini and Vinyasa Yoga with Nicola Symons May 10, 2019
  176. Secret Sunrise Interactive Dance May 9, 2019
  177. Tok Sen Massage from Ying May 8, 2019
  178. Bruschetta: Nawa Saraan Style Apr 22, 2019
  179. Thai Cooking at Pra Nang Thai Cookery School Apr 20, 2019
  180. Bonding with the Elephants in Chiang Mai Apr 11, 2019
  181. Ziplining in Chiang Mai with Eagle Track Zipline Apr 10, 2019
  182. Getting Thai Massage from Chiang Mai's Best (Lar Thanakrit Khamtanong) Mar 21, 2019
  183. Being the Soul of Nawa Saraan Hotel Mar 18, 2019
  184. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24 - Mar 13, 2019
  185. Curing Cancer with Yoga? Feb 21, 2019
  186. International Training Massage School (ITM): Level 1 Feb 11-15, 2019
  187. Sandesch Album Launch by Christoph Joerg Feb 13, 2019
  188. Meditation in a Sensory Deprivation Tank at Float Chiang Mai Jan 29, 2019
  189. Reiki Share at the Mastermind Brain Spa Jan 26, 2019
  190. Resuming Life in Chiang Mai Jan 24, 2019
  191. 4 Days in Chiang Mai at Nawa Saraan Hotel Jan 2-6, 2019
  192. Mike Chong Aug 8, 2018
  193. An Intimate Conversation with my Universe in Chiang Mai Aug 8, 2018
  194. Kneaded and Pampered at Zira Spa Aug 4, 2018
  195. Savoring a Baht 3,500 Birds Nest Soup at Natural Bird Nest by Burapa Aug 3, 2018
  196. Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot Aug 1, 2018
  197. Laughter Yoga with Saffiya Arnous July 31, 2018
  198. Yoga with Adam at Hidden House Yoga, Chiang Mai July 29, 2018
  199. 2 Weeks in Chiang Mai July 25 - Aug 7, 2018
  200. A First Timer in Chiang Mai Apr 9-23, 2016
  201. Chiang Mai's Amazing Peoplescape Apr 9-23, 2016
  202. Dance Mandala in Chiang Mai at The Yoga Tree Apr 19, 2016
  203. Songkran Waterfight Festival in Chiang Mai Apr 13-15, 2016
  204. 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

Book Train Tickets in Thailand Online by Train36.com

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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