Ali’s Journal Entry #1 – Settling in Chiang Mai, Thailand

chiang mai

settling-in chiang mai

Hey everyone! Hello from Chiang Mai.

I meant to write way sooner, but I’ve found that being in a brand new country, schlepping around to different hotels/hostels/B&B’s every 2-3 days while trying to do all the sight-seeing and meeting with friends and acquaintences, is an extremely exhausting and time consuming task. Especially when you top all that off with starting your period on the day you land, dealing with jet-lag, coming down with a flu, and finally, spraining your foot. Oy.

Anyway, here’s my first official Journal Entry from Thailand!

It hasn’t even been a full 3 weeks, but it feels like we’ve been here at least double that amount of time. I think part of the reason is because we ended up doing a lot more things than we had expected. We thought we were just going to have a whole lot of down-time. Hanging out and chillin’.  But, nope, we stayed quite busy! I guess we’re not as easy-going and relaxed as we’d like to think of ourselves to be.

So Much To Do

Here are some of the things we’ve done so far:

Thailand Highlights - Expat Yogi

  • We visited the temple grounds of Wat Pho – home of the giant reclining Buddha,
  • we had a river front dinner with an amazing view of Wat Arun,
  • we rode up and down Chao Phraya River on river taxis where we got to see Bangkok from the water,
  • we explored the 24 Hour Flower Market – one of the largest in the world!
  • we ate a ton of amazing Thai food and had the best Pad Thai of my life for $1 at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant,
  • we walked around Khao San Road with hundreds of backpackers and tourists and bought my first pair of elephant pants there,
  • we learned to haggle and ride around in TukTuks around Bangkok,
  • we took a 10 hour night ride across Thailand on a double decker bus fully equipped with rainbow disco lights,
  • we explored the trendy Nimman area of Chiang Mai,
  • we went to a friend’s birthday party who happens to be a fellow Portlander in Chiang Mai,
  • we made new friends – meeting up with multiple friend’s of friends who were either visiting or are living in Thailand,
  • we found our new apartment,
  • we joined a local gym,
  • we worked out,
  • we took yoga classes,
  • we lounged by the pool,
  • we worked,
  • we ate some more,
  • we learned to say “Hello”, “Thank you”, and “Check, please” in Thai, and
  • we finally took some time to breathe and take it all in.

That’s a lot, right? It sure feels like it to me. 🙂

The Dust has Settled in Chiang Mai

lounging by the pool in Thailand

We’re finally starting to feel more settled into being in Thailand. And actually relaxing more. The initial culture shock is starting to wear off, we’re getting a better understanding of how things work around here. Feeling less like fish out of water.

We’re also getting to know some of the locals in our neighborhood, and we’re starting to find our regular routines with work, food, gym, yoga, and play. It feels really nice to get some semblance of normalcy back into our lives.

Our Thai Apartment in Chiang Mai

Finding our apartment played a huge role in making us feel more at “home”. It’s basically a small hotel room we’re renting out for long-term, but simply having our own space has allowed us to shift our mindset from on-the-go to settled. Getting an apartment is much more cost effective than staying at nightly hotels, too. Our current place is only about $150 USD/month, before utilities. We save money on our accommodations = we have more money for other fun things.

Chiang Mai has been our planned destination from the beginning, and so far, everything seems damn near perfect. Plenty of people who speak english, internet connection everywhere, friendly people, warm weather, great food, and more. The city is not as modern as what we’re used to back in the States, but we don’t mind that too much. It’s modern enough.

One of the main reasons why we chose CM was the high population of other expats and specifically, digital nomads, who settle in this city. We hope that surrounding ourselves with other like-minded entrepreneurs will help energize, motivate, and propel our own business to another level. We’re looking forward to making many positive connections and making our location-independent dream life a reality. We’re on our way!

Coming Up

We are planning on a trip south to one of the islands or to a place called Pai, a beautiful small town nestled in the mountains of Thailand. Or maybe both. 🙂

Koh Lanta, Thailand

Image of Pai, Thailand

Which should we do first?

We also have to go on our first Visa Run at the end of March.

All in all, we are having a great time and things are moving along smoothly and according to our (loose) plans.

Stay tuned!


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