November was a great month for us because we were able to finally visit the northern city of Chiang Mai, Thailand. This is a place that Liz had always wanted to visit, but we had never had the time. Being in the northern part of the country, there are mountains all around and the weather is a bit cooler. In fact, some nights were a bit chilly — especially if we were traveling up in the mountains!
We really love everything about Chiang Mai. The whole area is much more laid back, and the people are incredibly friendly. The area is also very expat friendly. There are a lot of people who live here from all over the world, making for a vibrant community.
During the month of November, we were able to participate in a number of festivals. There are a lot of festivals in Chiang Mai, so there is always something fun to do! We visited during the Loy Krathong festival, where thousands of paper lanterns fill the sky and floating candles / flower displays (Krathongs) line the river.
We were also here in Chiang Mai during a golf tournament (which of course, we attended), as well as the holiday of the King’s birthday (a very big deal here). We also attended the International Hot Air Balloon Festival, as well as an enormous Art and Design show – which took over the whole city with local craftsman and designers showing off their goods. A truly awesome experience if you enjoy art and local crafts. We wanted to take everything home with us!
Chiang Mai has been everything we hoped it would be, and much more. There is still so much to see and do here, we really love it!
Homestay Phai (4 days) = $56
Weekend trip to Myanmar (2 nights) – $30
Apartment (1 month) = $215 (6500 baht rent + 500 utilities)
Motorbike rental + gasoline (1 month) = $105 (3500 baht)
Misc. public transportation = $53
Misc spending (food, fun, shopping, massages, etc.) = $480 (average of 4,000 baht per week)
- Finally being able to see the Loy Krathong Festival in person, and participate by making our own homemade krathongs!
- Getting an apartment and making ourselves at home here in Chiang Mai and living like the locals.
- Learning to ride a motorbike and driving around in traffic, like the locals
- Josh’s time on a Thai TV game show
- Getting our first tutoring students and being able to help teach them English while living here in Chiang Mai.
- Having dinner with other inspiring travel bloggers who are also living here in Chiang Mai. We had so much fun with them and talked for hours and hours. Plus, we took the whole group Geocaching at night after dinner!
- Taking a short trip to Myanmar. It was very unexpected, but we enjoyed the short visit!
Liz – I would definitely have to say that being in Chiang Mai for the Loy Krathong festival was a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to experience it, and I really loved the fact that we were able to make our own Krathongs. It was a beautiful holiday with music, fireworks, parades, lanterns in the air and on the water. Just loved being a part of it!
Josh – Being on the Thai TV Game Show! It was totally unexpected, and we never would have had that moment had we not been living like a local here in Chiang Mai and visiting the local mall to drop off resumes and shop at the supermarket. By participating, I also won a hat; which was perfect because I had been wanting a new hat. Even though it has Thai writing on it, I wear it proudly and it’s a great memory!