The first part of December while we were still living and working in Chiang Mai, Thailand, we received some good news. Josh was offered a job as an English teacher in Guangzhou, China! It happened very fast, and we were quite excited for him to get such a great opportunity. However, the teacher Josh was going to replace was having a baby…very soon.
So we suddenly only had a couple weeks to wrap up our lives in Chiang Mai and make our way to China. We were a bit sad at the thought of leaving Chiang Mai. We had just gotten used to life in Chiang Mai, our current jobs were great, and we were having fun exploring this awesome town and the beautiful countryside in the area. Plus, we had made some great friends!
For the first couple of weeks in December, we attended a hot air balloon festival, a gigantic art fair, we visited the Chiang Mai zoo, and we even ventured out a couple hours into the countryside to explore a cave and local hot springs.
Before leaving Thailand, we did make a stop in the awesome town of Sukothai. It was a 5 hour bus ride south of Chiang Mai. We had heard a bit about it, but weren’t really sure what to expect. It turned out to be one of the best surprises of our time in Thailand!
We loved every minute of this place — amazing history, beautiful ruins, friendly people, and yummy food! ** STAY tuned for a whole section on Sukothai. We enjoyed it so much that we even extended our visit for another day.
Then we took an 8 hour bus ride down to Bangkok, where we stayed for a couple days just to get some final vaccinations before flying to Guangzhou. We arrived in Guangzhou only a few days before Christmas. In China, we didn’t think it would be much of a holiday. However, we were pleasantly surprised at all the holiday decorations and Christmas music at the stores. In fact, Josh even got the chance to play Santa Claus and deliver presents to his new students.
We were also lucky enough to become friends with a couple of Josh’s co-workers and his boss. They were really wonderful and even took us out to celebrate Christmas and gave us some gifts to put under our little Christmas tree in our apartment so that we could unwrap.
To cap off the month, and 2014, we headed out with some new friends in Guangzhou to the “new town” area — near the famous Canton Tower, which lights up beautifully at night. The crowds were enormous, so we weren’t able to get close to the river for the festivities, but we enjoyed other celebrations around town.
We are really looking forward to spending 2015 here in Guangzhou and exploring other parts of China. Thanks for following along – and we wish everyone a happy 2015!!!
December Total Spending: $1410
- Apartment in Chiang Mai (8 days) = $50
- Apartment in Guangzhou (paid through the end of the year already) = 0
- Motorbike rental (2 weeks) = paid last month
- Bus tickets (to Sukhothai and Bangkok) = $40
- Airfare from Bangkok to Guangzhou = $300
- Misc. public transport around GZ = $20
Misc food & fun – $1000
- Seeing the sunrise over the ruins in beautiful Sukhothai, Thailand
- Visiting San Kamphaeng Hot Springs outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Attending the hot air balloon festival in Chiang Mai
- Getting our final travel vaccinations in Bangkok (no more shots in the arm!)
- Arriving in China for the first time EVER!
- Spending Christmas and New Years in our home here in China, with our new friends
Liz – I had a lot of favorite moments in December. But I think my absolute favorite was when we took a day trip from Chiang Mai on the motorbike to go explore a cave and San Kamphaeng hot springs. The trip took us a couple hours out into the countryside, and I really loved the feeling of driving the motorbike with the wind in our faces and gazing out at the beautiful landscapes. We passed small villages and fields, all with a backdrop of beautiful mountains. Not only was it a fun drive, but the hot springs were wonderful and the mineral pools felt so good to just soak in. I really wish we could have spent more time there! ** POST TO COME **
Josh – This is easy. It was when I dressed up as Santa Claus and delivered gifts to my students at their homes here in Guangzhou! It was so much fun, and it was totally unexpected. The looks on my students faces were priceless, and I enjoyed taking photos with them.