Life in Chiang Mai

I’m sitting at my favourite beer spot in Chiang Mai. It’s Friday afternoon and I’ve spent the day typing away in my apartment, so it’s good to get out for some fresh air. I’m sitting out the front of the bar where I can look out over the street, chatting to my wife about our travels and life here in Chiang Mai. The dog that lives across the street is out and about and looking happy as he always does. He pisses on someone’s motorbike and gets chased away by its owner.

The sun has begun to set in the west, casting that beautiful soft light on the scene that can only occur at this time of the day. A couple of farangs walk past laughing and chatting excitedly. I look around and notice that everyone here is happy – the lady across the street playing with her toddler son, a couple of local guys chatting over a few beers. Even the lady over at the massage place looks happy despite not having any customers.

View of a quiet street in Chiang Mai, Thailand

I finish my beer and order another. The shower that passed by earlier in the afternoon has left some clouds behind to capture the last light of the day, turning the sky into a canvas of beautiful colours. Our conversation has turned to times past and things yet to come.

As night sets in, the street lights up with the unnatural light of the city. The dog across the street is now napping inside, his owner browsing on a computer nearby. I drain my beer and pay the bill. Our stomachs are now rumbling and we’re off walking down the street in search of food.

Sompet Market in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Our walk takes us past Sompet Market where the fresh produce vendors are packing up for the night. A European lady is holding one of them up as she tries to decide what fruit to buy. The fruit shake place across the street is busy for this time of the day.

We reach the end of the quiet soi where it joins onto the busy moat road, a never ending river of cars, motorbikes and tuk tuks that circle the Old City at all times of the day. We turn right and head to our favourite noodle and fried rice joint. We’re regulars here and they recognise us as soon as we walk in. We’re greeted with lots of smiles and “sawadee kup’s” and “sawadee ka’s”.

It’s only a few minutes before I have a huge plate of fried rice sitting in front of me. I squeeze some lime over it and drizzle on some chili marinated in fish sauce before mixing it all together. It only takes one spoonful for me to be in heaven. The look on my wife’s face says that the feeling is mutual.

Fried rice in Chiang Mai, Thailand

It’s not long before my plate is completely scraped clean and I’m paying the bill. We leave with lots of “aroy’s” and “kob khun cup’s” and “ka’s” and “see you next time’s”. It’s time to head back to our apartment, but not before one last stop.

We head north to our favourite fruit shake stand. They recognise us here as well but are a lot shyer about it. We order two banana shakes and the lady practically has the bananas peeled before I can finish my sentence. She knows what we like.

We wait patiently as the lady whizzes up her magical smoothie concoction. Pleasantries are exchanged along with money and fruit shakes and we begin walking back to our apartment. The first sip is a pure delight as we look over at each other. We’ve both got the same stupid grin on our faces.

Life here in Chiang Mai is good. We’re going to miss this place when we leave.

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21 comments… add one
  • Cheap Flights Trip Oct 8, 2013

    Thailand is very beautiful and my favorite destination in the world. really amazing article..

  • Laura Oct 9, 2013

    A lovely piece, it makes me want to go back – enjoy the rest of your time there!

    • Dean Wickham Oct 10, 2013

      Thanks Laura. I think I am going to keep finding myself returning to Chiang Mai. I love it.

  • cindy thetravelgal Oct 9, 2013

    The happiness of small things. So lovely.

    • Dean Wickham Oct 10, 2013

      Hey Cindy. I’m finding myself appreciating those small things more when I travel these days. It’s no longer about tourist attractions etc. It’s the experience of just being in a place. Cheers

  • Getting excited about reading more. Great article post.Truly thank you! Wonderful.

  • Traveling Ted Oct 10, 2013

    Don’t fret lady at massage parlor with no customers. I will be there soon 🙂 Chiang Mai is a lovely place and this post explains why I planned a three day trip there and ended up staying two weeks. You did a good job of capturing the vibe.

    • Dean Wickham Oct 10, 2013

      That seems to happen to a lot of people. It’s just one of those places that draws you in 😉 Cheers Ted!

  • Kristy Oct 10, 2013

    I guess Vietnamese people are one of the happiest people in the world base on your story. :p

    • Dean Wickham Oct 12, 2013

      Do you mean Thai people? If so then yes. They really are very happy people 😉

  • Jennifer Oct 10, 2013

    It really sounds like u love chiang mai. I’ve been 3 times now and I like it but I must admit I didnt really see why people love the place. I must admit the market is pretty good though.

    • Dean Wickham Oct 12, 2013

      Hi Jennifer. Not everyone likes Chiang Mai. I think I really appreciate the place a lot more now that I’ve spent so much time there. It’s a really great place to live in.

  • Jessica de Heij Oct 13, 2013

    In november I’m going for the second time there. I love the city but only staying for a few days. Wish I could stay longer…. 🙂

    • Dean Wickham Oct 14, 2013

      Hi Jessica. Any amount of time in Chiang Mai is good. I hope you have a great trip…and eat lots of Thai food for me! 😉

  • This is a lovely article about your life in Chiang Mai. I also love Thailand and after travelling around Asia I gave up my secure job in Europe and settled in Bangkok. I also have my own travel blog and I wanted to share my Thailand pages with you.

    • Dean Wickham Oct 17, 2013

      Hi Charles. Thanks for the comment. What’s it like living in Bangkok?

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