Sawadee ca [definitely a phonetic spelling] from Chiang Mai!
And a very Merry Christmas! I knew I wanted to be in Thailand for the holidays and chose Chiang Mai for Christmas, thinking that being up in the North would be a great way to relax and get a bit of culture for the week. My plan was to head back South on the 26th, but when my new friends said I should stay, I agreed.
My timing in CM was perfect in that I crossed paths again with other travelers I’d met on the trip so far, was able to finally meet in person some of my online travel friends, and spend Christmas with some incredibly successful travel bloggers and digital nomads. It was a great chance to connect with the people around me and time out a bit from the go-go-go of travel, while still getting a lot of work done.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t get a chance to explore of course.
In the city itself, you can walk around and temples will just pop up from around the corner of a city building. The temples continue the awe that I found in Myanmar for the incredible detail and ornateness.
After Christmas, I joined my new group of friends to the Grand Canyon of Chiang Mai. This is an old quarry that began to retain rainwater. As it has filled, it has become an attraction for tourists and locals. You can enjoy the day on a raft in the water, up at a restaurant overlooking the cliffs, or, if you’re like us, jumping off of them. I only learned of the horror stories after I’d finished jumping. Though, from the tallest, I did not have a clean entry and will bear that bruise for weeks to come. But I did it, and am happy that I did. When I commented that I thought I was the only woman to jump from the tallest all day, my friends who had been there a collective dozen times said they’d never seen a woman do it, ever. So shout out to the badass chick in the hostel who also took the leap the next day.
This week was also the start of what has turned into a pad thai cleanse. It wouldn’t be the craziest diet in the world.
This is also the week that I finished putting together my video to enter the second Global Degree contest. It was a great chance to reflect on the amazing year that I’ve had, as I struggled to narrow down clips and pictures to 3 minutes. And even moreso, to reflect on last year’s entry compared to this. I’ve grown as a photographer, video editor, traveler and most importantly, human being.
Chiang Mai was one of the rare occasions where I’ve met people, they say I should stay, and I did, because I had enough cushion in the itinerary.
To get a sense of Chiang Mai and Thai hospitality, I’ll take a moment to rave about JJ and my hostel, the Living Place 3. In all honesty, I was super unimpressed when I got there. A nice social area downstairs, but nothing else is a wow. Until you meet JJ. She runs the place and does it the way that you would hope any amazing human being would. She connects with the guests. Knows everyone’s name. When one backpacker showed up, realizing he had left his wallet in the songthaew, he asked if he could wait to pay until the morning. He offered her all the US cash he had. She refused it. She even went into her kitty, grabbing some Thai Baht. She handed it to him, making sure he had enough Baht to eat. This is in no way a sponsored post, but I just was in awe of the way that she chooses to run her business, so I want everyone who goes there to visit her (bonus: the best pad thai in possibly the world is right across the street).