There’s just something about Chiang Mai! Kathy and I came here over 3 years ago and stayed over a year that time. Yes, we visited other cities and countries but we always came back to Chiang Mai. This time we came and have stayed a solid year. Except for a brief visit to Bangkok we have stayed in Chiang Mai for the whole time.
It’s hard to describe the magic that happens in Chiang Mai and I’m not sure if you can feel it during a brief visit.
Chiang Mai Magic occurs in the over 300 temples, places of such sacred beauty that I never get tired of visiting them.
Chiang Mai Magic is at the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs, one of my favorite places to practice self care.
Chiang Mai Magic is in all the wonderful festivals that occur throughout the year, especially Yi Peng, the Flower Festival and Songkran.
Chiang Mai Magic is overwhelmingly at Inthakin Green Village. There is so much magic and healing here that I have written several blogs about it.
Chiang Mai Magic happens for Kathy on the motorbike. She experiences magic on her many rides in and around the city. If you want to experience Chiang Mai in this way, I highly recommend the Honda Safety Riding School.
Most of all I think Chiang Mai Magic is the people, the beautiful Thai people, the fabulous members of the African American community here and beloved friends and family who have visited. The magic is in planned events and random meet ups. The magic happens just walking down the street where I always see and greet someone I know.
We leave Chiang Mai and it’s magic tomorrow. I’m sad to leave all this magic behind. However, part of the magic of Chiang Mai is that I know we can’t stay away for long. BOLT loves you Chiang Mai and we’ll be back soon.
It has been a whirlwind month for BOLT. In addition to our wonderful stay at Inthakin Green Village we had a delightful time playing host to our dear friends, Lecia and Sergio.
It was wonderful showing them around, playing tourist and sharing with them the Thailand that we know and love.
Kathy and I are not crazy about Bangkok but it is a must stop for your first visit to Thailand. We were waiting for Sergio and Lecia at the Air BnB we rented and had planned a fun-packed 5 day stay in Bangkok. The first day we spent shopping at the humoungous Platinum Fashion Mall. We had fun, got great bargins and returned home exhausted.
We had a ball the next day, being pure tourists at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. We even got to enjoy a boat ride during a monsoon rain!
Of course, no visit to Bangkok is complete without going to the Grand Palace.
Thanks to Lecial and Sergio we finally got to visit Wat Pho.
In contrast to the sacred beauty of Wat Pho we got to experience another type of beauty…the faboulous queens at the Stranger Bar drag show!
One of the most fun things we did in Bangkok was also the cheapest! We took the local (15 Baht) boat and saw the city from a different view point.
We loved showing Lecia and Sergio around our beloved city of Chiang Mai. They got to meet some of our friends, do more shopping and enjoy the local cuisine. Lecia and Sergio also got to spend some time at an elephant camp.
It was crazy fun seeing my bestie enjoy her first tuk-tuk drive!
We ended our friend’s time in Thailand in the best way possible: a healing stay at Inthakin Green Village.
Saying good-bye was bittersweet but I know we will be seeing our friends again soon. Afterall, who can resist Thailand?
If you are planning a visit to Thailand please let us know. We would be honored to show you around Chiang Mai and the surrounding areas.
Our wait to see Wat Pho had nothing to do with long lines, closures or any of the other reasons one might wait for something. Kathy has wanted to see this amazing statue of the Buddha Nirvana since we first arrived in Thailand (over 2 years ago). Because of a scammer tuk tuk driver we missed the opportunity the last time we visited Bangkok. This time we knew we would be sure to see it. Oh how beautiful and amazing it is!
It is hard to truly show the majestic size. I did my best with my little camera phone. You can get an idea of the size by seeing Kathy’s head near the end.
The statue was built by King Rama I in the 16th century. It is one of the largest Buddha statues in Thailand. It measures 15 m high and 46 m long!
The head and feet are beautiful in detail, especially the bottom of the feet!
The grounds of the temple are beautiful and tranquil. There are many other statues and temple buildings as well.
I especially enjoyed the lovely fountains. Wat Pho was truly the highlight of our trip to Bangkok. If you visit be sure to see it!
My dear friend the phenomenal Lacey Clark asked the question that inspired this post. She asked what does community mean to me. While I can’t give a precise definition I can share what community looks and feels like for me.
Community is embarking on a 5 hour pilgrimage up Doi Suthep Mountain for Visakha (Buddha Day) with the beautiful group above. Community is getting a Facebook shout out even though Kathy and I quit after 2 and a 1/2 hours.
Community is Sunday Dinner and seeing old friends and meeting new ones.
Community is cherishing friendships and having great memories no matter how far away the friends are.
Community is beloved family, near and far.
Community is hours spent at Cafe De JJ talking politics, philosophy, science and a bunch of other random stuff, not to mention enjoying the love on a plate served up by the fabulous Beer (top, right above)!
Community is making friends everywhere we go and doing our best to stay in touch. Hey Keiko (our friend met in Mexico, from Japan and currently in Canada)!
Community is exploring nature with friends. Community is something that must be built, nurtured and cherished. I’m sure community is something that looks different to each of us. One thing I know for sure is that true community feels so wonderful and is something I need. I am grateful to have found it here in Chiang Mai!
A friend recently asked what made us choose Chiang Mai as our current home. Her question has inspired this post.
Kathy and I are thriving here. Not a day goes by without one of us exclaiming “I love Chiang Mai! There is a special vibe about this city that is hard to put into words. Simply put, Chiang Mai feels like home! Having said that, I will now list the top 5 tangible reasons that make this city a great choice for BOLT.
100 Thai baht is currently equal to approximately 3 U.S. dollars. We are able to live very well here on less than $1000 a month. Chiang Mai is a great place to save for the traveling that we love.
Creature Comforts and Amenities!
Chiang Mai has all the conveniences of modern life. There is great high speed Internet. The are wonderful malls, grocery stores and pharmacies. If we need health care there are state of the art medical centers. Public transportation by Grab Car or songtaews is easily obtained. I have found that we can get anything we need (or want) here.
Thai food is delicious, varied and very affordable here. In addition, when we want something different there are restaurants that serve any type of food we could desire.
Chiang Mai is a place of great beauty, both in a physical and spiritual sense. The over 300 Buddhist temples here are breathtaking. There are also great opportunities to enjoy natural beauty, in the mountains and hiking trails close by.
There are so many ways to enjoy community and “find your tribe” in Chiang Mai. Weekly Sunday Dinner with the Black Packers, the Chiang Mai Ex Pats Club and the Chiang Mai Rotary have all been positive experiences for us. Also there is a wonderful 12 step recovery community here. There are many Meet Up groups, classes and other social events as well.
So, we love Chiang Mai, Thailand this ancient city on the Ping River with a moat. Please consider a visit, we think you’ll love it too!
Songkran (the Thai New Year Celebration) is celebrated over three days. This is an ancient Buddhist holiday marked by the bathing of Buddha statues, pouring out of water blessings on loved ones and strangers and other ancient religious rites. Songkran is celebrated all over Thailand and in many other countries in Southeast Asia.
This year we were honored to be invited by our friend, Wanvisa, to celebrate the first day of Songkran (yesterday) with her. We started the day with a visit to ancient Wat Chang Khum. It was lovely to start the day with quiet prayers, meditation and Buddha bathing. I took this photo of Wanvisa standing in front of this Spirit Tree. These other photos were the last I was able to take because…
Chiang Mai is home to the “world’s largest water fight” for Songkran and I put my camera away!
Video of Songkran Water Fun
Our friend, Monique, was able to take the above video of the craziness that ensued for the rest of our day.
We loaded into the truck with a large vat of icy water, lots of buckets and water guns. It was so much fun to experience with Sally, Wanvisa’s daughter. It is truly a wonderful holiday for children. We returned home exhausted, throughly soaked but delighted.
For the next 2 days there will be water and dousing everywhere. If I’m brave enough to venture out, I may put up more pictures. I hope you enjoy these. Sawadee Pee Mai Ka! (Happy New Year! )