Why Chiang Mai? BOLT Top 5 Reasons…

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.

Affordability!

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.

The Food!

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.

The Beauty!

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.

Community!

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!

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Songkran! Worship in Water

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! )

Finding Our “Perfect Home” in Chiang Mai

Kathy and I are so happy to be back in Chiang Mai and I’ll be writing much more about why in the coming weeks. We’ve been here a week, and girl!, it’s been a busy one. First on our agenda was finding a place to live. Last time we were here we just walked around and found one on our own. This time we used a wonderful service, Perfect Homes. A lovely young woman, Kwang, took us around town to several places. She truly helped us to find exactly what we wanted!

We are right in the heart of the city, close to malls, movies, restaurants and museums. That’s our building peeking out between the trees.

This is the view from our rooftop.

There are two pools, at least one pool was a big must have for me.

It’s a large building with lots of common areas for visiting.

Our actual apartment is a studio, big enough for the two of us. We have really embraced a minimalist life style.

I love having a kitchen, something we didn’t have in our last Chiang Mai apartment.

There’s even a gym! (A little pricy though.)

I love an apartment that comes with a built-in altar!

We even have a balcony, which looks out upon this community.

There are several restaurants, massage spots and even a mini mart in our building. Very convenient!

A desire for Kathy was a bathtub, very rare in Chiang Mai apartments. We have a lovely one!

This is our hall, there’s lots of security to enter.

I love walking past these grazing cows on my way home. They are right next door!

We are truly grateful for our new home! We would love to have you come visit! If you have questions about travel to or life in Chiang Mai, we’d love to share our experience. Contact us here or at boltraveling@gmail.com.

♡Hasta Luego Mexico♡

Tomorrow morning Kathy and I will be leaving Mexico. We will also be leaving Winnie, our well loved RV, and Kahlo, our beloved dog. We have really enjoyed our year and a half of RV life. We visited 22 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. We found and fell in love with Kahlo, met lots of wonderful people and have so seen much beauty.

However Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand, has been calling our names and we’ve decided to return for a year. Winnie will remain here in the safe keeping of the Mona Lisa RV Park.

Kahlo will also remain here for the year. We believe she will be happier here than in an apartment in Thailand. She has a best friend, Lucky, and Lucky’s owner, Javier, will take good care of her while we are gone.

We will miss her very much and probably miss RV life too. However this is the life we have chosen to live…a life of “home-free” travel, and sometimes sad good byes.

Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa! We adore you!

The Mona Lisa RV Park and Motel is far from the fanciest or most modern place in Ensenada but we find it absolutely perfect for BOLT! 

We are right next to the Pacific Ocean, separated by a rocky breakwater. There is a stone stairway that leads down to a clean, shell strewn beach. When the tide is out you can walk along the ocean for miles.

Of course, the ocean is beautiful, but the uniqueness of the Mona Lisa is all the art work here. There are murals and sculptures all over, many of them depicting Mexican history and Toltec and Aztec sacred figures.
All the necessities of life (groceries, laundry, drinking water) are within walking distance. Plus there is a sweet little mini bus that comes practically to our door and takes you right into Ensenada Centro.

Things are a little run down but the staff is wonderful and very helpful. We have a great spot for our Winnie. It looks out onto the crashing waves and has a little table, outdoor kitchen and a palapa  (thatched shade). There is really good wifi and our spot has electric, sewer and non-potable water hook ups. A spot like this in California would be at least  $65 a day.  Here at the Mona Lisa it is  $20 a day and a month is a huge discount down  to $330 a month. 

We are really enjoying the mild weather, relaxing lifestyle and affordable prices. We will probably be here for a couple of months. Ensenada is a less than 6 hour car trip for our So Cal friends and there’s an airport for everyone else. We sure would love to see you! 

Along the Shores of Gichigami

Gichigami is the Anishinaabe name for the largest freshwater lake in the world. It has been given the name Lake Superior by the United States and Canada. The Anishinaabe are the First Nations Peoples who are from the areas surrounding this great lake. They are also known as Ojibwe, Ojibwa or Chippewa. I vaguely remember hearing Longfellow’s 1855 poem about this lake and more clearly remember a racist I Love Lucy sketch. It saddens me that I didn’t know, until 62 years of age, that this is a real place and with real people.

We have had a lovely 2 weeks driving and staying along this amazing lake. Our Gichigami drive started in Minnesota, continued in Ontario, Canada and concluded in Michigan. We’ve only driven about 2/3s of the lake!

We stayed at wonderful campgrounds with winding trails that led to the lake.

Along the way we got to learn a little Anishinaabe history. They were integral to the vibrant fur trading industry of the 1800s.

In Pukaskwa National Park, Ontario, Canada there is a beautiful trail called Bimose Kinoomagewnan (Walk of Teachings) trail. Along it you can read and learn of the Seven Grandfather Teachings from Anishinaabe elders and enjoy art work, representing the teachings, from the younger generation. The teachings are love, honesty, respect, wisdom, truth,humility and bravery.

In Sault Saint Marie, Michigan we saw the locks which enable ships to travel from Gichigami to the lower great lakes.

We are now on Anishinaabe land, staying at the Kewadin RV Park and Casino. It’s a beautiful and restful place. We are looking forward to attending a pow wow on Saturday. I’m really humbled by how little I know about this area and First Nations Peoples. I’m really grateful for any opportunity to learn even a little bit more!

The ABCs (and more) of RVs

There are many different types of recreational vehicles and probably almost as many articles written about them. It took me awhile to learn the difference between a class C motor home (like the Minnie Winnie we have) and a behemoth class A (like the one in the hilarious movie RV) and then there are all the trailers.

There are 3 basic types of motor homes and they come in all sizes. Class As are the ones that resemble buses. They are built on a chassis and have large front and rear windows. They often have slide outs and can be quite large and luxurious.

Class Bs are also called campervans. They are easy to park and drive and are great for weekend trips. Not so good for full-time RVers like us.

Our Minnie Winnie is an older class C. The way I can identify class Cs are by their cab over design. They come in many sizes, with and without slide outs.

Then there are all types of pull behind trailers like cute little teardrops.

In Minnesota we have seen several of these ice fishing trailers. They drive them right onto the ice in the winter!

There are pull behinds that pop up into tents and pull behinds that are long and luxurious inside. I really love the retro ones!

Fifth wheel trailers are another option. Instead of being towed the coupling is actually in the bed of the truck.

I had fun taking most of these pictures here at at Lake Bemidji State Park. Kathy and I are always exclaiming over fancy new ones and really cute older ones. You can get lots of information on line or by visiting an RV dealership. We are really happy to answer answer any questions you may have.