Friday, January 22, 2010


(11/20/09 - 1/20/10). We spent 2mos. in Thailand, limited to the middle-sized City of Chiang Mai, considered the capital of northern Thailand. Also well-known as the cultural capital of the country. The climate was superb, at least during our stay with daytime temperatures in the mid-70’s and nights going to a low approx. 60F, allowing us to sleep with the cool night air flowing through our open (screened) balcony door. We understand that it does get a lot warmer beginning around April (perhaps to a high of 90F), but still far below the sweaty southern City of Bangkok or the touristy beach area of Phuket. But, beyond the favorable climate, we were most impressed with the incredibly warm, gracious and friendly nature of the Thai people. Of course, we also love the food, which has the benefit of being very healthy too, consisting of lots of stir fried and sautéed vegetables, fish, shrimp, and just small amounts of meet mostly chicken and pork, and very little beef – and lots of rice. Another big “Plus” is that the cost of living seemed very cheap, matching or even beating the low prices we found in Buenos Aires.

As for our residence, we were fortunate to have found a short term apartment rental in a very nice newer condominium building, complete with beautiful swimming pool, exercise room and an 3-walled open-air common room. We had a Studio on the top floor, which was actually fairly roomy, and had a balcony overlooking the pool. The rent was probably a bit more expensive than necessary for Chiang Mai, but sometimes that’s the trade-off for our ‘short-term- rental needs. Were we to actually decide to live here year-round (or semi-annually), we undoubtedly could do much better in terms of value.

One of the big attractions for Tourists in Thailand are the numerous ornately decorated Buddhist Temples called “Wats”. There seem to be one every square mile in the City, and every village has at least one (most often located up some hilltop with a view overlooking the locality). They are indeed impressive, but after awhile one’s “circuits can be blown” by over-Wat(tage). (LOL).

Naturally, when you leave the City limits and venture into the countryside as we did several times on a rented Motor Scooter, it is quite a tropical country even in the north, with jungle foliage covered hills and mountains, beautiful flowers among them an amazing variety of spectacularly colorful Orchids, and the usual wildlife including exotic birds, reptiles, elephants, primates. And the Village people are always warm and welcoming wherever you go, even if they don’t speak English.

Thailand, and Chiang Mai in particular, will definitely be one of the “Finalists” contending for a place that we may ultimately choose to live on a permanent or semi-permanent basis.

NEXT UP: We venture to Vietnam for a planned stay of 2-3mos., beginning in Hanoi.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's Eve in Thailand (Chiang Mai)

This was the first New Year's Eve in awhile that we stayed out past Midnight, and it was worth it. What a blow out! Kind of like what I would imagine is a Thai version of Times Square here in Chiang Mai's central plaza. Zillions of people, all have a great time, food vendors, drinks, fireworks galore, and hundreds of Thai floating Candle Lanterns being launched into the sky non-stop throughout the evening. Best of all, it was warm enough to be in short sleaves (unlike Times Square - lol).

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