We made it to Thailand! After a whirlwind trip through Asia, we were ready to slow the pace a bit and catch up on our businesses. Chaing Mai, Thailand is known as the second largest digital nomad / entrepreneurial mecca in the world, so it sounded just right for us.
Surprisingly metropolitan with a lot of urban sprawl, it provided a great opportunity for us to nestle down a bit and get back up to speed with the “normalcy” of life (gym, grocery shopping, work / life balance) while still getting to experience Asia.
We checked into our new condo apartment for the next month – the glamourous Astra Condo Apartments – at a whopping $30 / night.
This apartment was classy, cozy, and exactly what we needed after moving around night after night for the last few months.
After arrival, Teal went straight to the supermarkets in search for her beloved JackFruit – her favorite fruit that she hasn’t tasted since her last time in Asia over 7 years ago. It was love at 2nd sight… and 3rd, 4th, 5th… etc.
This condo had everything. From rooftop luxurious pool, to heated sauna and steam room, to this epic gym on the top floor with views overlooking the city. We spent the next 30 days getting back in shape and soaking up everything this condo had to offer 🙂
After a full days work, the night air cooled the city down and we would venture out to the famous “Night Markets” of Chiang Mai. Food stalls, clothing, and knick knacks of every kind lined the streets for miles and miles. Local blues bands would play while vendors haggle passers by yelling out prices in hopes for a wandering tourist to haggle them down.
Exotic foods were never out of sight… Crocodile or ostrich meat anyone?
Fresh pork ribs on the grill – $2-3 dollars 😛
And of course, the classic Thai Curry and Thai Iced Tea – YUMM.
After dinner, if you’re feeling a calling for pampering you have your choice between ladies along the side of the road calling to you for a foot massage, body massage, facial, reflexology, or our new favorite – FISH SPA.
For only $3 you can have little fish nibble off all the dirt and debris from your feet for 20 minutes. Not sure if I’d call it pampering, but it was definitely quite an experience. It is the most ticklish, weird feeling we’d both ever experienced. Imagine having your feet nibbled on for 20 minutes straight by little fish mouths and you might get a sense for the experience!
A little while in, Spencer’s old work friend Curly and his new wife surprised us with a visit! So fun to reconnect with old California buddies while across the world.
They invited us to go see a Muay Thai boxing event – which was an experience all in it’s own. We got front row tickets to all the blood, sweat and tears – and as Michaela and Teal were wincing over the jabs and kicks to the head from the fighters, Curly and Spencer were enthusiastically betting with the locals over who would win the next match.
The craziest part about watching Muay Thai live was the realization that it’s not only men who compete, but also young boys and women as well – which was tough to watch. These fighters are the real deal.
As a present to herself, a week before Teal’s birthday, she wanted to complete another 5 – day silent buddhist meditation retreat at the top of one of the highest mountain temples: Doi Sutep.
Doi Sutep is a highly worshiped and respected temple that is one of the most holy Buddhist sites in Thailand. It is a major pilgrimage destination for Buddhists (both locals and foreigners). It’s also the home to many monks who actively practice silent meditation and serve as teachers to those who wish to learn deeper about Buddhist teachings & inner connection to self.
To learn more about Teal’s experience staying for 5 days in silence with the Monks at this retreat center, feel free to check out our other post here: Reflections from the Silent Meditation Retreat.
After the meditation retreat, it was time for birthday festivities!! As a special treat, Spencer took Teal to the Baan Thai Oasis Spa for a 2 day luxurious spa getaway – something Thailand does best.
Teal was treated to a 4 hour pamper session – full body massage, body scrub, body wrap, sauna and facial followed by a beautiful dinner and surprise birthday cake delivered to the room. Treatment only fit for a Queen ❤
Turning 29 was feeling like full LIFE upgrade, which caused Teal to shed her previous backpacker identity (full of painful back pains, sore arms and rough & tumble image) in replace for suitcase and heels. This little lady is growin’ up – and there’s no looking back! Happily the beautiful hosts at Oasis Spa were happy to accept my backpack & old clothing as a donation to give to local villagers in the mountains in need of more winter gear & supplies. Win win!
No trip to Thailand would be complete without a trip to visit and send love to the ELEPHANTS! ❤
It’s important to make sure that upon picking elephant sanctuaries, you only pick ones where you don’t ride the elephants, as some still badly mistreat the elephants for their own tourism purposes. The Kanta Elephant Sanctuary is an ethical and sustainable eco-tourism project founded in 2015 where they provide guests the opportunity to feed and bathe the elephants in a loving, peaceful way – for both the guests and the elephants! It was a highlight of our time in Chaing Mai.
When we weren’t bathing elephants, eating weird food at night markets, or working on our businesses, our favorite past time was renting mo-ped scooters and getting up into the jungles for day / overnight joy rides through the waterfalls and beautiful surrounding nature.
After one especially treacherous overnight scooter trip (which almost had us sleeping in the dirt for the night due to poor planning) we were able to score sunrise and breathtaking views of another one of Thailand’s incredible and famous temples above the clouds.
On our final night before ending our time in Thailand, we humoured ourselves in a classic Thai cooking class to really get a good sense of Thai cuisine straight from the heart of the markets.
After collecting all our materials from the local vendor stalls, we headed to the kitchen to cook up a 5 course meal of papaya salad, spring rolls, curries, pad thai and coconut mango sticky rice dessert. DELISH!
We’ll definitely be making this at home 🙂
After a solid 4 weeks in Chaing Mai, we felt like we had experienced northern Thailand to it’s fullest and were ready to move on. But this time we knew we were ready for something drastically different. We craved getting back to the beaches – and continue this little home life that we’d built – but on a bigger scale. Our hearts were craving nowhere else but the beautiful island of Bali…. So, chucking all our other Asia plans out the window, we booked tickets to Indonesia and headed south with no plans of when or where to go next.
On to Bali, Indonesia!