Thailand Roundup

Standing in front of the Namuang waterfall on Koh Samui

Standing in front of the Namuang waterfall on Koh Samui

I spent 74 days in Thailand, which beats my previous record from Bolivia! My budget was all over the place, as food, accommodation, and transport were extremely cheap up north and only  moderately cheap down south, but then I added on loads of scuba diving, some Thai language lessons, a cooking class, and renewing nearly my entire wardrobe. Ultimately I panned out at an average of $35 per day including everything, which still isn’t too bad!

I visited 8 places: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pai, Sukothai, Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Khao Sok, and Ao Nang. I absolutely fell in love with Chiang Mai and would consider going back to live there semi-permanently in the future. It’s a bit of a cliched expat center, but for good reason!

I also enjoyed checking out some cool street art and seeing the beautiful coral reefs of Koh Phi Phi. All in all, it was a wonderful 10 weeks!

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Meditating at Wat Umong and Dipabhavan

A sign in the forest at Wat Umong

A sign in the forest at Wat Umong

I’ve been learning about meditation and Buddhist philosophies for the past few years, but I’ve been struggling to really commit to a meditation practice. I decided to attend a couple of vipassana retreats to learn more and really eliminate all excuses I was making not to do it. While I can’t say that my life is completely changed from the experiences, I did learn a lot about my limits and I have renewed motivation to make meditation a part of my daily life.

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Food in Chiang Mai

The local Chiang Mai noodle dish - Khao Soi - at a tiny restaurant called Khun Yai at the northern gate

The local Chiang Mai noodle dish – Khao Soi – at a tiny restaurant called Khun Yai at the northern gate

One of the best parts of spending a month in Chiang Mai was exploring all of the different food they had in the city. In addition to the typical pad thai and fried rice dishes, you could find an assortment of awesome curries for about $1.50 a plate. The local speciality is Khao Soi, which is a coconut-based noodle dish. I ate it at least 20 times at different places. Then of course there are the Saturday and Sunday night street markets, where you can try lots of different dishes for fifty cents each and get stuffed in the process.

I also took a cooking class with Zabb-e-Lee, which was an incredible experience. I made a ton of delicious food, including the best fried spring rolls I’ve ever eaten. The recipes were much more accessible than the fancy food I made at my cooking class in Laos and I actually think I could repeat some of it. I just need to buy a wok!

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Chiang Mai Street Art Part 3

Chiang Mai Street Art OwlThe third and final batch of street art photos from my month in Chiang Mai! There’s some more POAS tags and murals as well as other identified works. I found a lot of really great, colorful pieces, such as the owl on the left, on the road stretching from the northwest corner of the old city toward Doi Suthep as well as a couple of smaller pieces scattered throughout some side streets near my guesthouse.

If you like these, take a look at the first and second batches.

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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and the Gardens of Buphing Palace

A baby monk statue at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

A baby monk statue at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

A “must do” half day trip from Chiang Mai’s old city is to go up Mount (Doi) Suthep and see the temple and palace, and perhaps some of the national park, that lies up the mountain. I kept putting off this trip waiting for the “perfect moment” and then ended up going on nearly my last day in town! I did end up having a lovely day, especially touring the very impressive gardens at the palace.

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Chiang Mai Street Art Part 2

A colorful mural with a positive message in Chiang Mai, Thailand

A colorful mural with a positive message in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Here’s the second batch of street art photos from Chiang Mai! There’s a few more from SY as well as some from POAS, another artist whose work can be seen throughout the city.

I love some of the wackier pieces of work that I saw, such as the walking birds and the bomb doing archery. I also like the Kurt Cobain angel, which is actually a stencil that pops up all around the old city and its surroundings.

You can see the first post of my Chiang Mai street art photos here. Yet another batch of photos will be coming soon!

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Chiang Mai Street Art Part 1

A cyclops painted on a wall in Chiang Mai

A cyclops painted on a wall in Chiang Mai

For the past few weeks I’ve been hanging out in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, taking a bit of a break from living out of a backpack and hopping on buses every few days. I’ve rented a room at Phra Singh Guesthouse for only 3,500 baht and it’s so nice to have a place to call home for a little while.

I’ve taken advantage of this time to explore some of the less touristy streets and hunt out some street art. The culture here isn’t huge on graffiti and murals, but the few artists that do work around here are pretty prolific. SY is one tag I have seen at least 30 times, and I think he is responsible for the 3D blocks that dot the walls around the city.

Here’s the first batch of photos, another batch coming soon!

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