Family: Chiang Mai

I’m not sure why, but my Family post for Chiang Mai seems to be the one I struggled with the most. We had an extended stay in Chiang Mai, 6-weeks total, which allowed us to settle in even more so, but I also think our longer stay also made Chiang Mai a little more unsettling. Chiang Mai isn’t home, and while I enjoyed our stay and loved the city, we were all really ready to move on. We learned it was important to keep our joinery moving forward, else staying in the same place too long made us all homesick for Indiana. We also had friends visit us in Chiang Mai, which was also really incredible.

Chiang Mai is a good size city with lots going on. There always seemed to be something going on in the city or a new pop-up market to explore. We did so many amazing, fun things in Chiang Mai. I plan on writing a Chiang Mai with Kids blog to capture all our favorites. From my observations, Chiang Mai has all the benefits of city life, but also the pace of a small town. While the streets were always busy, I never felt rushed or pushed by people around me. Everyone seems to be going somewhere with purpose, but not with the hustle and bustle of a big city. I’ve thought about it a lot, and I think I would attribute the general calmness of the city to the Buddhist influences.

I also found it very interesting how many non-Thai people live in Chiang Mai. Anytime we went out to the park or to a restaurant for dinner, the majority of the people were non-Thai. I met so many parents at the park and none of them where Thai — lots of people had relocated to Chiang Mai for work & lifestyle, and there were tons of people visiting as well. I think this also wildly impacted the general pace and feel of the city. People were happier and calmer because Chiang Mai is where they choose to be.

Here’s are my research findings:

  • As for working hours in Chiang Mai, I attribute my findings to traffic. Traffic in Chiang Mai was CRAZY. There always seemed to be way more vehicle than people. Traffic was really bad in the morning between 8 and 9 and then really bad again between 6 to 8 — and I mean stand-still traffic. I often ran in the evenings around Old Town, and the traffic always surprised me. I also really struggled running due to all the vehicle exhaust pollution.
  • Chiang Mai really had one main park with a playground, and we visited it often. It was always busy. Lots of people with blankets & picnics just enjoying the amazing weather.
  • Coffee shops were everywhere. I would say Chiang Mai could give Amsterdam a run for its money in the coffee shop category. Most of the coffee shops were also co-working spaces. As I stated early, lots of people have relocated Chiang Mai to live, and coffee shops seem to be a primary location people go to work. It wasn’t unusual to see people with a computer, papers, and work materials spread across an entire table or even people with keyboards or monitors.
  • A sense of “community” is a tough one for me. People were friendly, the pace of life was easy, but I can’t say I really felt part of a community or sensed a community in Chiang Mai — maybe because so many of the people we met were also “just visiting.”

Here’s my final thought on Chiang Mai;

  • VISIT Chaig Mai. It is an incredible city, and I would strongly encourage anyone with kids to bring them along. Nolan had so much fun — keep an eye out for my Chiang Mai with Kids blog.
  • I will always remember the calm pace of life in Chiang Mai and hope to keep a piece of it with me. I think there’s a life lesson in Chiang Mai … something along the lines of …. “live a full and productive life, but don’t rush through it.”

And now as always, some of my favorite pictures:

^Best New Years Ever!

^The magic of Mary Poppins for the first time!

^Nolan went Zip-Lining by himself — I got this mom, you wait here.

^Never too old for some good snuggles.

^ Nolan: Is this the road you run down? | Me: No, I run Old Town. Maybe one day soon we will be able to run together.  | Nolan: Yeah, but you’ll be old.

^So handsome in those Elephant Pants.

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