Getting Settled in Chiang Mai

Oct 29, 2017

It’s been crazy adjusting to the timezone and lifestyle here. Pretty much every morning we walk out onto the street and have an “Oh shit, we’re in Thailand” moment. Typically it’s when dodging scooters while crossing the street or getting honked at by a red truck. The red trucks (songthaews) are the cheapest taxis, but are also shared rides. They honk at pedestrians as they drive down the street hoping you’ll hop in. Equipped with two luxurious wooden bench seats, they’ll take you anywhere in the city for a dollar.

The late King’s cremation was on the 26th so the country shut down entirely from 2:30 to midnight. Thailand genuinely loved their king.  He was the world’s longest serving head-of-state and dedicated his life to increasing the Thai quality of life. Here is a good article about him.  The 26th was the first time 7-11’s have ever closed their doors since opening. They’ve run 24/7 with no exceptions. Since people eat out almost every meal, everyone panicked and bought a week’s worth of groceries to survive the 10 hours.

On the 27th we woke up early to start apartment hunting only to realize that almost nothing opens until 10am, including most breakfast places. Apartment hunting in Thailand consists of walking into random apartment buildings and asking for available rooms. It feels more like checking into a hotel than finding an apartment. They don’t allow reservations or holds, so you must have cash in hand. We visited 4 buildings before finding our apartment, which roped us in with an amazing  pool. $540/mo (which is higher than normal because it’s busy season and a short term lease) got us a 1 bedroom apartment in a great area, 24/7 security, a view of the mountains, a rooftop pool, and gym.

Yesterday was our first Saturday in Chiang Mai. The city really comes to life on the weekend and it’s incredible. The streets are lined with food carts selling everything from bacon cheeseburgers to grilled jellyfish, and everyone is out walking around. We met a couple from London who showed us around the local bars. After a few Chang (Thailand’s main beer) we decided to order a bottle of SangSom, a rum distilled from sugar cane. $6 gets you a bottle of SangSom, a bucket of ice, choice of mixers, and a hangover from hell. Staying hydrated is hard due to the humidity and heat, and alcohol certainly doesn’t help. Thankfully 7-11 stocks plenty of rehydration salts.

Pictures are below.