Lost in Paradise 🌴11 June 2018
travel food thailand asia
It’s been a while (6+ months), but I’ve been chilling out in the jungles and beaches of South East Asia as you can probably guess by my instagram.
My first visit to Chiang Mai was as a regular tourist in June 2016. Low season I know, but it wasn’t too bad. The rain didn’t really get in the way and was quite refreshing to be honest.
Visiting all the common tourist hotspots like the Night Bazaar, Elephant Sanctuary, Wat Chedi Luang and Doi Suthep.
Was also the time when all those tourist attractions was free, and you could get away with paying 15 baht for a songtaew ride (though as a tourist visiting for the first time, being the naive tourist and getting ripped off is always expected when you come).
Fast forward a little under a year later, after returning from a North American / Europe trip I decided to land into Thailand instead of going back to Hong Hong.
From the first week I landed, decided to do some apartment hunting and chose an amazing apartment building which a friend recommended me. Was within my budget for a place so it was a big yes because it was twice the size of my living space in causeway bay, plus less than 2000 Hong Kong Dollars.
I then experienced my first Songkran (Buddhist New Year) in Chiang Mai (2017) and enjoyed it so much that I did it a second time in 2018. I think the attraction is having a free pass to splash most people with water buckets or squirt someone with a super soaker for 3 days was fun. But also very cooling too.
Anyway fast forward to today, I’ve explored a lot of Northern Thailand (waterfalls, hotsprings, temples, and just general nature) and some of the Islands too.
Mae Hong Son Loop
Pai used to be a sleepy town, but now its a backpacker place (and also town full of Chinese tourists whom Thailand and every other country is trying to attact).
The attraction for Pai is basically nature, unlicensed scooter rides (most backpackers learn and sometimes crash in Pai), and drugs. A bad mix but whatever.
Mae Hong Son
Mae Hong Son on the other hand is a very local version of Pai. Only locals (and the occasional foreigner doing the loop) can be seen here.
It’s all about the Nature or taking trips up to Ban Raak Thai.
The Golden Triangle is the area to the far north - boarding Laos and Myanmar.
From there it used to be a passageway for drugs (and probably still is). Myanmar bordertown nowadays is a popular for people doing “border bounces” to reset their visa or shopping at the market.
Think Chiang Mai and the North is laid back? Wait till you visit the Islands.
It’s probably the most chill place in Thailand. Beaches, Scuba diving, snorkeling and parties.
Sure it’s a bit more expensive but Islands are always like that because of how remote they are..
Cost of living on the Islands would be similar to the cost of living in Southern Spain (or some parts of Portugal away from the big cities).
Koh Tao is the little sister island of Koh Phangan (it’s actually part of the same Amphoe or District technically).
The island is famous for its crystal clear waters, nature, viewpoints, and because of the clear waters it offers the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the world.
There’s many scuba dive resorts on this island offering the open water (or more advanced) courses because of the almost perfect conditions.
Koh Phangan is one of my favorite islands. Basically has all the infrastructure for living there, beautiful beaches, and scuba diving.
Not to mention the parties that happen every 1-2 weeks (half moon / back moon / jungle party / waterfall party / full moon party).
Full Moon party
This is what the big attraction with Koh Phangan is. In fact probably where most of the money is made as the going price for a hostel dorm is similar price to Northern European countries.
But it’s still not too expensive for a backpacker. Guaranteed to have a good time. Just remember to pace yourself (It’s not a race!) and see the amazing sunrise at the end.
See for a taste of what’s in the full moon party.
Chiang Mai Life
In the last year, I’ve even learnt a bit of the Thai language and reached conversational level. Which is a handy skill to know, when listening to what other people are talking about, chatting to locals (they are impressed when a foreigner starts speaking their language), scooter rental companies don’t try to scam you as long as you look after their stuff, reading menus and just socializing in another language too (ability to attend events).
Also will be wanting to do a Thai cooking class soon and learn to make this delicious dish as found in this picture.
Regarding other professional stuff - I’ve taken a back seat with both this site (as you can see) as well as working on new projects while just letting my amazing team do most of the work because in Thailand money isn’t such a big deal.
Right now I’m moving over projects that I’m still maintaining over to gitlab because of the Microsoft acquisition. I know I trust Microsoft, but they do have a history of screwing up what they touch (look at Skype for instance).
But in the immediate future, I’ll be working on some cryptocurrency-only eCommerce projects. OK, will take other payments too but the focus is cryptocurrency.
As for travel is concerned, will probably spend some months scuba diving in both Southern Thailand, Taiwan, and probably try out some diving in Europe too.